Improve

Improve

The Next Generation of Continuous Improvement for Knowledge Work

1st Edition - June 13, 2020

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  • Author: George Ellis
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128097205
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128095195

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Description

Improve: The Next Generation of Continuous Improvement for Knowledge Work presents lean thinking for professionals, those who Peter Drucker called knowledge workers. It translates the brilliant insights from Toyota’s factory floor to the desktops of engineers, marketers, attorneys, accountants, doctors, managers, and all those who "think for a living." The Toyota Production System (TPS) was born a century ago to an almost unknown car maker who today is credited with starting the third wave of the Industrial Revolution. TPS principles, better known as lean thinking or continuous improvement, are simple: increase customer value, cut hidden waste, experiment to learn, and respect others. As simple as they are, they are difficult to apply to the professions, probably because of the misconception that knowledge work is wholly non-repetitive. But much of our everyday work does repeat, and in great volume: approvals, problem-solving, project management, hiring, and prioritization are places where huge waste hides. Eliminate waste and you delight customers and clients, increase financial performance, and grow professional job satisfaction, because less waste means more success and more time for expertise and creativity. This book is a valuable resource for leaders of professional teams who want to improve productivity, quality, and engagement in their organizations.

Key Features

  • Experience the proven benefits of continuous improvement
  • 40%–70% increase in productivity from professionals and experts
  • >85% projects on-time
  • Reduce lead time by 50%–90%
  • Engagement up and voluntary severance cut >50%
  • Dozens of simple visual tools that anyone can implement immediately in their existing framework
  • All tools and techniques applicable to both face-to-face and virtual meetings
  • Easy-to-understand approach: “simplify, engage, experiment”
  • Presented with deep respect for the experts; no “check the box” thinking or overused analogies to the factory floor

Readership

Engineering management, project managers, functional leaders, business process owners

