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Thinking about #Lean long term successes (or lack thereof)

May 23rd, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: ,

Here’s an excerpt of a conversation I had through email, and some thoughts of mine on the 2% success rate of long term Lean turnovers (source of these statistics is, an interview of Cliff Ransom – thanks to Bryan Lund for giving me the reference!)


[…]It’s only when [consultants] leave that [Lean] results aren’t sustained 98% of the time. And since the company is on its own to sustain them, the consultant can safely blame the company for not continuying what they did with his/her support. I guess the companies blame themselves without the help of the consultant anyway.

Yet, I’m with the ones that think that when you sell yourself on the basis of changing the culture for one of *continuous* improvements (what Lean is about), and if the improvements are not continued once you leave, then I think it’s a failure.

I think that was Einstein that said that insanity is expecting different results by doing still the same things.

It’s true that some Lean consultants/senseïs get recurrent, exceptional and sustained results over time. Yet, when others replicate what they do, they fail nonetheless. I guess that the consultant’s work is not enough, something must be part of the environment.

When, as an organization, you approach a consultant with a long track of sustained results, you expect to succeed as well. Indeed, you *want* to succeed. Since these kind of consultants have a long waiting list, they choose who they work with, thereby increasing their success rate (they choose the most motivated clients!).

Whereas since you don’t attract the same kind of clients, you can’t expect to achieve the same rate of successes [because they aren’t as motivated as the ones going to the other consultant with a longer trail of successes].

Stop Using Story Points | Industrial Logic (#agile, #Lean@

April 16th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , ,

Joshua Kerievsky has written a really nice and comprehensive article on Agile and the usage (abuse) of story points: Stop Using Story Points | Industrial Logic.

I always felt like Agile (or Kanban) felt in love with their tools and didn’t use them for continuous improvement past the obvious. I mean, you have those that just use the tool to manage work and don’t improve (they usually don’t do review at the end of the sprint). Then there are those that, while doing the review, would work at removing the blocks of the sprint and ensure next sprint won’t suffer the same problems. And it usually stops here.

The real point of Agile (or Lean for that purpose) should always IMHO have been to constantly work at reducing the delay between the moment a client requests a feature and the moment it is used successfully. So the review should have been used for more than just removing obvious roadblocks.

So I’m pleased the story points are gone for the most advanced agile practitioners (they would probably continue to be useful for beginners, I just hope people will feel less sticky with them).

But now my concern is whether the story point less teams will continue doing reviews and:

  • seeing their process together
  • solving problems /improving together
  • learning together

I look forward to what new will happen in the Agile world. Great job so far anyway!


Le “#lean #management”, un danger pour les salariés?

April 8th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , ,

Excellent article bien documenté sur le Lean dans Les Echos: Le “lean management”, un danger pour les salariés?.

En ce qui me concerne, le Lean doit être tri-gagnant simultanément:

  • bénéfique pour les employés (en premier car c’est eux qui doivent maintenir l’amélioration continue et qui font tourner les processus de l’entreprise)
  • bénéfique pour les clients (sinon l’entreprise coulera)
  • bénéfique pour l’entreprise (sinon aucun intérêt à dépenser de l’argent dedans).

Toute initiative qui ne viserait pas à établir un gain sur les trois axes simultanément ne pourrait qu’avoir des bénéfices à court terme et négatifs sur le long terme. Et n’est-ce pas le long terme que visent toutes les entreprises?


Revue du livre “La pratique du #Lean Management dans l’IT”

April 5th, 2013 Posted in Change, Lean Tags: , , , ,

J’ai lu avec beaucoup d’intérêt le livre collectif “La pratique du Lean Management dans l’IT“.

Travaillant moi-même dans l’IT et le Lean, je connais plusieurs versions de ce qu’on appelle “le Lean”, et dans l’IT, tout ne se passe pas toujours très bien (ne me lancez pas sur les causes profondes de ces échecs, j’en aurai pour des heures!)

Ce livre, sans être une bible de référence sur le sujet (ce que les auteurs n’avaient je pense pas l’intention de faire), démontre comment il est :

  1. facile de faire du Lean dans l’IT ;
  2. possible d’obtenir rapidement d’impressionnants résultats ;
  3. possible de placer et conserver les gens au centre de la démarche.

En effet, beaucoup de démarches déploient une forme de Lean en mode “command & control” ce qui d’une part est une hérésie en matière de gestion du changement et d’autre part n’est tout simplement pas du Lean.

