Posts Tagged 'lean'

Oct 042013
 
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In a recent post I reflected on a ‘built-in’ benefit of my job, as follows: One of the pleasures of being practice director is that I get to know and be known to fascinating folks that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with. If another proof for my reflection was needed, this post welcoming Dr. Murray Cantor is as hard a proof as they come. Here is a researcher and author whose originality and rigor are second to none, and I have the privilege and pleasure of writing about his joining Cutter as a  Contributing Expert! I would hate to steal Murray’s thunder, but would allow myself to hint …

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Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers with Guest Editor Jim Sutton. The heart of a modern enterprise is the knowledge work it does. How to run a factory effectively is fairly well understood these days. But strategy, market positioning, effective services and the like are what make for an effective business. These are all knowledge work activities. Enterprises and knowledge work leaders are moving away from the mass production paradigm and into a systems view using the Lean paradigm. Lean knowledge work emphasizes getting the most from people through appropriate decisionmaking, from executives through workers. This trend is reversing the short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization that many organizations adopted during the financial pressure years spanning 2008 – …

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Development Paradigm Shift over Zombie Apocalypse

Due to the uncertainty of our times, I’m going to make two predictions. First, the world will come to an end on December 21st, exactly as the Mayans DID NOT predict hundreds of years ago. Granted, the Mayan calendar runs out on the 21st but to be quite frank my calendar runs out every year on December 31st and the world has still gone on despite of that dire prediction. The Mayan calendar myth dates back to the mid-1970s, a time when we were seeing Sasquatches in every forest, aliens eviscerating cows in every farm field, and chariots of the gods in the skies of South America. At that time we were also doing prodigious …

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2013: Lean Concepts Such as Strategic Value, Operational Kanban Will Begin to Transform Enterprises

Last year I predicted that enterprises would take an increasingly holistic systems view. I said “they will take an increasingly strategic view of improvement, coordinating change across divisions and functions to achieve a higher overall level of performance. This trend is reversing [of] short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization…[so that] the Enterprise, at the end of 2012, will look more like an effective, coordinated whole and less like a collection of disparate…parts.” This happened as predicted. One of the best indicators of it is the rapid acceleration since that time of “reverse offshoring” or “inshoring.” Reverse offshoring is the return of business from lower labor-cost nations where it had been transferred in previous years. Offshoring is a useful …

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Big, Lean and BSM: Late Night Thoughts on the January 30 "Big Agile" Webinar

Since we announced the forthcoming “Big Agile” webinar (click here for details), I have been exposed to numerous questions and comments about “Big” vis-a-vis “Lean” in the Agile context.  The intensity of some of these discourses was so high that I decided to comment on the subject in advance of the webinar. A lively debate during the webinar is, of course, goodness. In contrast, starting the webinar with a potentially gross misunderstanding as to where we are coming from and where we are heading is not too desirable. In general, “big”, to me, can be “lean”. As a matter of fact, big should be lean as otherwise scale will quite possibly pose a problem. Specifically, …

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The Enterprise Begins to Dance

In 2011, and with increasing speed in 2012, Enterprises are embracing the whole-system view of themselves. This means they will take an increasingly strategic view of improvement, coordinating change across divisions and functions to achieve a higher overall level of performance. This trend is reversing the short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization that many organizations adopted during the financial pressure years 2008 – 2010. In the coming year we will see more of the team mindset (with some “taking one for the team” while others seemingly gain) than the “spread the pain” approach. The most successful organizations will compensate those groups which bear the greater pain so the whole can prosper. The systems-wholistic trend will continue even if …

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A Healthy Skepticism of "Named" Approaches

I see the demand for actual performance results over declarative symbolic victories (e.g., certifications) taking a significant bend upwards. I’ve already begun to see the more forward-thinking companies maturing in their thinking about how they use “named” business, technology, and management concepts, e.g., Scrum, Lean, Kanban, CMMI, ISO 9000, ITIL, COBIT, Devops, etc. There’s growing skepticism in the efficacy of popularized approaches. Executives are less likely to rush into using new ideas just because they’ve heard “the name”. Whether they’re skeptical for the right reasons or not, their cautious approach offers a better have a chance of implementing these “named” initiatives effectively, keeping them off their list of failures – a list that contributes to …

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Kanban has become the hot topic of discussion amongst the IT community since 2010, due to its accelerated rate of adoption and remarkable impact on organizations — from the few-employee company to the tens-of-thousands-employee company — where it has been adopted despite its young age. This fast pace is both good and bad, Kanban is benefiting organizations when adopted properly, but there is a risk of doing it wrong by rushing an adoption without fully understanding it. For example, people frequently ask if Kanban is a methodology for software development, or for software maintenance, or for project management, or a systematic approach to cultural change in the organization, or something else. Another frequent question is …

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2010 saw the rapid growth of quantitatively-driven performance improvement among organizations serious about getting lean and seeing results.  Much of this can be attributed to newer techniques in agile practices such as Kanban for software, and related awareness resulting from these practices. Organizations getting serious about real, measurable improvement take being a learning organization to heart. They  have started to explore blended approaches where they may bring together more than one “named” approach, firmly internalize the salient themes from them and synthesize a custom method that meets their specific business needs.  Some of these organizations have also started to investigate and pursue use of CMMI as a framework for organizing and benchmarking their performance accomplishments. In …

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I see 2011 as the pivotal year in which top and middle management realize they play a crucial role in making Agile and Lean work. While systems thinking gains some more traction in looking at organizations as systems, for many it will remain too vague to be useful. We will see the first signs of simple and pragmatic Agile/Lean practices specifically developed for managers. [Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …“ series, compiled at the Cutter Consortium website.]