During the “Lean Thinking as a Catalyst for Social Change” session, in which Lean principles were discussed as they applied to more than just software oriented products, one of the speakers named Jon Kolko started his speech with something along the lines of “You’re here today to hear about Lean thinking and how you can speed up timelines and I’m here to tell you that it’s the wrong way to do things!” I’m very loosely paraphrasing that.

Jon Kolko is the founder and director at Austin Center for Design, and holds quite a few other titles. Google him. What I took away from his talk was a sense that he encompasses some of the same values that I do, one being craftsmanship. While I agree with the ideas behind Lean and Agile workflows, I also consider web development to be a craft. There is hard work to be done in web development, and that work is not best shown when the deadlines are short and the budgets are tight.

Craft is important, and rushing to a finished product based on an arbitrary deadline isn’t profitable in the long run.

While I understand deadlines are pretty much always out of the control of us developers, the knowledge that a quality product doesn’t always come to fruition through fast turnover, is something that the people closest to the client need to support. That puts a lot of responsibility on the entire team to support each other, account managers and developers alike, to make sure that message is understood and we go forth with a unified understanding that the technical portion of development is not just pushing pixels around or typing in numbers on a screen.