Lean and What do we do next? - Part 2

January 26, 2007 — Posted by Jim Trott

Listen to the podcast Lean and "So, what do we do next?" - Part 2

These Lean-Agile principles all seem reasonable, but abstract. What do we do to put it into practice? This is part 2 of a discussion on this.

OK. Root causes, Agile, Value Stream. What else?

I held this interview just after a challenging Lean-Agile Overview class. Midway through, the students seemed restless or frustrated. One of those times where you know you are just not getting through to them, that something is blocking the students’ ability to hear what you have to say. That happens sometimes and when it is a crowd of managers in the room, you know that no amount of pushing through the material is going to help. Taking a cue from the lean thinking principle to “stop the line” when something is going wrong, Alan Shalloway decided that the best thing was to stop the class and see what was going on.

The feeling of relief was tangible. They were only too happy to vent. “We understand these lean concepts: eliminate waste, decrease cycle time, doing just enough, voice of the customer. The concepts make sense. So, tell us, what are we supposed to do?”

What sort of practical advice does lean offer me to start improving our processes? That is the question that every manager has. The principles of lean thinking seem obvious, general, and abstract. Putting them into practice is not so obvious. Help me make the connection.

There are a couple of ways to answer this question. The easy answer would be to hire me as a consultant and do whatever I tell you. But the better answer is to use this as an opportunity to learn lean thinking, to take on the eyes of lean. I wanted the students to learn to think honestly about the root causes that create limits to productivity. To learn to look for delays. And then to start using some simple tools that can help you remove bottlenecks in as smart a way as you can. And finally, to learn not to be afraid of starting where you can to make small improvements every day.

In jim.trott@netobjectives.com with the topics you want us to cover. This blog and podcast series is really about how we can provide value to you.

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About the author | Jim Trott

Jim Trott is a senior consultant for Net Objectives. He has used object-oriented and pattern-based analysis techniques throughout his 20 year career in knowledge management and knowledge engineering. He is the co-author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, and the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams.



        

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Al Shalloway
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Guy Beaver
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