For my Facebook fans you have probably already seen this. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I started a new feature which I call Lean Tips. It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.
Click this link for A Lean Journey's Facebook Page Notes Feed.
Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:
Lean Tip #46 - Avoid "paralysis of analysis": wasting valuable time by collecting data that does not move the project forward
The term "analysis paralysis" or "paralysis of analysis" refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.
One of the best approaches to take in order to defeat analysis paralysis is to follow the PDCA model, which stands for the following:
You begin by stating the problem or your objective, gathering the facts, and then setting forth a hypothesis or a plan of action. Then you act based on your hypothesis. Once you've acted and received feedback, analyze the results that you got from the action that you took.
Now, based on your analysis of the feedback, decide how you need to modify your approach and formulate another hypothesis or come up with a different plan of action. Then, act once again to either prove or disprove your new hypothesis. Continue following these four steps—plan, do, check, and act–until you reach the desired outcome.
You must know where you are going at all times. Create a written map with simple, specific targets an deadlines. Review it regularly to make sure you stay on course.
A road map for goals has three main components. Goals represent your destination. The activities are comprised of all the different options you have to reach the destination --different roads, different forms of travel, different resting areas, and different scenery along the way. Finally, objectives are your itinerary--the final decisions about how to travel, which road to take, where to stop along the way, how long to take, where to stay, and what to see.
Begin any discussion on Lean measurement by recognizing that measurement is waste. It should be limited and minimized. It has been said "You can't fatten a calf by weighing it." At the same time, you must recognize that an effective measurement system is one of the most powerful tools for change, and for Lean transformation, that exists.
The 5 Whys can be counterproductive if you are really suggesting a solution rather than asking others to question, to think it out themselves. This is the essence of the Socratic method - leading to a far more effective, and sustained, solution because it is then their idea.
Rudyard Kipling's 'Six Honest Serving Men' remains, some 100 years after it was first written, one of the most useful problem analysis tools. The original verse is,
'I knew six honest serving men,
they taught me all I knew;
their names are what and why and when,
and where and how and who'.
The six men are a very useful way of defining customers, their requirements and what is really valued.
There are two types of causes to a problem:
Common Cause is that from the variability inherent in a system. Common cause variation is fluctuation caused by unknown factors resulting in a steady but random distribution of output around the average of the data.
Special Cause is not inherent in the system. The root cause of which can be determined and eliminated. Special cause variation is caused by known factors that result in a non-random disruption of output.
Needless to say, not all phenomena arise from constant systems of common causes. At times, the variation is caused by a source of variation that is not part of the constant system.
Shewhart (1931, 1980) defined control as follows:
A phenomenon will be said to be controlled when, through the use of past experience, we can predict, at least within limits, how the phenomenon may be expected to vary in the future. Here it is understood that prediction within limits means that we can state, at least approximately, the probability that the observed phenomenon will fall within the given limits.
Control is simply a state where all variation is predictable variation. A controlled process isn't necessarily a sign of good management, nor is an out-of-control process necessarily producing non-conforming product.
If we fail to fully understand the problem we are facing we may not give it the immediacy it deserves.
An acute problem is one that strikes unexpectedly, is quite severe, but is a one shot deal.
•Problem may never have occurred in the past.
•Immediate action is required to solve the problem.
•Customer may be asking for immediate action.
A chronic problem is an on-going situation.
•Problem may not need immediate attention, but happens often.
•Immediate action is not necessarily required to solve the problem.
•Problem-solving may be preventative or improvement based.
•The decision to solve the problem is bases on analysis of data.
•Control charts and pareto diagrams help in the decision-making process.
Knowing in advance how people are likely to respond to a proposal or idea is often the key to influencing them successfully. Before presenting a new idea or action plan, determine whose support you absolutely need to have. Talk with individuals who work within a particular topic to win them over.
People want to do more than go through the motions - they want to do work that matters. When you appeal to deeply held values and goals, your words and ideas resonate with people. They intrinsically understand that your proposal not only will help the organization, but also will help them live out their values and pursue their goals.
Many people build their expectations on what they think is possible. When you're a leader, you can't afford to be passive - you have to get involved. As a leader, you have the opportunity to help people see what's beyond their current horizons. You can create an environment of enthusiasm and excellence by communicating high expectations; fostering optimistic, positive attitudes about people and their work; and ensuring that people feel appreciated and valued for their achievements and efforts.
Unless people reflect on what they learn, they run the risk of completing a string of disconnected activities. Try these tips to enhance learning:
•Before an event, tell them what you believe they can learn from the experience.
•Talk with them about what they are learning.
•Use effective, open-ended questions to help them fully realize what they learned from the experience.
•Discuss with them how they will translate what they learned into new situations and opportunities.
That is what I am doing with A Lean Journey blog and these notes. There are a mirad of training resources including articles, books, videos, audiotapes, software training, webinars, seminars, workshops, and conferences. Identify resources that are current and timely. When people have completed the activity, take time to discuss what was learned and how they will apply the knowledge and skills to the job.
We need to work not only with our own teams, but also with teams and groups across and outside of the organization. Leaders need to address obstacles before they become serious impediments. Promote teamwork among different groups by showing respect for other functions and professions'. Avoid labels, stereotypes, and disparaging remakes about other groups. Encourage people to focus on mutual goals.
A group of people is not the same thing as a team. Teams require independent goals and collaboration. Teams are created, and there are regular stages in their development. Leaders play an important role in growing and supporting their teams through each stage of growth. These stages are often characterized as forming, storming, norming and performing.
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