Thursday, April 17, 2003

Down 'n Dirty with the Theory of Constraints -- Day 5

I conclude a week of collaborative postings with Hal and Frank with thoughts of how one manages a project with a TOC and Lean perspective.

At the core, both Lean and TOC principles lead management to be a continuing conversation, based on metrics, that allow daily assessments of focus on delivering on the goal. I elaborate.

  • A continuing conversation happens primarily in daily workgroup meetings, as well as as-needed reviews. It never happens monthly and seldom can happen solely weekly. And a conversation is, by definition, two-way. The leader who only talks is no leader. He/she must listen and listen well.
  • Make measurements daily. Highly predictable processes can be measured more frequently, even on an hourly basis. Most projects, however uncertain, will still allow daily measures. The metrics must be obvious, not easily manipulatable, very inexpensive to collect and posted publically.
  • Assessments are, in my opinion, the missing link in the management of most projects. Many will make daily metrics, but then simply admire them or ignore them. More crucial is assessing what the metrics tell you. Making well-grounded assessments is a skill that you can learn. This is a topic for a full week's set of blogs, by itself. (Interested?? Let me know, perhaps we can produce a set on making grounded assessments...Email me)
  • The goal is what drives the assessment. Are we getting closer? How do we keep our eye on the target? The discipline of understanding constraints helps this terrifically.

Pay attention to Hal and Frank on this topic...they both are experts.

We hope this week-long discussion has been helpful. Hal, Frank and I will compare notes and try to learn ourselves from it. Thanks for listening.

Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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