This Lean Post is the final article of a three-part series exploring Collaborative Study Teams (CST) within LEI’s Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group. The learning group is made up of five non-competing organizations whose product development teams regularly share in-person and virtually how they are applying LPPD principles to deliver better products faster to customers. The CSTs are cohorts that convene monthly to take deep dives into specific LPPD principles and practices to accelerate learning beyond what each company could do alone. Read parts one and two of the series.
A guiding principle of Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) is Putting People First. To develop great products, you, the organizational leader, must create and support the development team. The collaborative study team (CST) dove into understanding the challenges of people development and how to improve it in their organizations. The team focused on two areas. One area was developing people while executing the work. The urgency of completing a project makes it easy to let people’s development slide. So, both must be done concurrently.
The other focus was technical development, including identifying more efficient and effective ways to capture and transfer knowledge and develop people’s technical skills.
- Develop people with intention. When helping people develop their technical skills while they execute their work, it is vital to be intentional. Being intentional means setting clear expectations, objectives, and evaluation criteria. These criteria should align with two goals: developing the skills necessary for completing the work and for individuals to progress in the organization.
- Implement effective learning strategies. Key enablers to developing new skills include: clarifying the purpose of learning, breaking learning into manageable pieces, standardizing the work, mentoring from experts, and sharing learnings and challenges with peers on a consistent cadence.
- Leverage design reviews. Design reviews with peers, senior engineers, and cross-functional experts effectively transfer tacit technical knowledge. This approach is most effective when done early enough in the design process to influence the design.
- Prioritize knowledge capture and reuse. It’s easy to perceive knowledge capture and reuse as a “nice to have” rather than “core work.” When this perception prevails in an organization, its development teams may neglect knowledge capture and reuse — which often leads to suboptimal designs. Also, team members are more likely to reuse knowledge when it is presented in a user-friendly format and integrated into the product development process.
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Designing the Future
An Introduction to Lean Product and Process Development.