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Friday, March 6, 2015

Lean Quote: Assess the 'Do-ability' of Ideas

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"The new idea either finds a champion or dies. — Edward Schon

There are a number of decision-making tools for evaluating your ideas. One I prefer is the effort-impact grid for looking at the cost and benefit. Each idea is placed in one of the quadrants shown below, based on group assessment of the impact and effort required to implement the idea.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 1 are easy and cheap but produce minimal benefit. They are appropriate when they can be included in annual plans or address existing problems.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 2 are easy and cheap and produce significant benefit. They are easy to implement quickly.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 3 are difficult and expensive and produce minimal benefit. Ideas from this quadrant should generally be discarded.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 4 are difficult and expensive but will result in significant benefit. If these ideas are considered, appropriate time and resources should be made available for their exploration.

The steps in constructing an impact effort matrix are:

  1. Retrieve suggested solutions from previous discussions.
  2. Construct an empty diagram with effort required to implement the solution on the horizontal axis and impact of the solution on the vertical axis, and divide it into four quadrants.
  3. Assess effort and impact for each solution. Place the solutions in the diagram according to these assessments. Use a symbol, color, or label to identify each possible solution.
  4. Solutions falling into the upper left-hand quadrant will yield the best return on investments and should be considered first.

The Impact-Effort Matrix helps assess the 'do-ability' of a proposed change effort.

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