Practicing Lean depends upon fostering a student mentality — recognizing what you don’t know, and approaching the unknown with a curious, humble mind. Whether you’re new to Lean or a seasoned expert, reading about the experiences and practices of others is an excellent way to practice a key Lean concept: continuous improvement. At LeanKit, when people ask us how to learn more about Lean, we often direct them to these excellent Lean books, written by our esteemed colleagues in the Lean community.
Different companies have different cultures, but timesheets are almost universally abhorred by the work force — and yet they continue to stick around. Why? Because timesheets are acutely intertwined with traditional IT budgeting processes. While workers may be peeved at the inconvenience of timesheets, leadership is looking to them to answer vital questions. Questions like:
- How predictable are we — do we consistently deliver value?
- Are we efficient — what is the capacity utilization of the staff?
- Are we straying from our budget — projected cost vs. actual cost?
- Is the headcount and skillset right — does the current staff level serve the organization well?
Respect for People is one of the pillars of Lean and of our culture at LeanKit. We’re very proud of the respectful culture we’ve built together. It’s something that visitors and newcomers comment on when they talk about our company.
But, as I had to confess at a recent company meeting, we haven’t worked as diligently on defining and training people on this “soft” pillar of Lean as we have the “hard” Continuous Improvement pillar (by implementing tools like Kanban, A3, Stop the Line, automation, etc).
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve expanded our Advanced Reporting capabilities so that you can easily analyze your LeanKit data in your business intelligence system of choice. Discover new ways to access and visualize your Kanban board data with our new reporting API, which allows you to create the custom reports and dashboards you need to make data-driven improvements.
How many times have you finished a long day at work, exhausted, yet unable to cross anything off your list of high-priority to-dos? You feel robbed. Where did all your time go? Unfortunately, you feel this way more days than not. What’s going on? You’re likely falling victim to the biggest culprits of time theft: hidden and unplanned work.
What is Lean Thinking?
“Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is waste.” — Eric Ries
Testing, like Lean thinking is a mindset. Both are required to achieve a practice of continuous improvement. Consider how you “provide benefit to the customer”. The last work decision you made: was it to prioritize one piece of work over another, change a certain feature, or tweak your marketing messaging? How did you make that decision? And most importantly, how did you know that what you decided is what the customer actually wants?
Testing is the vehicle through which the accumulation of experience, insight, education and the constant reassessment of our assumptions allows us to better understand our target across all facets of their journey, first as a buyer and then a customer. It’s the method of eliminating waste by approaching our work with a curious, humble, and methodical mindset. These three key characteristics power the testing mindset needed to achieve continuous improvement.
This is part of a three-part series on keeping remote teams cohesive. We recommend that you begin with parts 1 (hiring) and 2 (onboarding) before reading this post on communication.
In the final installment of this series, I’ll discuss the importance of effective communication — over-communication, in fact — in remote teams. I’ll share the communication strategies and methods that I’ve seen be most effective for keeping remote teams cohesive.