Month: February 2014

Little’s Law – The ONE thing you can do to improve process performance

Is your system in chaos? What do I mean by chaos? I mean resource shortages, priority battles, constant expediting, too much work in process, or too much rework. Everything just takes too long. Little’s Law is a very simple concept that will help you gain control over your system. Mastering this concept will arm you with …

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Visualizing Projects: Measure the Right Things to Get the Right Behaviors

There is constant tension among project team members when their individual or functional objectives are not in alignment with the project’s objectives (i.e., maximizing resource efficiency is not the same as increasing project velocity). Famed management guru Eli Goldratt once said, “Show me how you measure me, I’ll show how to behave.” His point: metrics shape …

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Visualizing Projects: Bring Work in Progress Under Control

Multi-tasking: the dark art of doing many things…poorly. Every time an engineer, a designer, an operator – or anybody – has to switch from one task to another, valuable time is lost. When the former task is resumed, more time is absorbed coming back to speed or reconstructing the necessary tooling. On either end, the focus …

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Visualizing Projects: Bring Work in Progress Under Control

Multi-tasking: the dark art of doing many things…poorly. Every time an engineer, a designer, an operator – or anybody – has to switch from one task to another, valuable time is lost. When the former task is resumed, more time is absorbed coming back to speed or reconstructing the necessary tooling. On either end, the focus …

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Visualizing Projects: Now You Can See the Priorities

By posting all the project tasks to ONE board, and attributing a status to each task, your team instantly moves its attention from a competing body of tasks to a SINGLE project, openly displayed. In this new context, what takes priority? Whatever is most likely to threaten the completion deadline. What threatens completion? Look at the …

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Visualizing Projects: Now You Can See the Priorities

By posting all the project tasks to ONE board, and attributing a status to each task, your team instantly moves its attention from a competing body of tasks to a SINGLE project, openly displayed. In this new context, what takes priority? Whatever is most likely to threaten the completion deadline. What threatens completion? Look at the …

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Visualizing Projects: What Do You Need to Manage?

The vertical columns of process steps are complemented with horizontal rows of….whatever is most relevant for you to manage in order to fulfill the process steps. These can be (but are not limited to): • Individual people, such as engineers, designers, assemblers, machinists, etc. • Teams of people, identified by function, department, location, etc. • Job …

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Visualizing Projects: Start With a Clean Slate

In just a few minutes, everyone will share one common understanding of what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Let’s get rid of the room. Let’s get rid of the chairs. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of meetings – or at least what we traditionally think of as meetings. We …

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Visualizing Projects: Why Meetings Suck

The existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, once observed that, “Hell is other people.” He wasn’t quite right. Hell is other people, in a closed room, looking to assign blame for yet another missed deadline. The problem is not that project participants are innately misanthropic. In fact, we believe they naturally find satisfaction in productive collaboration. The real …

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Visualizing Projects: “Planning” Won’t Dispel The Darkness

This is where most project plans begin and end: in the dark. Why are projects late? If you’re responsible for the performance of a project team, you may be tempted to blame the usual suspects: it’s hard to get everyone working together; you can’t get enough resources, you need to start projects sooner to finish earlier; …

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