One of the big Agile mantras is “Deliver Value Sooner”. They get all excited when I tell them about the client whose Agile discipline was, well, not disciplined at all. But they doubled their financial benefit purely by delivering value sooner. It’s like a before and after diet picture. We love looking at it, but are the results typical? I assert that they can be, but you need to break down the need for big-bang results.
I learned about the concept of Muri at Toyota.
I was surprised to find that many Lean practitioners either never use it or barely pay it lip service. It is one of the most crucial lead productivity measures of all.
Muri means overburden
Muri is a Japanese word used in The Toyota Way. It means the unnecessary and unreasonable struggle in a system. Just as materials should flow seamlessly with minimum fuss and effort, the same should be true for people.
I tend to say I’m a Designer by trade, but a Change Manager by heart. But I also add that it’s all the same, and here’s why.
Of course, it does matter what you design. Whether you’re in Product design, UX-design, Business Design or Organization Design, requires different skills and experiences. However, I do believe that they all require a similar mindset.
Lean Six-Sigma, TQM and Process Improvement will create efficiencies and reduce cycle time, of that there is no doubt.
But these improvement programs are not sustainable, if they are temporary surges in cost reduction and in the absence of a whole systems perspective create downstream costs and hidden costs due to regrettable losses of mission-critical talent and employee engagement issues for those who are not involved directly in the improvement teams.
The change needs to pull together the whole system or it will be a short term illusion.
Lean Startup and Design Thinking are two complementary principles that can be used in the process of creating and building new businesses, products or services. These principles are widely used in large and small organizations. But what is the difference, and when should you use each?
Before we dive into that, let me first explain both principles.
For businesses today, the requirement to be able to change is integral. Continuous Improvement (CI) can be a means of ensuring your organisation is keeping up-to-date with the world around them. Although the challenges are numerous, CI can be successful if organisations consider the following 4 recommendations:
Many organisations embarking on an enterprise-wide transformation to agile working, struggle to sustain or scale the benefits they initially achieve. The journey towards agility is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires continued commitment, at all levels of the organisation, to ensure agile ways of working stick.
The first six to 12 months of introducing agile throughout an organisation will result in visible improvements in speed to market, productivity, efficiency and employee engagement.
‘Well,' I said. ‘Eventually, the blob will get you. It’s important to run as fast as you can in the early days of your transformation, because organisations have an in-built protection mechanism; the ability to morph into a blob of slime that will eventually catch up with you, surround you in slime and kill you off’.
To remain competitive in the modern era, staying still and simply functioning is practically prehistoric. Businesses must be efficient and ahead of the curve, which can be done in a number of ways, one of which is through implementing a culture of Continuous Improvement (CI). Firms are competitive, not by their product/service, location or process, but by what it knows about how it behaves in various situations and understanding how to improve the efficiency of this behaviour. CI provides this knowledge and allows an organisation to constantly act on this knowledge.
Large corporates are, at best, 30% efficient in delivering change. From launching a loan product to landing a new bakery range on a supermarket shelf, big organisations are failing to deliver change at pace and realise value from it.
One leading credit card provider told us they’d last delivered a major new product eight years ago. ‘We were the leader in the market,' said the project manager. 'However, others have caught up and now we’re struggling to respond.’
'It takes us two years to do what our competitors can do in two months.' MD - FTSE100 organisation