Point de tout cela ici. Le livre est très clair sur les manières de faire, limpides sur les raisons de faire ce qui a été fait, et les histoires rapportées (nombreuses et éclairantes) apportent un vrai plus.

Relativement court, le livre devrait permettre à tout bon manager IT de se décider à se lancer dans le Lean management, pour peu qu’il veuille bien aider ses collaborateurs à sortir des difficultés dans lesquelles le système les a enfermés au fil du temps…

Un must à lire !

My @leanpub book “The Colors of #Change” has started its publication!

Details are available on the page over there: or from here (a bit more complete).

Subtitle is “Respectful Change Management explained by Cybernetics”.

Check it out!

How are #SystemsThinking and #Lean related?

March 12th, 2013 Posted in Lean, Systems Thinking Tags: , , , , ,

This is a post I just saw on LinkedIn: how Systems Thinking and Lean are related?

Here’s my answer:

ST and Lean are not related on first sight. Yet, I’m one of the few being convinced that all the Lean paraphernalia (management practices, coaching Katas, Tools, etc.) helps collaborators of an organization build a better systemic view of that organization and its links with suppliers and clients.

Most if not everything done in Lean is multidimensional.

For instance, pulling processes is:

  • first and foremost in order to make problems visible
  • improves efficiency

Making problems visible helps:

  • seeing them in order to solve them
  • develop people

Developing people will:

  • make them happier at work
  • which makes them more efficient
  • which will further improve the processes (go back to first list above)

Other tools are more dedicated (IMHO) to knitting the systemic view of the company into people’s head and therefore raise their motivation by clarifying the big picture for them, forces everybody to clarify and participate in what this big picture is, and challenge all that may be deviant to it.

For instance: A3 Thinking is about having a description of a problem circulated around that:

  • have the whole of the problem (description, cause hypotheses, solutions ideas, action plans, results) under the eyes: a sort of systemic rich picture in itself
  • the circulation helps everybody build that systemic understanding in his own mind
  • help break down the barriers between organizational silos, which further reinforce the connectivity/relationships among employees, thereby facilitating further improvement initiatives

Nemawashi is the name of that process of circulating A3s during preparation, testing of hypotheses, standardisation of results, and later, Yokoten is the process of proposing the solutions for everybody in the organization to apply and further improve it.

As renown twice Shingo Prized author Michael Ballé said : Lean is systems thinking applied and working.

To make the connection with what @David said: you start by pulling the main production processes, then you pull other supplying processes whose TAKT is that of production. Then you pull administrative processes (HR, finance, etc.)

In the end (10 years from the beginning!), all really is connected and not in silo anymore and the whole organization is really functioning in a systemic, dense network [a system!], as opposed to loosely singly connected silos at the start of the Lean turnover.

#Toyota, #Respect for #People (or “Humanity”) and #Lean — Lean Blog

March 5th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mark Graban did a very nice recollection of posts on Respect for People and what it means in Lean after John Seddon comment on it being ‘horse sh*t’. Here’s the article: Toyota, Respect for People (or “Humanity”) and Lean — Lean Blog.

I would add my 2 cents here by saying that respect not only is everyday showing of a nice attitude to people (also known as “politeness”), but also a longer term view of the thing where we want people to be part of a great work place (safe and interesting) and that their work has meaning.

  • So to maintain the interesting and the meaningful parts of the job, we remove waste (mura (uneveness), muda (non added value) and muri (burden)) to focus on added value.
  • And to ensure that it’s done properly (not from a manager in his ivory tower) and to develop people’s intelligence, we have the people do kaizen (continuous improvement) themselves.

Is that too difficult to understand?!


Site officiel de l’Association Française Edwards #Deming

Je viens de trouver ce site. Fantastique ! Avec pas mal d’articles disponibles en français sur le sujet (management par les statistiques… intelligemment). On y trouve aussi quelques logiciels en français et gratuits pour effectuer ces statistiques (je ne les ai pas testés).

Site officiel de l’Association Française Edwards Deming.


GembaWalkabout – Understand Variation – The Forgotten Principle #Deming #Lean

February 25th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

Here a nice little article explaining the difference between common cause and special cause variation, and what people should be doing about them which they usually fail to do.

GembaWalkabout – Understand Variation – The Forgotten Principle.

Time for management training?

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