At our office, Matt Savas had a great idea to apply the PFEP (Plan for every Part) concept to the way we interact with our our customers. We call it PFEC, or, Plan for Every Customer. Our pilot was to select customer organizations who have shown interest in learning, based on either bulk book purchases, significant summit attendance, or tour/workshop participation.
Our pilot entails creating buddy work teams and proactively reaching out to the customers, or as we call them, Learners. Our history at LEI has been more reactive; but in the spirit of the first concept in Lean thinking, we are taking specific actions in order to better understand our customer need.
As we kicked off this work as a team, we spent several weeks of upfront planning, with a weekly 60-90 minute work session. Each meeting was taking less and less time, but still ‘filling up’ the scheduled time.
Last week, Matt changed the structure of the meeting to an update. We scheduled 30 minutes. Each buddy pair was given a four-minute target time to share their update.
Wow, we found out that four minutes can be a long time. Every team reported plus other team members shared contacts or knowledge of the organization.
We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe.
For me, I saw this as a great example of small batch and flow in an office project. Small batch was reducing time available for each pair to report, allowing them to focus on the value-add info. Flow because each report was directly followed by the next with no long debate or intervention. With limited time, each team self-selected the most important (or value add) elements.
PDCA is also an element of this experience. By spending time PLANning up front, but not too much, we go to DO or action faster, so that we can now CHECK what we experienced and make ADJUSTments for our second round. Each buddy was better prepared for their four minutes.
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, and absorption of new info happens.