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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meet-up: My Flexible Pencil's David Kasprzak

Today, I would like to introduce David Kasprzak of My Flexible Pencil. David and I have been friends ever since we started blogging a few years ago. We have carried on a dialogue online over the years that has been thought provoking. He has contributed to this site many times which you can find here.

The goal of Meet-up is provide you an opportunity to meet some other influential voices in the Lean community. I will ask these authors a series of questions:

Who are you and what do you do?
My background is, primarily, in large-scale, multi-year, hardware development program planning and analysis. This includes both engineering R&D and transition into manufacturing. Most of my background is in support of DoD programs, but also includes commercial aviation and IT programs as well.

How and when did you learn Lean?
My employer launched a Lean initiative and put a core group of us through GBMP's 8-week Lean program.

How and why did you start blogging or writing about Lean?
The Lean training really lit my fire in terms of being able to understand the, frankly, broken way in which most organizations operate - particularly as it relates to the humanistic aspects of work (or lack thereof). That fire burned hot enough for me to go back to school and earn an MBA. I started blogging 1/2 way through that program as a way to broadcast my ideas and network with others who share my belief in changing the underlying mindset by which organizations operate.

What does Lean mean to you?
Lean is a philosophy of human behavior. It offers an explanation of why people do what they do, describes the path to develop an ideal mindset, from which ideal activities take place. Seeing Lean as a philosophy explains why it is so hard to understand fully, and yet so easy to apply to many different situations and activities.

What is the biggest myth or misconception of Lean?
That it is only about reducing cost. Reducing cost is just an outcome of Lean practices and, especially if you believe in the Shingo model. (easier, better, faster, cheaper) All too often, those cost reductions are enforced in a way that makes the work harder - which is unsustainable since no one will, or even can, do that which is more difficult for an indefinite period of time.

What is your current Lean passion, project, or initiative?
I am always looking for ways to make home life more efficient, effective, organized, simpler....so there is an on-going personal initiative to apply Lean concepts to daily, personal life. On the blog, I keep looking for way to introduce typically non-Lean audiences to Lean concepts. Usually, this focuses on white-collar, knowledge management environments and the project management activities I'm most familiar with. The more I dig into it, the more I find similarities in the approaches different schools of thought advocate. When it comes to organizing large groups of people, the tactics are often very similar even if the terminology or application is different.

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  1. Thanks, Tim!

    Matt Wrye described my blog as not exactly a Lean blog, but a lean-influenced blog that focuses a lot on the "respect for people" aspects and applies some lean principles to everyday life. I think that about sums it up.

    It's nothing new to say that management styles, in general, are in need of an overhaul. Lean thinkers are an especially receptive audience. Not only are they true beleivers in changing the environment to change the outcome of a process - they like to tinker, too.

  2. Tim, this series continues to be great. I have really enjoyed reading and getting to know more about other bloggers.

    David, your blog continues to touch on grat aspects of lean as well as other management philosophies. I look forward to reading more.