Seven Deadly Wastes: Don’t Over Think It

Going Faster: Issue 15

The Seven Wastes are an idea from lean manufacturing, and I’m exploring how they relate to software development. Last time was waiting, and this week is over processing.

Over processing can be summarised as working too hard. If you’ve ever built in a caching layer “just in case”, if you’ve ever implemented an entirely image processing library just to churn out a few thumbnails, if you’ve ever spent days drawing diagrams and agonising over the problem, then maybe you’re over processing.

It’s the kind of thing engineers love to do. It’s gold plating, it’s making it nice. But nice isn’t always what the customer wants, and it isn’t always what solves the problem.

I’m a big fan of building software in lots of small steps. Build the smallest thing, ship it, and improve it. This approach is great because it keeps you grounded to the users’ needs, and it also helps you avoid wasting time on over processing. It maintains focus.

So, stop thinking about it, stop polishing it, just ship it.


Going Faster: Weekly ideas on speeding up your software team by Jez Halford, a software development consultant helping teams to deliver better software more quickly.

There’s more from Jez on Twitter, Medium and jezhalford.com