Lean thinking is about eliminating waste. Every web application must have a single main purpose. Everything else should be optimized to make that goal easy to reach. If you look at most of the existing web applications today, there are just so many things that wastes user’s time and energy:
- Too much marketing material,
- Endless registration, email verification and login steps, (how many times did you leave a site while trying to create an account and the form kept asking for that damn required question?)
- Waiting for full pages to be loaded for even doing a tiny tasks,
- Ads and offers everywhere, (have you bought a domain on godaddy?)
- Too many features,
- Confusing terms and language,
- Too cluttered User Interfaces.
We make too many of these mistakes on our applications. I know it because I have done more than my share of it. So, how do we get over these things and accomplish lean and mean web applications? By continuously eliminating waste. The word “continuous” is very important here since no-one can accomplish a lean web application in the first try. You have to continuously think about and eliminate waste. Every feature should be refactored with the end goal in mind and possibly be eliminated when unnecessary.
“Lean Thinking” book describes waste as:
Waste is any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value.
Anything on a web application that does not serve user’s goals should be eliminated.
37Signal’s book “Getting Real” has a great chapter on this. Go read it now.