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Paul DeLong

Customer Success Manager

Paul is the “the best part of training,” according to Playbook's clients. Paul hones his lean and agile skills mountain biking where no man has gone before!

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3 Tips for a Successful Lean Transformation

Paul DeLong- 06/23/16 04:41 PM

Whether you’re trying to quit biting your nails, snacking late at night, or transforming your culture to Lean, change is tough. For the latter it takes a combination of implementing the right practices with the right tools, and the right project team--all at the right time. However when the benefits outweigh the costs, the effort involved in Lean transformation is worth it.

So now that you've decided to go Lean, what do you need to put in place to ensure the transformation will be a success?

When you start the Lean fire, you need to ensure the firebed is well prepared to accept the spark that will ignite the team, and continue to fuel the transition over time.  Management, project management and the project team all need to be primed and ready to go!

Importantly, after the initial implementation, your work isn’t finished. A commitment to continuous improvement is critical to continue to fuel the flames of Lean.

Three tips for successful Lean transformation

At Playbook we’ve worked with hundreds of companies to implement Lean project management practices and Playbook’s visual project management software.  Here are some tips for ensuring your transition is a success.

      1. One team 

        In order to ensure a successful Lean transformation, the three pilars: management, project management and the project team must be aligned.  One team, aligned with the same goals, brings credibility and momentum to the transition.

      2. Identify Lean stewards who are passionate about Lean. They will continue to fuel the fire.

        Adoption of any tool and process takes commitment and an open mind to evolve and grow.  We find that without people that are passionate about the process, teams can become complacent.  Although anyone can take on the role of Lean steward, we have found transformation works best when the project management office owns the process and the tool. With project management owning the process, organizations can aim for continuous improvement and a consistent process across functional teams.

      3. Rinse and repeat, train and re-train

        A big part of implementing Lean is simply a commitment to a new way of working.  The concepts and principles are straightforward. However, like adopting a new exercise routine, changing behaviors is hard. It’s easy to fall back into old ways like skipping planning meetings to fight fires, taking on too much work and multitasking.  

As such, one round of training during the honeymoon period usually isn’t enough. Teams change and skill levels vary.  Good teams become great teams with good, consistent coaching and mentoring. This helps everyone see how the new process is benefiting them personally, as well as the organization. This personal connection is crucial to keep management, project management and the project team motivated.  

Our most successful clients undertake training and re-training on a regular basis. As discussed in a previous post, behavior change comes from practicing until an activity becomes a habit. 

What's the payoff?

When Playbook Lean methods and tools are working smoothly, it makes priorities so clear that the entire team (management, project management and project team) is primed for success.  All have a similar end goal - to launch a successful, profitable project! Even though everyone's experience is different, they have symbiotic benefits.  

  1.  Management gets projects done sooner and project teams are happier and more innovative.
  2. Team members’ priorities are so clear (to the entire team), that they are able to focus and do great work.
  3. Project management gets process and tools that work and commitment from the top-down, and the bottom-up... so they can continue to refine what they are doing and deliver projects effectively and efficiently.

It's a win-win-win!

Here's what one of our customers had to say about the benefit of Playbook to the project.

“Team members are constantly bombarded by requests to get work done. Team members view competing tasks as ‘standing abreast’ – all are equal importance, and a day should be divided up equally working on each one so none feel neglected. Even if they’re not working on them directly, they think about them while working on a different task.
The ‘pull’ method of work provided by Playbook automatically gives the team (including management and project management) a clear priority queue, allowing a team member to sit down, look at the backlog, and get cracking without being distracted by tasks of lesser importance that are on their plate but don’t need chewing right away.
1- and 2-hour tasks that don’t need attention until next week, don’t clog a person’s mind while they crunch through that important 3-day design task that is critical for the end of the week.”                                 
                                   - Adam Latour, Director, Airframe Engineering, PrecisionHawk

Convinced?  Learn more about Playbook Lean principles and Lean visual management software by watching the on demand demonstration video.


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