Write, Stash, and Wipe. A Reuse Plan.

I love productivity hacks. Last year, at about this time, I retired one of my paper notebooks used for tracking notes and to-dos. I never liked putting old notebooks in drawers or on shelves (clutter). I dislike even more discarding old notebooks (waste).  So I researched a few options for Read More …

Paying technical debt

The term Technical Debt was originally used in the early 1990s by Ward Cunningham as a metaphor describing software development practices. Over the last three decades, the term has taken on a broader meaner and can now refer to technology practices in architecture, coding, testing, operations, and even security. While Read More …

Planting organizational seeds for a sustainable future

I’m in the process of repositioning to a new role within the same company. I’ve done this in the past, but never viewed the transition through a lean lens.  When this happened early in my career, I looked forward to the new job without giving thoughtful consideration to the previous Read More …

Creating culture with remote teams

“What are ways you are building a ‘lean culture’ with remote team members?” I posted this question on Twitter and a LinkedIn group because during the 25 years of my professional career, I’ve seen working from home (telecommuting as we used to call it) go from a special once-per-week privilege Read More …

Creating a metric – value add or mission?

Question: Should metrics on a visual management board or report be something that measures progress on only value-add activities? Or is it OK to track metrics on items that may be essential non-value added, but directly support the mission of the organization? I started wrestling with this question while trying Read More …

Straight Talk for Documenting Standard Work

Creating documentation is arguably the most dreaded task for working professionals. Not many people like to document why a program or procedure exist or how the pieces of a program fit together to make a working application. For those who do create documentation of procedures, standards, or architecture, maintaining the Read More …

Root Cause Analysis Playbook

One of the staples of our Lean journey is a monthly root cause analysis (RCA) effort. The results of the team standard have surpassed my expectations, and I anticipate more potential positive results as we mature our approach. Our playbook is simple to execute, but requires disciplined execution and adherence Read More …

Lean Visual Management Board – What I’ve learned so far

Last year we started using a visual management board to get a better understanding of the flow of work in our IT department. The board, now in version 2 and completely electronic, has become the staple of our weekly team leader meetings. With continued attention and more maturity in lean Read More …

Lean Thinking – Virtual Circles

Stand inside a circle. During skills training last month, I viewed a series of videos from the Gemba Academy on the seven wastes in business and processes.  The material introduced the chalk circle teaching method of Taiichi Ohno. Draw a circle near an area to observe and stand in the Read More …

Learning from customer service experiences

I’m documenting some customer service experiences from the last two weeks. They had an impact on my actions and they serve as a good reminder of reflection for customer service actions that we provide to others. People do notice words, attitudes, and body language. While on vacation at a location Read More …

More or Less?

Truth. There will always be more work to do than is possible to accomplish by my team. Think more. Whine less. Earlier this year I penned some thoughts about thinking through resource contention, Do more with what you have!, because I was looking for better ways to address resource contention Read More …

JIT Action Items for the Office Worker

Just in time. Picture this. You are reviewing a list of tasks that was assigned to colleagues in your business. You remind one of the task owners their action item is due tomorrow and they respond, “I have it on my list, but I’m operating just-in-time.” This happened to me Read More …

Mapping software development to Lean IT.

The right process will produce the right results. A core concept of the Toyota Production System is the right process will produce the right results. The “right process”. What exactly is that? Software development practitioners spend entire careers in search of it. Everyone has ideas and rationale to support various Read More …

Visual Management Board for Lean IT

A note from my Lean journey A few years ago I was introduced to Lean concepts and principles at work. After several months of studying the topic I realized that many of my professional activities for both managing processes and people already mapped to some of the core components of Read More …