Sunday, August 23, 2009

Perfection the enemy of improvement

My colleague Kira was frustrated recently.  She was leading an improvement effort and was almost at an actionable point. 
When a well-meaning member of the team ratcheted up the ante, seeking to take "improved" to "perfect."
I can't get too upset on the one hand.  The other person did intend to help things. 
Yet, a crucial part of Lean leadership is to know when "good enough is good enough."  When do we accept an 80% improvement, let it sit and mature, then look to move it up another 80%.
It is not a science, it's not a checklist.  But Kira's gut feel in this case was right.  She opted out of the suggested change. Perfection had became the enemy of improvement. 
Keep learning.

1 comment:

Tim McMahon said...

It is hard to learn especially for those your have perfectionist tendencies in their personality. You have to learn to pick your battles and only fight the ones that are worth winning.

Lean is a really a people thinking process so the actual results of an improvement while important are not the most important. The process of said improvement and thereby continuously improving is the goal.