Table of Contents

  • Foreword xiii

    Endorsements xv

    Preface xvii

    Acknowledgments xxi

    1. 30% of what you think is wrong 1

    1.1 A good story 1

    1.2 What problem are we trying to solve? 4

    1.3 Why is it so hard to get anything done around here? 8

    1.4 Six ways this book is unique 11

    1.5 Who is this book for? 12

    1.6 Structure of the book 12

    References 16

    2. A brilliant insight 17

    2.1 Introduction 17

    2.2 The birth of lean thinking 18

    2.3 What is knowledge work? 23

    2.4 Lean knowledge vs. lean manufacturing 26

    2.5 Lean health care 27

    2.6 Lean product development 29

    2.7 The lean startup 31

    2.8 Critical Chain Project Management 33

    2.9 Agile software development 34

    2.10 Personal experience 36

    2.11 Conclusion 37

    References 37

    3. Creating value from knowledge work 41

    3.1 Introduction 41

    3.2 A definition of value 41

    3.3 Who is the customer to knowledge work? 41

    3.4 What is a knowledge organization? 42

    3.5 Value 6¼effort 43

    3.6 Five facets of value 44

    3.7 Conclusion 49

    References 49

    4. The lean equation 51

    4.1 Introduction 51

    4.2 Waste is a villain 51

    4.3 Effort vs value 54

    4.4 Opaque workflows: A place for waste to hide 55

    4.5 Cut waste by trying harder? 57

    4.6 Three ways to expend effort in knowledge work 58

    4.7 Conclusion 63

    References 63

    5. DIMINISH: Recognizing the 8 Wastes of Knowledge Work 65

    5.1 Introduction 65

    5.2 The 8 Wastes of lean manufacturing 65

    5.3 Waste diminishes value 66

    5.4 The 8 Wastes 67

    5.5 Discord 68

    5.6 Information Friction 69

    5.7 More-is-Better Thinking 70

    5.8 Inertia to Change 71

    5.9 No-Win Contests 72

    5.10 Inferior Problem Solving 73

    5.11 Solution Blindness 74

    5.12 Hidden Errors 75

    5.13 Conclusion 76

    References 76

    6. Simplify, engage, and experiment 77

    6.1 Introduction 77

    6.2 Simplify workflows 77

    6.3 Engage the team 83

    6.4 Experiment to learn 90

    6.5 Conclusion: Simplify, engage, and experiment. Repeat 105

    References 106

    7. Reduce Waste #1: Discord 109

    7.1 Introduction 109

    7.2 The engaging power of diverse thought 110

    7.3 Creating highly functional teams 117

    7.4 Ego vs confidence 135

    7.5 Conclusion 137

    References 139

    8. Reduce Waste #2: Information Friction 141

    8.1 Introduction 141

    8.2 Single Point of Truth (SPoT) 142

    8.3 Visualization vs narration 146

    8.4 Visualization tools 150

    8.5 The Canvas View 154

    8.6 Hierarchical visualization 161

    8.7 Conclusion 162

    References 164

    9. Reduce Waste #3: More-is-Better Thinking 165

    9.1 Introduction 165

    9.2 Artifacts vs work 166

    9.3 Measure change with the Action Plan 170

    9.4 Measure traction with the Test Track 185

    9.5 Measure value with the Bowler 189

    9.6 The Success Map 195

    9.7 The helicopter view 199

    9.8 Conclusion 203

    References 205

    10. Reduce Waste #4: Inertia to Change 207

    10.1 Introduction 207

    10.2 Change model 207

    10.3 Growth through challenge 211

    10.4 Change agents, wait-and-see people, and unwilling partners 214

    10.5 Conclusion 216

    References 218

    11. Reduce Waste #5: No-Win Contests 219

    11.1 Introduction 219

    11.2 Excessive multitasking 220

    11.3 Oversubscription: The No-Win Contest collides with More-is-Better

    Thinking 221

    11.4 Escalation: Guarantor of a winnable contest 224

    11.5 Conclusion 226

    References 228

    12. Reduce Waste #6: Inferior Problem Solving 229

    12.1 Introduction 229

    12.2 Formal problem solving 230

    12.3 Step 1: The organizational need 231

    12.4 Step 2: The problem statement 232

    12.5 Step 3: Observation and analysis 234

    12.6 Step 4: Root cause 245

    12.7 Step 5: Countermeasures 245

    12.8 Step 6: Success Map 246

    12.9 Canvas View 246

    12.10 Closing remarks on problem solving 246

    12.11 Conclusion 249

    References 251

    13. Reduce Waste #7: Solution Blindness 253

    13.1 Introduction 253

    13.2 The falsifiable hypothesis and Solution Blindness 255

    13.3 A simple example of Solution Blindness 255

    13.4 Value proposition 257

    13.5 The Lean Startup and the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) 260

    13.6 Conclusion 264

    References 266

    14. Reduce Waste #8: Hidden Errors 269

    14.1 Introduction 269

    14.2 Two mindsets 270

    14.3 Stop-Fix alarms 271

    14.4 Mistake-proofing complements Stop-Fix alarms 282

    14.5 Conclusion 286

    References 286

    15. Standardize workflow 287

    15.1 Introduction 287

    15.2 Building a foundation 287

    15.3 The ground view 292

    15.4 The helicopter view 301

    15.5 Process robustness 306

    15.6 Conclusion 307

    References 309

