Six levels of waste

In a WhatsApp conversation, Charles Protzman, co-author of, “The Lean Practitioner’s Field Book” shared how he categorizes wastes. His words:

We have categorized waste into six different levels:

  1. The first level is obvious waste: low-hanging fruit (or walking on it).
  2. 5S wastes: the easiest wastes to see.
  3. The seven (eight) lean wastes.
  4. Boiled frog waste: the waste that is hard to notice because it is old and we pass by it every day.
  5. Tribal waste or sacred cows: untouchable waste in our culture and systems.
  6. Hidden unseen waste: waste we don’t typically see, as it is hidden behind or masked by other wastes; you really have to hunt for it! The hardest waste to find and yet the most dangerous.

To #3, I would add and emphasize the knowledge work wastes of scatter (lack of focus), hand-off, wishful thinking, reinvention, and lack of system discipline to make the list more relevant to software development.

This is a really good list. What do you think?

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