Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tackling LEAN change week 1

Well I have finished my first week on a two month initiative to help a very large conservative organization starts it's journey to becoming a solution factory base on lean principles.

First of all I want to thank the folks on the agile lean yahoo group for some great advice and feedback.

I have had a chance to talk to the CIO and get a sense of what he means by a solution factory.
-clear visibility around how things are being done and progress (ie the catwalk over the factory floor)
-flexible assembly lines where parts of the
supply chain can be interconnected in diffrerent ways to provide value
-an environment where workers can be proud of the work they do, and actually want to be more productive.

I also had an opportunity to discuss lean with the architecture group. This was a great conversation. The group had a keen awareness of how command and control and throwing things over the wall were not working, we had a great discussion on lean IT governance ( ala Scott Ambler and Perr Kroll. The architects really got it, and were generally enthusiastic to try to break down the wall between architecture and delivery.

I asked the architects to give their opinions on how we should proceed building a vision and roadmap by asking them to ask wether they leaned to the left or right on the following

visionary <*----> pragmatic
educational <*-----> self learning
e2e value stream <---*-> IT perspective
planning <-*---> doing

I was quite surprised about the almost unanimous desire for creating an ideal state. I think the ideal state is important, it motivates and energizes people to push beyond the possible and truly excel.

I percieved the really strong desire for education over self teaching as a general apprehension over what lean would mean to the organization, it's clear to me that people here are looking for answers, I agree that education from the outside is crucial, but I hope I can hammer home the concept that people need to get into a self learning mode. (baby steps)

I'm fairly concerned around the IT focus versus end to end value. The rational given is that the IT group already knows the problems of the business and that the IT group would like to get it's house in order before approaching the business with their desire to go in a lean direction. My major concern is that the idea that "IT already knows" is a root causes of IT-business mis-alignmnent. I'm also concerned that some leadership is emphasizing efficiency over effectiveness.

That being said I think the evidence I've collected so far signifies a genuine desire to provide better value to there cumstomers, a hunger for better collaboration, and a real understanding that it will be the people on the shop floor that will make this successful.

That's it until next week.

Location:Brock Ave,Toronto,Canada

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