The dynamic of changes in our life is striking. The environment and circumstances force us to learn to be adaptive and be able to transform. This applies not only to each of us personally but also to companies, including all their business processes.
Time and resources are vital for achieving results, and the main goal is to cut off all unnecessary things, increase efficiency and get results.
Lean is an approach that allows you to increase the value of the final product/services and remove all unnecessary things on your way.
Note that originally it was a unique production system of Toyota, known as Lean Manufacturing. The realities of each sphere leave their mark. There are many articles and publications about the approach. I will share what this means for our company and, in general, how it works in IT.
What is Lean for us? 4 key points
1. Defining customer value in our product, services, and processes. Customer focus is reaching a new level. We do not create value in general for everything that we can develop but focus specifically on the client’s request.
2. We remove everything that does not create value. These are losses and investments to nowhere, they increase the cost, duration of operations and reduce the quality of the final product.
3. We work to ensure that any incorrect process state is visually traceable, as well as our progress in the value stream.
4. Leadership among employees.
Building a culture of continuous improvement in teams, personal development and initiative are sometimes difficult, but the results are worth it.
Everything sounds great, but the logical question after these 4 points is how to implement them? For this, we have chosen 2 tools: Kaizen and 5S.
Lean Tools: Kaizen
Before sharing what we are implementing in the company, very briefly about what Kaizen is in general.
Kaizen is a concept in philosophy, theory, and practice of management. Objective: to encourage employees to suggest improvements and implement them.
Where Kaizen works in practice:
1. Interaction with customers: fast response rate + specific quality of support.
2. Personal discipline.
3. Improved morale: teambuilding, recognition, and ideas accumulating.
4. Suggestions for improvement: It is important that employees are proactive and able to share their ideas, this creates engagement and a sense of personal responsibility. A special form is created for such proposals.
Lean tools: 5S
5S is a technology for creating an efficient workplace: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain.
I will outline the essence of each point:
1. Sort: we separate the necessary (materials, documents, frameworks) from the unnecessary. Remove the last.
2. Set in order: everything you need should be accessible.
3. Shine: I will not even dwell on this point: everyone knows that order at workplace is the order in thoughts.
4.Standardize: Keeping it neat by doing the first three S on a regular basis.
5. Sustain: Making all of the above a habit and improve.
What have I taken for myself and the company, what are the results?
- Ruthlessly cutting off anything that doesn’t add value. For example, 5 laps of specs, a long wait for a response, documenting assumptions, etc.
- A minimum of meetings, but maximum efficiency of discussions.
- Each other’s time is a value. If you really want to share something irrelevant, make a note to yourself, and at the end of the meeting, if you are still “burning” with this idea, share it.
- NO multitasking, we are “here and now”.
- Multitasking kills the quality and speed of tasks.
- Fast release cycle.
- Formation of teams for the purpose. Moreover, the team is a single whole.
- And how this happens is a topic for a separate article;)
As a result, I would like to give an example of the transformations that are currently taking place in Telesens.
Either way, I would like to emphasize that Lean is only one of the tools, a part of our process of development and change.
There are no limits for optimization, it’s a way of thinking and building workflows. Even the smallest steps to implement Lean, its elements, or Kaizen philosophy will give you a feel for the result. And the best part is that this experience can be applied to any process in any business and even become part of your personal philosophy of life.
Create more value, less fuss!