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In business today, the role of a manager is at a crossroads. The traditional command-and-control manager, who’s rooted in positional power, exists in most organizations. However, there’s a growing swell of support for a philosophy that embraces the wide sharing of intent so decision making can be opened up to employees at all levels. Listen to the podcast
The Kanban technique emerged in the late 1940s as Toyota’s reimagined approach to manufacturing and engineering. The system’s highly visual nature allowed teams to communicate more easily on what work needed to be done and when. It also standardized cues and refined processes, which helped to reduce waste and maximize value.
The application of Kanban to knowledge work — influenced not only by the Toyota Production System but also by Lean systems thinking — began as early as 2005. Kanban’s core principles are the same in industries like software development and human resource management as they are in manufacturing: visualize your work, make your policies explicit, limit your work in process, focus on flow, and practice continuous improvement.
Here are five of our most popular Kanban resources to help you get started with your team.
Several of us among LeanKit’s founders and early employees first learned about Lean in the context of logistics and manufacturing. We wrote and implemented software that helped big companies buy and move and track physical goods. So we learned about the Lean concept of reducing waste in terms of inventory, transportation, motion, etc.
It made a ton of sense. I was really proud of the low-inventory, just-in-time supply delivery process I helped implement at my former employer. But, like many other people doing product development work, as opposed to physical production, it didn’t seem to apply to me. My work doesn’t take up space. I can sling around ideas without leaving my desk. I’m a “creative.” Why would we not want to keep churning out great ideas?!
FSGD (pronounced Fizz Good) is a thinking tool that LeanKit created to shape how we plan our work to get things done and provide value to our customers faster. FSGD is an acronym comprised of four equal parts: Frequent, Small, Good, and Decoupled. We think of it as simply a concise restatement of Lean principles, such as limiting work-in-process and reducing batch size, that have guided us for years.
In this blog post, I’ll tell the backstory of FSGD by sharing two not-at-all-FSGD experiences that propelled us to find a better way to plan our work.