Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Preparation is better than planning: Where I see the convergence of Lean and SCRUM

One aspect in Lean I have come to appreciate is the ability to be prepared or in an ever "on" state of readiness.

May be, adopting SCRUM model for projects, it was easier for me to relate it this way. One hall mark of agile approach is to see planning as a flexible and an on-going calibration of tasks and schedules instead of a initiation or an initial hand over document expected to be met by teams.

Again to reiterate plans are indeed a part in Agile.

While SCRUM might enable teams to work on flexible plans in projects, Lean pushes the envelope for teams in daily and recurring operations. The best methods of Lean are always and essentially simple.

The hard work is in the rigor of implementation. Reviewing standard work conditions daily, adhering to the tasks as prioritized and planned, adjusting plans while not compromising on essential focus areas as per the target condition definition are critical elements of preparation for any change in plans.

Such teams then, do not wait for plans. They know that they would anyways plan when work comes their way. And until then, they will plan to pull in the work they need.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Unsolicited advice

While ideas and way forward can come for unsolicited advice, it often goes unheeded and resisted when offered one without asking for it. While merits may be there, it will do better to establish and gauge the context before offering one.

As managers or in a role who are expected to coach continuously, the hard work is to wait patiently till the context is established or nudge constantly till the direction is aligned, and the offer is made in a capacity of expectation or future improvement.

Continuous Improvement is one such context. As a team in continuous improvement , any advice can be unsolicited yet can never be washed away unheeded. It may not be acted upon but definitely not without giving it a try or thought.

Isnt that we want when we offer ideas/suggestions/advice ?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If Children can, Why can't we: Introduction to Standard Work in Lean

If Children can study, play, enjoy, socialize and have fun, how come we miss them when we are the most empowered and responsible lot ? The dawn for me came with understanding of "Standard Work" that Lean culture practitioners must have realized long back.

Children and particularly students have a great exposure to standard work throughout the years of their study. When they are ready to step in to corporate world, the "break-free" mentality takes a toll on the essential virtue that landed them their most valuable prize: Independent and a self managed life.

The ability to prioritize, schedule and work through a calendar with:   
    1. Enough variations (subjects, sports and socialize),
    2. Adapt to changes easily (studies, exams, holidays) 
    3. Continous shift to higher classes of learning and levels(improvement in value and promotions)
    4. Allocate time for personal upliftments  (Arts, Hobbies and Entertainment)
And thus, enjoy a fulfillment of accomplishment, attention and happiness

We as a child and a teen in college had this wonderful practice and model which is suddenly conflicted with endurance to sustain it when faced with the turmoils of learning on-the-job, handling personal distractions with conscious responsibilities that often become a source of conflicting priorities.

Looking at Standard work as something we are used to as a child might bring in a relief to work, play and enjoy a balanced life while building a successful professional career.

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