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Editor's Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning

by Lex Schroeder
April 24, 2015

Editor's Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning

by Lex Schroeder
April 24, 2015 | Comments (0)

Here's a list of our picks for the most practical, "how-to" style posts we've published to date. What are your favorites from the Post or elsewhere? What topics would you like covered? Let us know in the comments!

Getting Started:

Too Busy to Improve, by Mike Orzen

"In the end, though it may sound counterintuitive, dedicating time to daily process improvement is the only way out of the trap of feeling like you have no time."

Doing Lean Versus Becoming Lean, by Jim Luckman

"Let's begin with the idea that Lean, at its most fundamental level, is about creating a complete organization of problem solvers who are engaged in solving the right problems at the right level every day."

Keep it Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba, by Dave LaHote

"Are you drawing simple representations of how the processes link to create value? Are you doing it as a team to create the common understanding that leads to agreement to implement a countermeasure as an experiment?" 

Why Starting with a Model Area is Key to Lean Transformation, by Danielle McGuinness

"One of the best things about of lean is how it makes work better for operators/staffers. If your team members don't actually see how lean thinking and practice makes people's jobs easier, they won’t be engaged."

Leader Standard Work: Where to Start, by Eric Ethington

"There is leader standard work, but there is also standard work around the work processes themselves associated with creating value for the customer. The two are interdependent and should be evolved together."

Ask Art: How do I get senior leadership on board with lean? by Art Byrne

"Once [you have a model line that is] working smoothly you should have clear results that enable you to convince your boss to expand your work to the next plant or department."


On Strategy, Leadership, and Management:

Put Your Strategy on a Diet, by Pascal Dennis

"Strategy is not about deciding what’s important (it’s all 'important'). Strategy is about choosing."

What Strategy is and What It's Not, by Dave LaHote

"It’s important for leaders to clearly express what they want the organization to accomplish (the Objectives). It’s equally important to clearly express why accomplishing those objectives is important." 

Reinforcing Lean Behavior Through Visual Management, by Doug Bartholomew and Mark Hamel

"Without having a visual management perspective in place, it's difficult for people to know what good is, what the standard is, and whether it is being maintained. People need to be able to tell if they have a problem."

TWI Job Instruction as a Way of Sharing Knowledge, by Patrick Graupp

"All organizations are made up of people with different skills and capabilities, but the successful, truly lean organization is the one that knows how to translate these skills and capabilities across the organization and to incoming new team members."

How to Get Out of the Habit of Telling, by Katie Anderson

"In the moment, it can feel easier and quicker to “fix and move on,” but what these leaders are beginning to realize for themselves (through reflection via a personal A3) is that unless they intentionally reset their mindset and actively practice asking questions to support problem solving in others – they will continue repeating habits that aren’t helpful." 

Communicating with Respect, by Alice Lee

"I ask: Who is your audience? What problem are you trying to solve?"


On Problem Solving:

Why Effective Problem Solving Begins with a Good Problem Statement, by Dave LaHote

"[Don't start with] a problem statement that is so broad that it can’t be reasonably measured or observed, as in 'we have too many errors in our patient record files.' A good problem statement in its simplest form is a clear statement of the difference between our target condition and our actual condition stated in observable and measureable terms."

Create a Real A3, Do More than Fill in Boxes, by Tracey Richardson

"Once your problem is clarified, break it down into manageable pieces. A lot of people try to tackle a huge problem in a single A3, like world hunger, but that’s not what A3 thinking is for. Trying to tackle too complex a problem or too many problems at once, with too many root causes, will only cause frustration."

Problem Solving Fast and Slow, by Ben Root

"We learned to go slow and be thorough. But, after much practice, we became very good at looking at a problem, doing analysis, and solving the problem quickly."

Standardized Work for Kaizen: Define, Achieve, Maintain, Improve, by Tracey Richardson

"Before we change anything, the current process needs to be written down and documented so it’s a benchmark for improvement. Taichii Ohno said, 'There can be no kaizen without a standard.'”

Getting the Most Out of the 5 Whys, by Emmanuel Jallas

"If you get into a vicious circle between why and because, or you end up with something like, “We must raise people’s awareness about standards,” you aren’t at the root cause. Simply start over, try again, and consider new points of view."


On Product and Process Development:

Product Focus = Customer Focus, by Jim Morgan

"To become product focused, companies must understand, better than anyone else, the critical product/service attributes that truly matter to their customer. They must align their product attributes, manufacturing and operational processes, and quality priorities, accordingly."

Why Creating Products Customers Actually Want Requires a Great Process, by Matt Zayko

"Eventually, Acme Devices managed to move upstream in the product lifecycle to the product development value stream to shift the focus from waste-out to value-in. While it was daunting to know where to begin upstream from operations for lean in development, Acme chose the starting point of process creation for new products."

Frontloading Product Development, by Durward Sobek

"Stefan Thomke recommends rapid experimentation in order to learn about product and manufacturing process possibilities. We can extend Thomke’s idea with Allen Ward’s notions of set-based design, what we now term set-based innovation."

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
Keywords:  learning,  management,  problem solving
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