Muda – or the 7 Deadly Wastes

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In the manufacturing world it is referred to the 7 wastes, or the Japanese term Muda.  How does this apply to software development.


  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over-Processing
  • Over-Production
  • Defects

These all apply to software development in similar ways as they apply to a manufacturing facility.

For instance:

  • Transportation refers to moving things, which in software development may refer to electronically moving things through the process.
  • Inventory – The backlog of bugs, feature requests or other work.
  • Motion – Moving people, for instance in person meetings or walking to a different office for things that could be done over the phone, over Skype, IM, or other modern technology.
  • Waiting – Developers distracted by waiting for information, waiting for a build, waiting for test, etc.
  • Over Processing – depends a lot on the environment.
  • Over Production – doing more than what is asked for or needed.
  • Defects of Muda translates to Bugs in software.

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