Monthly Archives: April 2013
Announcing the 2013 Lean Development Excellence Benchmark Survey
Please accept my personal invitation to you to participate in the 2013 Lean Development Excellence Benchmark Survey.
Are you curious about how lean can be leveraged to improve development in your organization?
Would you like to connect with others who are on their own lean development journey?
Are you attempting to improve your culture in the area of lean development?
Are you committed to making your development program better?
Have you ever wondered where your organization rates on lean development compared to others?
Can your organization be a teacher of lean development to others?
Please accept my offer to participate in this survey. This is a rare opportunity to compare your organization to others who are on their own lean development journey.
The following areas of are included in the survey:
Stake Holder Collaboration
Optimization of Value
Product and Process Accountability
Senior Management Support
Knowledge and Innovation Value Streams
Pace of Innovation
Strategic Planning and Direction Setting
Participation is free. Your own company’s results will be shared with you at no charge. The full results and detailed comparisons of your organization with respect to others will be compiled and offered for purchase. However, the results and comparisons across all participants will be shared and included at no charge with your attendance to the Huthwaite ummit on Mackinac Islansd in August 13-15, 2013
How it works:
The survey will be sent to you and filled out by you for your organization. This is a great opportunity to get a small team together to discuss your ratings. Discuss each question and fill it out together.
The results of your assessment will be reviewed and by lean development experts Bart Huthwaite and Timothy Schipper.
The survey will also include a 30 minute teleconference interview with either Bart or Tim to review your answers and further discuss the ratings and responses.
Once all participants have completed their assessment, the results will be compiled. The name and information of your organization will only be seen within your company, and your identity will be anonymous to the other participants. The survey results will merely indicate from which industry the results were compiled. (Bart and Tim will sign an IDA or non-disclosure agreement upon request). We will only share your information with your permission.
Sign-up soon, the assessment will only be run during the month of May and June. So start today.
Throw out an idea … How to place an overview of design for lean manufacturing on Wikipedia?
Learn a new skill … How can you learn the skills to be a Wikipedia contributor and editor? This took some learning about Wikipedia editing and the nature of writing with a neutral point of view (or NPOV).
Get some help from friends … How to enlist the help of others in editing and create a meaningful entry? Thank you to the Huthwaite Institute who stayed with the long editing process.
Edit, Edit, and Edit again … How many edits might it take? The peer-editing process on Wikipedia is fairly unique. It was difficult to find an editor who understood the process and could guide us through the maze of Wikipedia editing. So, a special thank you goes to Cullen (not his real name), who helped us through the process. After many back and forth sessions and many hours of revisions … Lean Design is now on Wikipedia.
A Wikipedia entry on design for lean manufacturing without any qualifying statements on the entry!
Here is the first paragraph:
Design for lean manufacturing
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Design for lean manufacturing is a process for applying lean concepts to the design phase of a system, such as a complex product or process. The term describes methods of design in lean manufacturing companies as part of the study of Japanese industry by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the time of the study, the Japanese automakers were outperforming the American counterparts in speed, resources used in design, and design quality. Conventional mass-production design focuses primarily on product functions and manufacturing costs; however,design for lean manufacturing systematically widens the design equation to include all factors that will determine a product’s success across its entire value stream and life-cycle. One goal is to reduce waste and maximize value, and other goals include improving the quality of the design and the reducing the time to achieve the final solution. The method has been used in architecture, healthcare, product development, processes design, information technology systems, and even to create lean business models. It relies on the definition and optimization of values coupled with the prevention of wastes before they enter the system. Design for lean manufacturing is system design.
Please proceed to Wikipedia to read the rest of the entry. Enjoy the reading, and let us know how we could make the Wikipedia more accurate and complete. Note: Others have already contributed and helped to make the entry more accurate.
What is LEAN Development?
Several people recently asked me independent from each other, “What is lean development all about?” And as I read, study, and explore the topic, the word system keeps coming to the forefront of my brain. And the word system informs the definition of lean development.
Lean development is the application of a set of methods and techniques that work together to create a system that optimizes value and reduces wastes across the entire life cycle of the system.
So if that is the definition, what images come to mind?
First of all, we need to think of things as systems. The automobile with all of its components is a system. It is made up of multiple subsystems from the engine, the transmission, the steering, braking, environmental comfort, computer, etc. All of the systems have to work together. A design process that is lean seeks to create a system that provides the most value with the least amount of waste. Value can be measured by attributes such as affordability or maintainability. Wastes can be measured by things that detract from the value such as complexity or danger. For instance, complexity often makes the auto less maintainable, or at the least more costly to maintain. Designs that provide the most value with the smallest amount of wastes built into them are the most desirable. And for a complex system like an automobile, each sub-system must also be optimized for value and minimized for waste.
The automobile is a product system. But there are many systems. A hospital is a system. A building is a system. A business is a system. The manufacturing process is a system. Even your finances are a system. The list goes on and on.
