Monday, October 9, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #115 (1726 -1740)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature 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.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.


Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:


Lean Tip #1726 – Management is Responsible for Removing Barriers
Sometimes employees encounter barriers when implementing changes.

Barriers can be with other employees, other departments, inadequate training, lacking equipment or supply needs.

Sometimes management also needs to deal with resistant or difficult employees.

It is management’s responsibility to ensure that employees can implement change without obstacles and resistance.

It is unfortunate but there are times when employees simply can’t accept a change. In these rare cases employees simply need to move on in order to successfully implement a needed change. These are difficult but necessary decisions.

Lean Tip #1727 - Acknowledge and Celebrate Progress Along the Way.
Reinforcement is key to building and maintaining momentum. The relapse syndrome is powerful. Psychologists tell us the time takes to develop a new habit depends on how engrained the old one is. Thus, it is almost always easier to move back into our comfort zones than move forward into the unknown unless we are highly motivated to do whatever it takes to overcome that resistance.

Reinforcement and celebration are powerful motivators that can drive momentum. By staying focused on reaching the goal with everyone on board, helps people overcome resistance. Help people learn from mistakes and breakdowns, but stay focused on recognizing achievements.

Lean Tip #1728 - Focus on Building Trust.
There have been many statements about how you have to repeat something over and over in order for it to stick. There’s something that comes before repetition. If you do not have trust, it doesn’t matter how often you repeat something. When you are leading change, focus on building trust it’s the most essential element of leading successful change.

Lean Tip #1729 - Build Relationships Between Your Employees.
As your team starts to cooperate more, examine the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation and trust amongst the team. If there are any conflicts, try to resolve them amicably. Listen to both sides of the argument and act as a mediator. One way to do this is to brainstorm solutions, which helps to empower your employees and may lead to new solutions to the problem.

Lean Tip #1730 - Foster Teamwork.
Once you have established relations with and between your employees, it’s time to help them work together effectively. Encourage your team to share information, both amongst themselves and within the wider organization. Also, try to communicate more with your team. This goes beyond simply holding meetings, and includes things like being open to suggestions and concerns, asking about each team member’s work and offering assistance where necessary, and doing everything you can to communicate clearly and honestly with your team.


Lean Tip #1731 – Make the Goals Measurable
Knowing the business goals of your product is a prerequisite for selecting the right KPIs. But it is not enough. To effectively apply the indicators, analyze the resulting data, and take the right actions, the goals must be measurable. The challenge is to establish measurable goals that are also realistic, particularly for brand-new and young products. The next tips helps you address this challenge.

Lean Tip #1732 – Avoid Vanity Metrics
Stay clear of vanity metrics, measures that make your product look good but don’t add value. Take the number of downloads for an app as an example. While a fair amount of people might download the product, this tells you little about how successful it is. Instead of measuring downloads, you should choose a relevant and helpful metric, such as daily active usage or referral rate.

Lean Tip #1733 – Don’t Measure everything that can be Measured
Don’t measure everything that can be measured and don’t blindly trust an analytics tool to collect the right data. Instead, use the business goals to choose a small amount of metrics that truly help you understand how your product performs. Otherwise you take the risk of wasting time and effort analyzing data that creates little or no insights. In the worst case, you action irrelevant data and make the wrong decisions.

Lean Tip #1734 – Employ Lagging and Leading Indicators
Lagging indicators, such as revenue, profit, and cost, are backward-focused and tell you about the outcome of past actions. Leading indicators help you understand how likely it is that your product will meet a goal in the future. Take product quality as an example. If the code is becoming increasingly complex, then adding new features will become more expensive and require more time. Meeting profit targets and delivery dates will therefore become harder. Using backward and forward-focused indicators allows you to tell you if you have met the business goals and helps you anticipate if the product is likely to meet the goals in the future.

Lean Tip #1735 – Look beyond Financial and Customer Indicators
Financial indicators, such as revenue and profit, and customer metrics, including engagement and referral rate, are the two most common indicator types in my experience. While these metrics are undoubtedly important, they are not sufficient. Say your product is meeting its revenue and profit goals and that customer engagement and referral rate are high. This suggests that your product is doing well and that there is no reason to worry. But if at the same time, the team motivation is low or if the code quality is deteriorating, then you should be concerned: These indicators suggest that achieving product success will be much harder in the future. You should therefore look beyond financial and customer indicators and complement them with the relevant product, process, and people indicators.

Lean Tip #1736 – Don’t Automatically Blame the Tool.
It’s not the hammer’s fault if the person swinging it uses the wrong end. It just won’t work well. Most tools are decent enough, they’re just used incorrectly. Rushing to change a tool because things aren’t working well may be a mistake.

Lean Tip #1737 – Hold a Daily, 10-minute Company Meeting
While meetings are generally considered a necessity, they can carry on to the point where they eat away at the work day. Rather shorter, more efficient meetings that cover the basics in 10 minutes flat are preferred.

Daily huddles serve as a firehose of information that keeps everyone in the loop, including a roundup of our key performance indicators, the celebration of accomplishments, and the identification of opportunities to improve.

Not only is it a good way to keep all employees up to speed on any new developments within the company, keeping meetings short and sweet forces a streamlined meeting process, and reduces time wasted.

Lean Tip #1738 – Figure Out How the Work Gets Done.
We have lots of assumptions about how work gets done that don’t mirror exactly what happens. After all, during the day-to-day grind, we don’t think about how we do the work, we often just do it. Ask an outside observer to record the steps of the process in a way that he/she could repeat it themselves if they had to, without assistance.

Lean Tip #1739 – Remove Inefficiencies and Waste.
Once you know what the workflow of your process looks like, take a second look at any step in the process that doesn’t directly create value for the customer. Manage, improve, and smooth your process flow to eliminate non-valued-added activity (e.g., wasted time, wasted movement, wasted inventory due to overproduction, customer delays, waiting for approvals, delays due to batching of work, unnecessary steps, duplication of effort, and errors and rework).

Lean Tip #1740 – Make the Smallest Effective Change
You want to make a change that will solve the problem, but try to make business process changes as minimal as possible. The more changes you make, the more time you will lose in retraining and transitioning from the old process to the new process.


The more changes you introduce, the greater the uncertainty about the effect of those changes. Making precise, targeted changes to your process reduces the risk that unintended consequences can make you worse off than you were before.




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