You should have received The Toyota Way Fieldbook via Amazon/Kindle. If you do not have a Kindle, I am sure you can read it through some other App. If not return it for credit and buy the book. This is important for the remainder of the workshop. I have read over 100 Lean books and I still refer to this one time and time again. Not sure, I would recommend the regular Toyota Way book. But if I had to choose only one Lean book – this Fieldbook would be it.

Standardizing your work provides opportunity to spread it within your organization and make it easier for customers to go deeper into your organization for knowledge sharing. This provides a flood of new ideas for innovation and co-creation opportunities. But even more importantly it secures a vendor-customer relationship or partnership that is difficult for others to replicate.

The amount of Standard Work that you decide for your teams will differ from organization to organization and from team to team. Standard Work should only encompass part of your time. Knowledge workers should have a a fair amount of slack time built into their process, i.e. Google, 3M. On the other hand, just about every person wants some form of standard work. Most enjoy doing tasks that they are comfortable with and it gives them a sense of accomplishment when completed.

A perspective on Standard Work from Steve Bell (Steve and his partner Mike Orzen later published Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation):

But when you get right down to it the principles of Lean are the same. It’s about collaborative learning. It’s about speed. It’s about quality. It’s about waste reduction. Those basic principles are the same.

What he has concluded and what I have concluded is you need to create a framework for the people who are actually doing the work to come together, figure out what the work is to be done. Where’s the value? Where’s the waste? And iteratively, through experiments, find ways to do it better and better. Each time you learn. You go through a cycle of learning. You improve the process and at the same time you understand more about the subtleties about the process and that’s where the paradox of Lean emerges. As you’re standardizing something you’re also gaining insights into it which leads to creativity and innovation.

Many people react to standard work thinking that you’re just turning people into robots. What you’re actually doing is you’re helping people, removing the drudgery and the repetitiveness from the work, making the work flow more smoothly and quickly, which frees up peoples valuable time and energy to figure out ways to do the work better and to do new kinds of work.

I think that’s the real magic of Lean whether it’s in IT or any other industry. When you see a team really get it and start to think and act like a team with a focus on the customer and they own the product, they own the process, they own their relationship with the customer, then the role of management isn’t so much a directive role or a controlling role but the role of management is to help remove the obstacles in the teams way. That’s when you have high performance, self directing teams that really start to energize the company. When that happens that’s where the momentum comes from.

An interview with Dr. Michael Balle discussing standards and how they apply specifically to an Engineering Team.

Go to the next page; SDCA/Train