Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jim Womack and Lean Management

Jim Womack and the The Lean Enterprise Institute definitely lead the way in the development of a common language for recognized Lean methods. The live video seminar yesterday, “Jim Womack on Lean Management: A Live Event”, took the Lean language a big step forward. Now those of us diligently working to develop methods for integrating Lean management with the technical side of Lean have specific terms to help us in our work. I am very grateful for the excellent job the Lean Enterprise Institute does in leading the Lean community.
I am excited about how well Systemental (my company) is positioned to help others quickly find the best approach to success for their Lean transformation. In the video seminar today Mr. Womack described how he hoped methods could be developed to enable Line managers to architect Lean business processes. Systemental has been developing and refining methods dedicated to this purpose for nearly 10 years. Along the way our methods have gotten stronger and more complete, due in large part to the work of the LEI. For instance LEI publications like Pascal Dennis’s “Getting the Right Things Done” and more recently John Shook’s “Managing to Learn” have, and will continue to help us strengthen our work.
When I look back over the last 10 years, what is most satisfying to me is how the participants of the cross-functional problem solving teams at our client organizations have responded so positively to our special approach.  Their vast line management knowledge and experience fuels the Lean process architecture engine to keep it running in high gear all of the way from the inception of a project to the delivery of “brilliant Lean business processes” that represent a major change and improvement.  Their input, feedback and dedication to the testing process designs as they are developed is what leads to a precision result. On these projects, as soon as the participants realize the leaders of the change are fully equipped to truly incorporate the team's collaborative input into the evolving process design, these people consistently demonstrate extraordinary supportive behaviors. Their understanding of the need to establish agreement before moving from one design phase to the next is innate and they are ready to strike an agreement even when compromise is necessary.  Certainly near the front-lines we have found people are hungry for this kind of horizontal problem solving.
Mr. Womack and his colleagues at the Lean Enterprise Institute continue to pave the for spreading  the benefits of Lean farther and wider. My colleagues and I couldn’t appreciate their efforts more.

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