    16. Workflow improvement cycle 311

    16.1 Introduction 311

    16.2 The 8 Wastes 311

    16.3 A poorly managed cycle of improvement 311

    16.4 Leading improvement cycles 315

    16.5 Conclusion 317

    References 320

    17. Workflow—Checklists and expert rule sets 321

    17.1 Introduction 321

    17.2 The 8 Wastes 323

    17.3 The checklist 324

    17.4 The expert rule set 325

    17.5 A KWIC for implementing a checklist or expert rule set 328

    17.6 Conclusion 328

    References 331

    18. Workflow—Problem Solve-Select 333

    18.1 Introduction 333

    18.2 The 8 Wastes 334

    18.3 The Solve-Select workflow 335

    18.4 The Solve-Select canvas 338

    18.5 Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas (KWIC) to adopt

    Solve-Select workflow 338

    18.6 Conclusion 338

    Reference 343

    19. Workflow—Visual management for initiatives and projects 345

    19.1 Why avoid the Gantt chart? 349

    19.2 The Visual Action Plan 351

    19.3 The regular team stand-up 354

    19.4 A legend for planning and regular execution 355

    19.5 Visual Action Plan execution 356

    19.6 Running plays in Visual Action Plans 359

    19.7 Buffer: Smoothing daily management 363

    19.8 Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas (KWIC) for visual

    management 363

    References 366

    20. Workflow—Visual management with buffer 367

    20.1 Introduction 367

    20.2 The 8 Wastes in unbuffered project schedules 368

    20.3 The fever chart 374

    20.4 The Project Schedule Canvas 376

    20.5 Following a project with the Project Schedule Canvas 383

    20.6 Common patterns in the fever chart 392

    20.7 The portfolio snapshot fever chart 394

    20.8 Creating project management standard work 396

    20.9 Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas (KWIC) for visual

    management with buffer 398

    20.10 Conclusion 398

    References 400

    21. Workflow—Kanban and Kamishibai: Just-In-Time

    Rationalization 401

    21.1 Introduction 401

    21.2 The 8 Wastes 403

    21.3 Ruthless Rationalization 406

    21.4 Just-In-Time Rationalization 406

    21.5 Kanban Task Management 409

    21.6 The Kamishibai board: Smooth flow for regular work 418

    21.7 Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas (KWIC) to adopt

    Just-In-Time Rationalization 421

    21.8 Conclusion 421

    References 425

    22. Workflow—Putting out “fires” 427

    22.1 Introduction 427

    22.2 The 8 Wastes 428

    22.3 A wasteful workflow 429

    22.4 The Ford Eight Disciplines (8D) process 429

    22.5 The 8D Canvas: A modified KWIC 432

    22.6 The histogram: Systematically tracking recurrencewith cause codes 432

    22.7 Conclusion 438

    References 438

    23. Workflow—Visualizing revenue gaps 439

    23.1 Introduction 439

    23.2 Problem solving for revenue gaps 440

    23.3 The 8 Wastes 441

    23.4 The waterfall chart 442

    23.5 Revenue gap Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas 447

    23.6 Conclusion 447

    References 450

    24. Workflow—Leadership review of knowledge work 451

    24.1 Introduction 451

    24.2 The 8 Wastes 452

    24.3 A system of barriers to defects 453

    24.4 Critical thinking 456

    24.5 Critical thinking: Finding the pillars that support value 458

    24.6 Bias and critical thinking 459

    24.7 Unambiguous requirements 461

    24.8 Project review Knowledge Work Improvement Canvas 462

    24.9 Conclusion 465

    References 465

    Index 467

Product details

  • No. of pages: 500
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Butterworth-Heinemann 2020
  • Published: June 13, 2020
  • Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128097205
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128095195

About the Author

George Ellis

George Ellis has worked in product development for 35 years. He first experienced the concept of continuous improvement two decades ago through the Danaher Corporation, one of the world’s foremost lean thinking companies. Danaher transformed itself in the 1980s, modeling its Danaher Business System (DBS) on the Toyota Production System. Ellis has had numerous leadership roles at Danaher, including Vice President of Global Engineering for X-Rite from 2015 to 2018. In 2019, Ellis joined Envista Holdings Corporation, a new spin-off from Danaher for the dental industry, as Vice President of Innovation. There he spends every day immersed in lean knowledge work, deploying, improving, and sustaining new product development workflows in EBS, Envista’s brand of lean knowledge. He also wrote Project Management for Product Development, Control System Design Guide (4th edition), and Observers in Control Systems, all from Elsevier.

Affiliations and Expertise

Vice President Innovation, Envista Business System Office Envista Holdings Corporation, Brea, CA, United States

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