Other images that comes to mind are systems from nature. Nature is filled with systems. A tree is a system. Our bodies are a system. A lake or stream is a system. A habitat is a system. A collection of animals is a system. When multiples of these come together, we give them a special name – an ecosystem. In the grand design of nature, our creator placed us in an amazing set of systems. Everything from the solar system we live in, to this planet, to the ground we use to create food, to our communities; each is a system that provides infinite possibilities and usefulness. And each system has a very optimized design. So some of the best examples of designs that are lean come from nature. And, nature’s efficient systems can be placed in our own man-made designs.
Second, lean development seeks to optimize the value in the system. Values are the things that the end user or customer needs or wants. Lean development also utilizes an integrated product team to find best ways to increase the values in the system. Lean development also thinks about the value of the system over its entire life, from beginning to end, from creation to disposal and recycled into something new. In the ideal system, everything works together. If things are not working together, or competing with each other, then the system breaks down. If we think of our bodies in this way, we all know that all of the parts of the system must work together. If any individual part of our bodies isn’t working, well the whole system fails. We can echo the psalmist who said, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Third, lean development seeks to minimize the wastes that are built into the system, or might creep into the system overtime. Some wastes start out in the system. Computer systems might have software bugs or viruses. Once they enter the system, or are exposed, they can create a lot of havoc. The automobile might have a poor quality part in a critical system that causes the whole system to fail.
As practitioners of the discipline of Lean Development, we are attempting to create Lean Products and Processes through the application of lean thinking. We do that through a series of tools and techniques. Some of them borrowed from lean manufacturing, and others from various design disciplines. But, the tools are a means to an end. The ultimate goal of lean development is to create the best system possible.
Here is an example to bring it all together:
The headlights in the VW Beetle (or call it the headlight system) is not a design that follows lean principles. The headlights stay on at all times, which is a great safety feature that probably saves lives (value), but the replacement of the bulb is very complex because the whole headlight system must be removed to replace the bulb which is very difficult to do (waste). On one side, the battery must be removed to access the headlight canister (complexity). My regular mechanic won’t even touch the thing, and I have to take it to the dealer who charges a fair amount (waste) to replace the bulb which costs just a few dollars. Since the replacement now requires an appointment at the dealer, the repair is delayed (waste). The fact that the headlights stay on all the time is a great feature (value), but the fact that the bulbs have to be changed more often at a higher cost is a huge annoyance (waste over the entire life cycle). Overall, the increased safety is still worth the hassle and cost, but with a little more attention to designing out the wastes, the team of engineers (obviously not an integrated product team) could have created a design that is lean from the start.
The year was 2005. A large mid-west manufacturer was attempting to implement a large ERP system. The first implementations were in the order entry and finance sections of the company. Things moved along fairly smoothly, but then the company attempted the first manufacturing plant, converting the old legacy system into the new ERP system, SAP (from the German company … Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte).
The first manufacturing plant took 20 months from start to finish and followed traditional phase gate or a waterfall system of development in which each phase had to be completed before the next could start. In the 20-month SAP implementation for the plant, the team spent nearly 3 months gathering requirements prior to starting the development and then, and only then, embark on a massive customization of the system. This meant that no custom code linking the SAP system to other business systems was written until the requirements phase was completed.
When the system was unveiled, 16 month after the start of the project, the users in the plant immediately pointed out that it did not work the way they thought it would, and it did not meet all of their business needs. IT, for their part, insisted they had built the system exactly as the users told them it should work at the requirements gathering stage.
Needless to say, the management team responsible for the implementation of this system was not pleased. Nearly a dozen plants needed to be converted to SAP, and at 20 months each, the entire project would have taken a decade.
Exit waterfall development. Enter lean development techniques for IT systems.
When the teams looked back on the process and analyzed the approach (using value stream mapping techniques), they found that their efforts contained as much as 80% rework because, although the initial requirements were very thorough, they had not anticipated all of the discoveries that were made later in the process. And because the users were not consulted during development, many nuances of their process and techniques were not accounted for in the new SAP system.
The failure of traditional techniques triggers the motivation for change and lean development techniques.
Lean development principles were brought in and taught to the team. Rapid learning Ccycles were used to break the large project into smaller learning events. At the start of each learning cycle, the teams discussed what they needed to learn, and set-out to work on just that set of learning. Users were included in these events as well, thus sharing new requirements as the learning cycles progressed. In each learning cycle, testing and user reviews helped the teams build the system module by module.
Lean development breaks down large projects into smaller pieces.
The whole project was chunked into a half-dozen rapid learning events. Each one was 30 days or less. This let the team create lean flow within the team, and it reduced flow interruptions.
At the end of each learning event, the knowledge gained was reviewed with the whole team and with management. The sharing of knowledge is another important element of lean development.
Lean development practices knowledge capture and sharing.
From the initial failure of SAP development, the team quickly recovered by apply lean principles for the design. They implemented the next plant in a little over 8 months, cutting the time by more than 50%.
Lean development efforts typically finish in 50% less time with improved quality.
The team was complimented on their success, and lean development quickly become the standard for all the subsequent plant SAP implementations. As the team moved on, they standardized on the design methods for IT development.
You can read the whole story, and many others, in the book Innovative Lean Development on Kindle or in book form. Or, better yet, ask us to talk in person to your IT organization about lean techniques in software and system development.