Lean Tool Roundup: Kanban is King

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Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

Part of the beauty of applying Lean to knowledge work is its versatility. Teams in every department — from Software Development to Organizational Development, IT Operations to Marketing Operations — practice Lean in their daily work.

The workflows, organizational structures, work types, and associated challenges for each of these teams play out in diverse ways. Lean has universal applications, but it’s not universally applied in the same way. There are, however, some overarching trends: Flow is top priority, Kanban is king, and WIP (work in process) is the most common metric.

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How to Motivate a Team Resisting Continuous Improvement

resisting continuous improvement

When practicing continuous improvement, the only constant is change. For teams that have achieved moderate, predictable success by following the status quo, embracing this change can require a major paradigm shift. Resistance to change can come in the form of foot-dragging, sabotage, and even rebellion, and can have a toxic influence on your Lean implementation.

As a leader, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make everyone on your team completely comfortable with change. You’ll first have to identify the causes of their resistance, and find ways to move through them.

From there, you can do your part to minimize discomfort by giving your team opportunities to gain the autonomy, mastery, and purpose they need to stay motivated. Keep reading to learn why people resist change and how to motivate teams to embrace continuous improvement.

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The New Lean: Beyond the Assembly Line

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Enjoy this excerpt from the latest Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

The new Lean empowers teams, encourages effective leadership, and enables organizations to deliver value to their customers faster.

Startups and enterprises are equally likely to be Lean, but for different reasons: startups for the speed to grow quickly, enterprises for the agility to remain relevant and competitive.

Lean maintains a strong hold in manufacturing, its original industry. But it’s also finding new applications in IT, helping global organizations reduce and manage complexity in an increasingly complex world.

In tightly structured, highly regulated industries, where the cost of error is high — like financial services, healthcare and telecommunications — Lean helps teams and organizations systematically identify and eliminate inefficiencies. We’re also seeing Lean grow in more creative industries, like media, entertainment, and retail.

The future of business is unfolding before us, with the new Lean pioneers leading the charge. Read this post to learn who’s practicing the new Lean, and how they got started.

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10 Benefits of Lean

benefits of lean

Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

The data makes it clear that for most teams, in most organizations — Lean works. 92% of teams surveyed reported moderate to significant improvements in project success after implementing Lean.

Of course, the benefits of Lean extend far beyond project success. We asked our survey participants to name the three benefits of Lean that have affected them most. The diversity in their responses speaks to the widespread impact of Lean. From better management of process complexity to increased team morale, it’s evident that the benefits of Lean go far beyond the work itself.

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7 Traits of High-Performing Lean Teams

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Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

In the Lean Business Survey, we learned that even teams just getting started with Lean were seeing results — 88% of respondents who self-identified as “beginner” reported moderate to significant improvement in project success. But what happens when teams hit their stride?

High-performing Lean teams differentiate themselves through their focus, communication, and sustainably fast pace. They think, plan, and work like a system. They optimize for agility, speed, and value delivery, so they can respond to challenges, both internal and external, without wavering in their vision or momentum.

We wanted to know how they got there — so we dug deep into more than 3,000 survey responses from executives, consultants, and team members to understand what habits, methods, and motivators make a Lean team great.

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Lean Flow: Priority #1 for Lean Executives

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Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

What is Lean Flow?

Companies of all sizes are using Lean as the catalyst to improve flow, and thereby increase speed. In Lean, flow refers to the manner in which work progresses through a system: “Good” flow describes a system where work moves through steadily and predictably, whereas “bad” flow describes a system in which work stops and starts frequently.

To move fast and deliver faster – two major factors in remaining competitive – creating flow is more important than cutting waste. Global enterprises and startups alike can improve Lean flow by developing more efficient processes, focusing on value delivery, and improving business agility.

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Top 5 Lean Books to Add to Your Reading List

Lean Books

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 management books, written by our esteemed colleagues in the Lean community.

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