Lean Day West last week in Portland was great for me on many levels. In the next couple of blog entries, I’ll highlight a few of my observations and provide feedback on the workshops I attended.

Overall, the event was a big success for everyone involved. There was a real feeling of community and many stories were shared over the two-day event. I felt a re-affirmation that our approach to delivering value for our clients through Lean UX and Visualization is spot-on with the ever-growing methods and tools in use today. Throughout the workshops and guest lectures, I heard best practices, lessons learned, and sage advise that truly echoed what we at OneSpring have been advocating for years. In that regard, I realized there are a lot more “OneSpringers” out there than I could have imagined. I was pleasantly surprised to see companies large and small across multiple industries deeply engaged in the lean movement. From Lean UX to Lean Engineering, companies are embracing this movement at a rapid pace.

I listened to GE describe how they are using Lean UX methods to create Design Systems that provide consistency and quality in the user-experience that scale across the brand’s wide range of enterprise applications.

The Director of UI Engineering at PayPal, described a 6-year journey of how the company evolved from “over-engineering” applications in deep Java stacks to now using tools and modern platforms such as node.js, {dust}, HTML 5, and other JQuery libraries to rapidly produce product concepts in days vs. months with the old architecture and approach.

A key take-away was that lean is more about rapidly learning than rapidly building for the sake of “getting it done”. Sure, the tools allow for applications to quickly be built, tested, and launched, but the real value is in learning what works and what doesn’t. Again and again, we heard the mantra of not being too attached to the code, since it’s easier to build and re-build.

From our perspective, seeing visualization sponsors such as Protoshare and Balsamiq represented, further solidified my belief that visualization will continue to play a key role in helping companies in their design process.  While the new code tools and libraries are great, visualization is still faster and more economical to quickly design, test, and learn. At the end of the day, the true definition of value is more than just working code, it’s about “getting it right”.