Anyone who has done a search on Lean Assessments online knows there are dozens of models. Are they necessary? I would say yes. If you do not know where you are, how do you know where you’re going? Peter Drucker’s famous saying “what gets measured, gets done” is popular because it is true. An assessment is not merely an audit of the current status. It also suggests the wanted position. It creates a strong “expected-to-improve” environment, and it indicates were to go next. Thus, an assessment provides focus for the improvement, fosters attention from management, and creates a desire for good scores throughout the organization.
Leaders often think they understand what needs to be improved; however, that isn’t always true. Most companies use external auditors to perform financial audits and for ISO9000 compliance so why not Lean. Lean has a greater chance of being successfully deployed if it is viewed as strategic and is driven from the top by the CEO who has established a compelling reason to engage in Lean.
Lean Assessments are intended to provide a sense of where your company is at any one time along its lean journey. The assessment helps to investigate, evaluate, and measure key areas of maturity as your organizations progresses along the Lean journey. They are intended to be used as a guide for setting priorities for transformation and improvement efforts.
Because assessments motivate actions, one should not go easy with them. If not designed carefully they drive the wrong behaviors. One should take great care in developing assessments that are helpful for the organization. Blindly copying other firm’s assessments is a dangerous route. What gets measured, gets done, so be sure to measure what you want to be done.
What is your experience with Lean Assessments? What advice would you give others?