Here’s the thing to remember—all the high-level flow tools and systems are meaningless until we enable work to flow one-step-at-a-time from value-creating step to value-creating step.
Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) October 25, 2016
The main responsibility of CIOs and other information technology managers is to create an environment for work to flow, according to John Shook, CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) and Alice Lee, LEI executive director.
“Here’s the thing to remember—all the high-level flow tools and systems are meaningless until we enable work to flow one-step-at-a-time from value-creating step to value-creating step,” write Shook and Lee in CIO Review magazine’s special edition on workflow.
“The challenges of designing, doing and improving work -- no matter what kind -- are all pretty much the same,” they write. “We want work to flow. Customers want work to flow, so they can get their product or service faster. Companies want work to flow so they can get paid -- after all, cash is king. Workers want work to flow -- there is nothing more frustrating for a human doing work than for the work they are trying to do to fail to progress.
“Learning to make value flow -- making work flow -- is the very DNA of lean thinking, no matter the type of work it is being applied to.”
What Is Lean Management?
Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for nearly 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to operations around the world. Lee directly managed a large IT organization at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She later led the application of lean thinking in managing the flow of work among patients, doctors, providers, and frontline staff.
Lean thinking, shorthand for lean management, is a complete business system that continuously develops people and improves processes to provide more value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources.
The challenge for CIOs and other managers in IT is to figure out how to enable staff to know simply and clearly what they need to do next and then enable them to perform that work effectively. Leaders must make it easier for workers to know the priorities, focus on the right thing, see abnormalities, and to build in quality.”
“It’s at this micro level of doing it that the flow of work improves,” they write.
About the Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, makes things better through lean research, training, publishing, and events. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, LEI supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Global Network, the Lean Education Academic Network, the Healthcare Value Network, and the Center for Lean Engagement and Research in Healthcare at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. Learn more at lean dot org.