Lean Programme Shaping – Exploring Waste #

This is the fourth post in a series of thought experiments on applying Lean/Agile principles to the early shaping stages of a programme.

In the last two posts I started to explore how we could find the value stream in the “messy” stages of early programme shaping. In this post I will turn to the concept of “waste” in our context.

In the classic Toyota Production System, seven types of waste are identified:

  1. over-production
  2. idle time
  3. transportation
  4. inventory
  5. motion
  6. over-processing
  7. defective units

Leaning heavily on the work the Poppendiecks did to translate these concepts to software engineering, I suggest the seven types of waste for programme shaping are:

Over-production
e.g. producing documents which do not add value, and which have to be kept under configuration management
Waiting
e.g. time the team are idle waiting for decisions
Hand-offs between groups
Always an opportunity for tacit information to be lost, and the reason many organisations perceive a need for excessive organisation
Too much work-in-progress
For example creating work products long before they are needed. This “gums up the works”; with documents which have to be kept under configuration management, and becomes a source of distraction
Motion to find needed information
How often have you found the situation that a critical piece of information is held by one person, and that person is in another department, or another building?
Over-refining work products
e.g. Adding levels of detail or polish which do not add to the value of the document to support decisions or execution
Defects in the work produced
e.g. Plans which do not fit strategy, products which do not stakeholder expectations, or inconsistency between documents.

I’m sure that each reader will be able to add their own examples. In later posts I’ll look at possible solutions.

Next – how do we design the programme shaping process to amplify learning?

(2019-07-15) Fix links

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Julian Elve
Proactive application of technology to business

My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change

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