Nikolay Sturm's Blog

Musings about Development and Operations

The Toyota Way: Principle 3

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Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.

Overproduction is one form of waste the Toyota Production System tries to overcome. It occurs when more items are produced than can be consumed by customers. In a system of successive processes, each process is the customer of the preceeding process.

In system administration these chains of processes might not necessarily be visible, as often one admin moves with the item from process to process, for instance planning setup of a new service, setting it up, testing it, deploying it to production. Overproduction, however still occurs whenever more work is started than being finished. To overcome it, we have to shift our focus on finishing work by pulling tasks like this:

  • if there is a tested service, deploy it
  • if there is a set up service, test it
  • if there is a planned service, set it up
  • plan a new service

This automatically minimizes our work in process, permitting maximized focus.