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Activities which do not directly contribute to the development lifecycle are either bypassed or eliminated entirely. This includes such things as unnecessary paperwork, inactivity caused by waiting for results, and even areas of management that don't produce actual value.
Each item in the software development cycle is accomplished and integrated as you go along rather than leaving certain elements to the last minute or putting heavy emphasis on some areas and not on others.
There are other lean methods as well. The use of clickable user interface mockups enables the collection of user feedback quickly and makes documenting requirements easier and less likely to be changed in the future.
Starting lean also emphasizes a certain pragmatism. Whether writing code or testing software, the purpose is to reach as high a level of fitness as possible. The product must be fit for use even if certain requirements, that are not often used, are set aside for later builds, in order to produce a working application in a reasonable amount of time. Components are intended to work well together creating a balanced application.
The different people contributing to the development cycle, whether managers, coders or testers, are dedicated to doing that which makes sense. This includes not just listening to what users want but testing what users want as much as possible, even if it means offering empty doors that don't really lead anywhere to test the click through rate. Just make sure that this isn't done in a way that would upset users.
Where software was once developed from the top down, it is now developed from the bottom up. A lean development cycle begins and ends with the user. Whether it is interviewing the users in detail to discover actual requirements or field testing even after the application goes live, starting and staying lean means less cost and faster development and greater customer satisfaction.
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