Handling Change and Managing Priorities when Implementing Lean

Handling Change and Managing Priorities- Lean Executive Day

When implementing Lean, how can your organization handle change when they are already working at capacity and everything is a priority?

The thoughts and ideas that emerged from the participants of our Lean Executive Day were so valuable we have consolidated the notes for the benefit of our online community.

Create a product family matrix (in offices too) that will identify the value streams; ensure each one has a leader, and with key metrics point to the most important value streams to improve. This will help to prioritize your resources, and get consensus from senior staff.

Make sure to use value stream mapping to plan improvements to ensure the most important issues are prioritized

- Without a value stream approach you may be wasting your improvement resources in areas that will not yield an end-to-end improvement (or even make things worse!)

- A value stream plan also provides important improvement sequencing to make sure the product or service flows smoothly as improvements are made.

- A future state value stream plan is based on critical system design principles (not random brainstorming) that a good consultant will transfer to your improvement teams. (Teaching them to fish – so to speak)

Make sure that there are strong champions in place to ensure that value stream improvements keep moving and have resources

- The champion should break through barriers that are hampering progress

- The champion can assign resources to the improvement teams

- The champion should meet with the improvement leaders at least biweekly to keep things moving

- Champions show the right amount of impatience, and demand great results

Use consultants to grab attention.

-A consultant being on site tends to focus the attention of internal staff, often because the improvements are getting outside scrutiny. Usually this means that improvements happen more to schedule, and get the resources needed.

Make sure that lean is not a second cousin to the overall corporate strategy

- Make sure that lean is embedded in the organization’s key strategies so that it is not an afterthought receiving poor resourcing

- Measure your improvements and make them part of regular reviews. What gets measured gets attention. One good way to do this is with A3’s (one page reports for each improvement)

Make sure that lean is part of leader’s business plans and scorecards

- It is more likely that lean improvements will get the attention and resources needed if they are part of the written goals of the leaders

- Make sure in communication and change planning to continually reinforce how lean improvements are helping to achieve organizational goals

Communicate! Keep lean on everyone’s mind, so that they keep moving forward.

When management (especially middle) or staff is over loaded and can’t handle any further new demands on their time, use a ‘Managing Capacity’ Value Stream Analysis to determine what the management and staff are forced to do day-to-day in order to meet the current pressures and responsibilities.  Sometimes called an Activity Value Analysis, the next step is to design a future state plan that eliminates the non-value and allows them to work on more value – must be done with exec support as part of the strategic deployment charter.