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What do YOU want to read on The Lean Post?

by Lex Schroeder
October 3, 2013

What do YOU want to read on The Lean Post?

by Lex Schroeder
October 3, 2013 | Comments (12)

Here at The Lean Post, we have our own ideas of what articles we want to publish and our own goals for the kind of community we want to create. We’re particularly interested in articles that speak to the challenges you all have experienced in your lean transformation work (and how you've overcome these), and/or articles that spark new dialogues in the lean community or speak to new and different audiences. As our mission is to make things better through lean thinking and practice by spreading lean thinking throughout the world, reaching new and different audiences is REALLY important.

From the beginning, we have aimed to create an interesting and lively mix of content on the Post: well-known writers, teachers, and coaches in the lean community right up alongside new and different voices. We've aimed to create a site that encourages learning, sharing, and dialogue.

But what do you, as lean practitioners and lean.org community members (and perhaps beginner lean thinkers? new visitors to lean.org?) want to see on the Post? What articles are you interested in reading? Which articles on the Post have you enjoyed or found useful and why? What's the best thing you've read or watched recently that has changed the way you approach your work or made you think differently?

So far, I'm struck by how much the lean community appreciates simple, practical, "how-to" style pieces on lean thinking and practice (for example, this piece by Jim Morgan and this piece by Tracey Richardson). We’ve also noticed that our readers like a good story, a human story about how and why an organization discovers it needs to improve and how people work together to make meaningful, lasting change happen. For example, Alice Lee's story of how she introduced lean thinking at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston.

We know we’ve only just scratched the surface of topics that might be covered on The Lean Post, of interest to the lean community and beyond, so we hope you’ll let us know your ideas and send your feedback.

If you’d like to submit a piece yourself, you can do so here. Not all pieces will be accepted, but we encourage you to submit, take a stance, share one of your own lessons learned, or raise a new question. We want to hear from you and help share your stories with the world.

If you’d like to write something, but need a little more guidance, here are two particular kinds of stories we're looking for: stories of where you see waste (wasted time, resources, energy, talent, etc.) in your everyday life or in the world, and stories of where you see lean thinking show up where you’d least expect it. We’ll collect these stories and use them to drive new conversations on the Post and in the lean community. We look forward to hearing from you!

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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12 Comments | Post a Comment
kevin kobett October 03, 2013
1 Person AGREES with this comment

The posts are too general. For example, don't say to be successful you must have the correct culture. It is difficult to respond to that post. No one is going to respond, "Culture does not matter." I want specific, actionable steps that can be immediately implemented.

For example, the company's culture can be changed by the hiring process, specifically this interview question. Then people can chime in with their favorite interview question. I only have one good interview question. I would be very receptive to more.

Also, if you are the author of an article or made a comment, you should receive notification additional posts were made. This would increase discussion.


Reply »

Gene Vasper October 03, 2013
I'd like to see stories of people who apply lean in their everyday life outside of work. For example, I've used lean to help improve the roofing process that we've used to replace roofs for charities that we've worked for - hurricane Katrina/Children's Home, etc.  Roofing is a labor intensive process but by applying Lean principles - the process can be streamlined and non value added work can be greatly reduced.

Example: Find best tools to reduce/minimize non value added work - removal of old shingles using specilized tool to reduce time required to remove old shingles.

Example: use fork lift to lift pallet of bundles of shingles up to roof level versus carrying each bundle up by hand or using a coveyor which requires double handling of each bundle.

Example: use pneumatic guns versus hammer and nail process to reduce time and effort.

Example: Use Roof Guard II versus traditional 30 pound felt paper for underlayment - provides a better underlayment and is easier and paster to work with than heavy bundles of felt paper.

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Lex Schroeder October 07, 2013

Thank you Kevin. This is very helpful feedback, and we will definitely aim to publish more practical, specific "how-to" pieces on the Post.

About comment notifications, authors are now notified when someone comments on their piece (as Lory says below), but we are working on making sure all commenters are notified when others' comment on their comment as well!

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Danielle McGuiness October 07, 2013
I would agree with Kevin that we could diversify and be more explicit with types of stories. I enjoy reading lean posts which have a storytelling appeal to them- from the gemba and from personal experience.

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Daniel Breston October 09, 2013
1 Person AGREES with this reply

Lean management but targeted at middle managers in non-manufacturing organisations.  How cna lean help them?  How can lean not be viewed as a threat?  What should new practitioners do concretely to ensure that a lean introduction is successful?

Some posts on this would be beneficial please.

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Joe Pesz October 03, 2013
3 People AGREE with this comment
I'm continually challenged with defending Lean as something more than a flavor of the month management strategy, especially when it's tied to Six Sigma, and each allowed a strength and weakness quotient. Lean culture can only begin to take root when some success has beef had with Lean tools, and that beginning feeds the desire to learn and do more. If you can address the no frills not here to sell another book implementation of Lean, that would be helpful as well. Best Regards

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kevin kobett October 04, 2013

Gene and Joe made good points that could work together. If you have success with lean put it in story form and tell all your employees at all the company's locations.

When I started lean, I was working at a union factory. Some of the union guys tried to convince me to stop. They thought people would lose jobs. I knew they were right but I couldn't stop. Hence, most of my lean work was done solo. Turns out everyone lost there jobs when the company moved overseas. More improvements could have saved the day.

If stories were shared, I could have found union guys who wanted to make improvements. When I left the company, I found out someone I worked with everyday was a lean player. It was a big opportunity lost.

This is what I want. Discussion.

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Lex Schroeder October 07, 2013
Thank you for this excellent feedback, Joe. We've heard other community members say they struggle with these same things and take this feedback seriously. We aim to publish more quick, easily readable/sharable "success stories" on the Post. And in the meantime, I encourage you to search "case study" at lean.org, which should pull up a wide variety of success story style articles in our knowledge center. We're working on a roundup of our best case studies in various fields as well. 

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Lory Moniz October 04, 2013


You will be happy to know that we have just added this feature of notifying authors when comments are made.

You bring up an interesting point regarding hiring. Have you seen this happen firsthand?

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kevin kobett October 07, 2013

I am starting my own manufacturing company and have been working on the interview process. So far I have only one interview question: "What made you happy on your last job?" I want to hear a story of achievement. I want to know how the problem was discovered, brainstormimg details, how the solution was found and selected and how the solution worked. If you tell me a great story, the interview is over; you are hired. If you cared enough to correct the process, I expect you will do your best to make quality product. We can spend the rest of the interview exchanging stories.

I need a backup plan for those who do not have lean success stories. I am not sure there is a large pool of lean practioners out there. I will probabaly use tests to hire these candidates. I would like additional interview questions.

I have used the opposite question. Ask your interviewer, "Can you tell me about your favorite employee suggestion?" If the interviewer tells me many stories of achievement, I am hooked. Sign me up. If the interviewer cannot answer, my salary requirements doubles.

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Danielle McGuiness October 07, 2013
some hiring questions i have heard..
1) how many golf balls can you fit into a corolla? (have the potential hire problem solve their thinking outloud)
2) something around how you build capability in others as a manager (i forget the exact question)  

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kevin kobett October 09, 2013
1 Person AGREES with this comment

Take the job applicant to the gemba. Is she fidgeting and ready to go? Does he bend over to inspect the equipment? How do they interact with the operators? If you want your managers to go to the gemba, a good performance indicator would be to take the applicant to the gemba.

The hiring process seems to be a critical control point for a lean transformation.

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