The concept is based on lean manufacturing, a term coined in the early 1990s to describe Toyota’s now-famous production system. Whereas lean manufacturing or lean six sigma activities typically focus on seeking out and removing “waste”, lean dynamics focuses on first understanding and progressively addressing the dynamic conditions that drove these wastes to accumulate in the first place.

The foundation for lean dynamics came from a research paper, and subsequently a book, titled Breaking the Cost Barrier (John Wiley & Sons) by Stephen A. Ruffa and Michael J. Perozziello, detailing their findings from an international study of aerospace manufacturing conducted for the Joint Strike Fighter Program. This study of seventeen major producers showed how business improvement techniques—from lean manufacturing to Six Sigma—can be deliberately structured to break the escalating costs of developing and producing tactical aircraft. These results were praised by government, industry, and academia, subsequently receiving the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research.

The concept of lean dynamics was formally introduced by the book, Going Lean (AMACOM). This book analyzed the results of corporations that managed to thrive during times of crisis—September 11th, hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession.  It demonstrated how tools like lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and others can together support an overarching structure and strategy for sustained excellence.


Lean Dynamics Research provides solutions and support, backed by our award-winning research, for companies, agencies, and institutions seeking to understand and overcome the challenges operating in a complex, uncertain, and constantly changing environment.

We work to help organizations understand the need for shifting from the targeted problem-solving that dominates today’s business improvement programs.  The first step is a Dynamic Value Assessment to determine how well your organization responds to its broad range of conditions.  We work with you to develop a structured, deliberate methodology to harness the forces of uncertainty, and to promote ongoing innovation by streamlining the introduction of new products and services.


Lean Dynamics Research was founded in 2008 with the goal of maturing the principles and practices of lean dynamics by publishing cutting-edge research, and providing access to world-class support for transforming complex organizations into responsive, innovative businesses.

Stephen A. Ruffa

Author, Researcher, and Founder of Lean Dynamics Research

Stephen A. Ruffa is an aerospace engineer, management consultant, and award-winning author with over 30 years’ experience solving dynamic challenges for complex systems across nearly all life cycle phases. He has authored multiple articles, and his books include Breaking the Cost Barrier, Going Lean, and The Going Lean Fieldbook.

Ruffa has applied his research findings to such challenges as military readiness, leading programs that succeeded in slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in costs while making critical supplies available despite sudden demand surges. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area where he runs his research and consulting practices.

Follow Stephen on Twitter @GoingLean.