Project Kaizen Is Team Sport
I started working with teams on improving operations in 1985. For 10 years we called this group work SGIAs, small group improvement activities. It was very Deming-like. We would use the seven QC (problem-solving) tools to tackle an issue the group had in the production setting. At that time I struggled to get plant management to let people off the line fearing the loss of productivity. Another ten years later, things have changed on the factory floor. Now, the common sense in production is to help people closest to the work contribute to ongoing improvement.
We have 20 years of ground to cover… Read on >>
CEDAC — Harnessing the Power of Groups
The old adage of “the whole is equal to the sum of the parts,” might work for physics but not for groups. In groups the "sum is always greater than the parts," for in groups you can learn and feed on each others ideas. You can ask people individually to solve a problem and look at the results or put people into a room together, with a large wall chart, give them a powerful tool like CEDAC and watch how each person can build on another person’s ideas.
CEDAC is cause and effect diagram with the addition of cards developed by Dr… Read on >>
A workgroup is just that; a group that does work. More importantly, though, a workgroup is usually a somewhat constant group. The individuals likely know each other, are often get paid by the same entity and have some generally shared objectives. It is one of the most obvious contexts for project kaizen. Examples are easy to see: A research group, a purchasing department, a construction crew, a software team, a maternity ward staff.
Projects happen in this context. Complete a research paper and submit. Find a new vendor for welding rods. Improve on-site safety performance. Add two new features to version… Read on >>
Workgroup Kaizen for Project Teams
Today I'm blogging about Workgroup Kaizen for Project Teams. I'm going to take you behind the scenes for a moment and see what we can learn from a project that a workgroup called the Gang-of-Seven bloggers is involved in. By reading this, you're involved in it too. I'm all about holding people accountable, especially if they claim to be kaizen professionals, so I am taking us to task.
In a very real sense, the Gang of Seven bloggers are a workgroup of this project team of co-blogging on the topic of Kaizen for Project Teams. I was curious… Read on >>
Project Kaizen — The Workgroup
As I mentioned yesterday, the questions get tougher as the week progresses. The topic for Tuesday is the 'Workgroup Kaizen', or what is the role of a sub-group of the overall project team in the effort to kaizen the project.
It strikes me that, for a workgroup or for the whole team, one unique aspect of project optimization is the need for a clear understanding of the value of the cycle time of the project. In a repetitive manufacturing environment, kaizen efforts aimed at reducing cycle time are always welcome. In a project, however, shorter cycle time may be more… Read on >>
Mindfulness and Kaizen Workgroups
Hal Macomber, in his post of yesterday, mentioned mindfulness as a key component of successful kaizen:
"It is also your job to do your tasks with a mindfulness that they can be done better the next time. All it takes is noticing what was difficult, what required effort, what didn't go as expected, and what could provide more value to the customer and your firm."
Mindfulness is critical to any kind of performance improvement or innovation, and I believe it's a huge area of opportunity for many work teams. It's all about looking at something… Read on >>
Project Kaizen: Improving Workgroups
One sub-team I have been a part of is that of "internal lean consultants" that are spread across sites and divisions of a large multi-national manufacturing company. This is a sub-team in the sense that we are doing the same work, training and coaching employees at factory sites in implementing lean. It's a unique team in that we hardly ever see each other beyond our initial "black belt" style lean training. The result is individuals doing individual work. People create their own training materials because the corporate materials "are proprietary" and there's too much risk in sharing them (a ridiculous concept since the company in question hardly invented…) Read on >>
Project Kaizen: Tuesday
Today's entry is making improvements for sub-team members performing the same type of work. In other words, I'll be writing about troubleshooting in the pattern department.
One of the clearest example of this is when I worked for an American ex-patriot who was (is) manufacturing apparel in Ecuador. While I'm ambivalent about this experience -it was both one of the worst and one of the best experiences I've ever had- no one could ever describe her as a sweatshop owner, she had a tremendous amount of social integrity. The plant was located on the same lot as her house. To… Read on >>