Brug LEAN på din virksomheds kommunikation

Den finske blogger Esko Pilki skriver mange spændende blogindlæg inden for videndeling, IT, virksomhedsstrategi, kommunkation

Her er pt seneste eksempel, der kort fortalt argumenterer for at det er relevant og nødvendigt at anvende LEAN på alle processer, ikke bare samlebåndet,  men også også de bløde interaktive, også kaldet samtale, møder og kommunikation…

Waste seems like a straightforward term, but lean thinking has given new meaning to the word. In lean vocabulary, anything that does not create value, slows one down, or does not contain potential for learning is waste. A thing or a document sitting around waiting to be used is waste. Making something that is not needed is waste. Motion is waste. Transportation is waste. Waiting is waste. Any extra processing steps are waste.

The concept of waste has lately been transferred from manufacturing to other practices like product development. According to lean principles, when a development project is started, the goal is to complete it as rapidly as possible. In a sense, ongoing development projects are just like inventory sitting around in a factory. Design and prototypes are only valuable when customers are involved.

Eliminating waste is the most fundamental lean principle. Thus the first step to implementing lean development is learning to see waste, uncovering the sources and to eliminate them.

We recently studied the product development methodology of a large Finnish multinational company. They have been extremely successful in the past, leading most of the markets they have been targeting. However, many people have lately voiced their concern that there have been unnecessary delays in getting new products to market. We gathered input from managers and network partners to understand the main barriers to accelerating time-to-market.

The interesting thing raised was a division to two main areas of concern: technology/processes and social interaction. We asked people what percentage of the barriers might belong to the technology/processes side and what percentage would be on the social interaction side. The answers were almost unanimous: over 75 percent of the reasons for slow time-to-market belong to the social interaction side. This was curious because almost all approaches to be more agile and to take waste out of the system were historically on the technology/processes side in this organization.

People are used to lean thinking what comes to technology and processes but it is still very rare to look at taking waste out of communication and to increase the value of interaction. Many managers still trivialize the power of conversation. They think that communication issues are soft compared to the hard issues of technology and process.

We still don’t understand that work IS communication: we live and work in a network of conversations and conversations are never neutral. They always affect the quality and pace of the outcome. Communication either accelerates or slows down. Communication creates value or creates waste. Communication creates energy and inspiration or takes energy away and reduces inspiration.

The world around us is changing. The interactions in static mass manufacturing were very different from the interactions in complex, dynamic, knowledge-based work. Many managers possess the skills that meet the challenges of static conditions. Those conditions are based on predictability and systems thinking where the crucial variables are known in advance. The main risk factor is the accuracy of the predictions.

In a static environment, you know how each role fits within the larger system. You know how the processes work and you don’t want deviations. You know what it takes to make the products and you don’t want people experimenting and making things up. You want everyone to do his and her part and not get in each others way. Roles and organizational units are separated from other roles and other units. You as a manager do the coordination and share the information necessary for each to make their planned contribution and no more.

In dynamic business conditions the management practices described above cause damage and create waste rather than value.

If you cannot predict you have to invest in real-time learning and iterations instead of more predictions. Success is based on speed of learning and responsiveness. Learning is not based on manuals or instructions but value creating conversations linking interdependent people. The question is what is the design of a valuable conversation? We spend countless hours attending meeting and sending/answering emails, but the nature of those hours goes unexamined. Most people think that a conversation is inherently valuable. The challenge we face today is to deepen our awareness how conversations create either value or waste. The goal is not just to be more social.

The agile manifesto points out that individuals in interaction are more important than processes and tools. Working prototypes are more important than documentation. Customer collaboration is more important than contracts and most importantly responding to change is more important than following a plan.

Creating value or waste is a result from how we interact.

It is important to be more lean than social!”

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