Joe Dager (@business901) has posted a video interview with Dr. Michael Balle, the Gemba Coach at the Lean Enterprise Institute about Kaizen Teams without Kaizen Events, or Can Kaizen be part of Standard Work?
Balle makes some key points:
Standard work is about routine v non-routine, prescribed v non-prescribed
Standards are not the same as saying everything the same for everyone everywhere
Standards = a scientific process
- the few things we know “mountains of certainty” – standards are very useful here
- “the islands of we believe so” – standards are looser and we need to understand if the standard applies - need to do kaizen to understand why situation is different
- “the oceans” of “we just don’t know” – need to do kaizen to see if we can find a starting standard
Dager makes the point – how do we make this real for the busy middle-manager?
Balle’s view is that it is about a change of mindset, from “too many fires for Kaizen” to “the fires are in a state where I can live with them, I have to do the Kaizen first to reduce the number of fires”.
What is the first step of the 100 steps? What can you do in 1 minute every day?
Aligning the steps with the strategy, but break it down into small steps.
Typically takes five or ten Kaizen to understand a topic.
For me this was a very timely post – in my last post on making a Kanban Review and Retrospective part of Standard Work with the team I am coaching I describe our first steps to standardise the process of reflection – which should enable a bootstrapping to a more effective process.
It always helps to have a conceptual framework for what you do, and I sense the differentiation between “mountains of certainty”, “islands of we believe so” and “oceans of we just don’t know” will be most useful.
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I’m coaching a cross-functional team working across IT operations, application support and development, using Kanban to manage everything larger than the most immediate support requests.
They already appreciate the importance of reviewing their work and process, so we’ve been trying to make this into Standard Work.
Our first attempt is the 30 Minute Review and Retrospective
Review (max 10 minutes total)
Look at every story completed this week, for each (so ~1 min per story):
- What did we plan to do?
- What actually happened?
- What would we do next time?
Retrospective (max 20 mins total)
- What do we want to do more of, what do we want to change or stop? (5 mins max)
- Go round the group – what have we done for the improvement actions we committed to last week? (5 mins max)
- Look at Cumulative Flow, Cycle Time and Lead Time – what issues do we see, what actions can we take? (5 mins max)
- Go round the group – each individual commits to an improvement action for next week (5 mins max)
Based on the initial couple of goes at this process, 30 minutes is very very tight. This week I am going to run an hour with them, and although an hour per week is quite a large percentage of the working week, I suspect that the volume of Kaizen opportunities we are finding warrants it.
What’s your experience of introducing reflective practice within a Kanban environment?
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