In Lean "Value to the Customer" actually trumps ... "Eliminate Waste"
A lot of people starting with lean think that the topmost goal is to eliminate waste.
Maybe it is just because the Poppendiecks started their first book on Lean Software Development with the principle "eliminate waste", or maybe it is because "Eliminate Waste" makes such an impressive battle cry.
The so called lean decision filter (described nicely by David J Anderson in an article on providing value with lean) makes it rather clear, that in most cases waste elimination is just a ‘minor’ priority, easily trumped by Value to the customer.
The whole chain of trumps in that decision filter is listed as
Value to the customer
This list makes it way easier to decide what to work on next, as Yuval Yeret explained in an article at the leankit blog.
So, next time you ask yourself what to do next you might consider applying this filter instead of going by simple "always do x" rules.
till next time