Getting Work to Flow
The simplest way I have found to describe Lean is “getting value to flow and to permanently remove obstacles to flow”. In itself, flow is quite simple…
… how does work arrive, who does it go to, what happens when it is there, how long does it take, where does it go next ?
It gets complicated because business often has created highly specialised, silo worlds where the flow of value isn’t easy to trace.
Complicated, but not impossible and yes, you can start within a team….showing where they fit in the overall value stream/ flow of value, showing how their work arrives and what happens when it is being processed – who does it go to, who do they wait for
The starting point is as always, to make it visible!
When I visit a team’s board I see if I can answer the following questions:
- Can I see waiting queues ?
- Do individual members of the team have a queue of ready work that they can pull from ?
- How do team members show that they are blocked and unable to continue ?
Until the visualisation (and so the team) can answer these questions avoid starting with the snazzy stuff, like measuring throughout.
If you can’t see it you can’t measure it!
What are your key elements in exposing flow and starting to understand what is blocking it ?