This is a topical walk-over of the first portion of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean by Andy Carlino. It is the perfect book for any organization wanting to introduce lean principles to their people. It doesn’t bog down in the mire of data and formulas like so many others.
This is an extremely quick glean of highlighted phrases throughout the first section. The book is very easy to read. It will change your organization.
Understand the fundamentals.
Copycats never achieve success.
Lean must be internalized.
Changed beliefs drive behavior.
Changing only tools and policies is ineffective.
Employee’s beliefs cannot be changed by force.
Employee beliefs must be lead into alignment with company belief.
These principles provide direction.
Most managers believe they already understand the company’s reality and make decisions a priori.
Observation is about how to understand the current reality.
Subsequent principles are adopted more easily when an organization is in sync through observation.
It develops a sense of how work is done, and why it is done a certain way.
Learn how to observe and understand.
Understand and develop value stream mapping.
See the activities, connections, and flows.
Understand that activities are the steps taken, and that produce results.
Connections are paired functions between internal customer and supplier.
The customer wants something.
The supplier provides it.
Both customer and supplier are responsible.
There should be only one path for request and response in paired function connections.
Flows are paths taken by material, information, and people.
The flow bridges the white space between processes.
It must not cause waste.
It should have only one standardized path.
Waste elimination should be the every day thought—a daily test.
Waste is defined in:
These are the definers of the view into the company’s current reality.
These definers are the tools to organize, identify, and eliminate waste.
People should be utilized to their full potential.
All activity must add value that the end customer wants, that develops the product, and that contributes to the product being right the first time.
Value added activity becomes untouchable. It may only be explored and refined for waste elimination.
Agreement is a foundation for standardization.
It defines how activity is performed.
How an activity is performed must be in high agreement among those involved in those processes.
A common way or process must take priority over an individual’s own way.
Failure to focus on how to perform an activity causes ambiguity and disconnects paired functions.
Problem solving must be seen as opportunity.
The belief system must change to expose and turn problems into tools.
Dig deeper into problems. Surface them immediately. Design work to reveal them. All problems are equally valuable tools.
Contain problems and ask why until there is no why to ask. Attribute a problem to their relevant activity, connection, and flow.
Validate each ‘why’ answer.
This must be embedded to capture root causes.
Learning holds lean principles together.
Learning isn’t only information. Information does not produce results.
Being right is only right when it is effective.
Improvements through experimentation need to be verified. Good experimentation revolves around a good hypothesis.
Ideas must be tested quickly and cheaply. Learn about a process to be able to verify it. Implement it into action and standardize the solution.
Develop a learning environment through reflection and apply it to sequential events.
Base processes on real experience, not theory.
Remove the barriers of fear and comfort zone. Expand the learning zone, but establish good boundaries to avoid chaos.
Reflection and experimentation are real work, and need to be priorities in leadership.
Lean principles cannot be engineered without gaining people’s hearts through leadership.
Leadership moves toward the company’s ideal state.
Good leadership teaches. It transfers ideas and skills. It is managements direct responsibility.
Solutions are right when they are right collectively.
Good work-place tension is a source of energy, not stress. It imparts the sense of urgency with a clear path to help and move forward.
Good tension projects a vision of the ideal state, a hatred of the current state, and the skills and actions to move toward the ideal state. The ideal state is a vision of how the company should function. It provides direction. It is individualized for every process, activity, and person. It presents a clear path.
The leader must choose the path and create a way to drive change through consensus and healthy dictatorship.
Learning mostly occurs outside the comfort zone. The lean leader eliminates the comfort zone and directs people to the learning zone, setting clear goals, providing mechanisms, and experimenting purposefully. Fear can be abated in an atmosphere that provides physical safety, emotional safety, and professional safety. The person who takes risks and learns should be rewarded. This activity should be modeled. Leaders should be ‘learner leaders’.
The leader should be in the front of it pulling not pushing. Management buy-in should exhibit a leadership commitment.
The leader’s activity should be standardized. Lean must be applied to management function and convey legitimacy to lean efforts. Leadership is an act.
Mistakes should not be hidden. They should be used for learning.
Lean should be applied across the board, not just to manufacturing. An even order flow must be provided. Suggestions should be all about what is best for the customer, not just manufacturing. Frame everything around adding value that is delivered to the customer with less waste.
Develop lean thinking that applies lean principles and rules as the foundation to apply to any process.
As I said, this article is just a quick passover of points within the first section of a well written book on lean. You won’t find a better way to train and get people on board. You need this book if you’re even thinking about lean.