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Five focusing steps ensures value stream

Path of least resistance, is an enabler for Electric current flow as per Ohm’s law. This universal law suits Theory of constraints best in its premise. When the resistance is identified and well-managed to ensure that the flow across it is optimized full flow of product / service occurs.

Five Focusing steps ensures optimized flow by ensuring minimum or almost nil resistance to value

  1. Identify the resistance – bottle neck impedes values
  2. Exploit the resistance by having right value stream available at right place
  3. Subordinate everything else to above value stream – meaning let all subsystems, parallel system work to achieve real value flow
  4. Elevate the value system once the value stream is established, so that it becomes automatic value stream.
  5. Repeat the cycle from step 1 – continuous innovation

 

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Systems thinking avoids wastes

Systems thinking avoids wates in any environment. Here we look ways that helps avoiding wastes in software.

Over estimated time and efforts : Teams thought process is calculate each and every team member’s individual tasks and add up the total. This is a gross mistake and contributes to lots of waste as unproductive time in project progression. How? Welcome to Critical Chain project management of Theory of Constraints. Calculate the total effort required for the project completion and add project buffer as a central buffer available to total project. This way not only the project progress is focussed, it also creates an atmosphere of system thinking among the team members and every one starts to focus on project rather than individual productivity. Scaled Agile Frame work (SAFe) have addressed this to a certain extent.

Group reviews avoids bad multitasking

Multitasking : Much used term in management especially in services sectors like IT. Theory constraints sees multitasking as an activity which mostly reduces the productivity. If a project manager has to run three projects simultaneously with three different customer domain (which is the case generally in SMEs) say retail, health care, BFSI etc he/she  will be mostly doing management of people deployment and the progress of deliverables. All the three customers will be equally demanding the deliverables w.r.t to agreed milestones, as per schedule with acceptance criteria for the quality (that’s the very reason the projects are given to the It vendors)

If the project manager is focusing on all the three projects, with tight deadlines from all of the, switching between tasks and projects will be tasking and will create much pressure on the project manager. This will lead to none of the projects are delivered on time or even if that be the case there will be compromise on quality or extra resources deployment. Any of these symptoms is an extra cost due to non value addition caused by bad multitasking. We are not talking here about a multi skill and trait a manager need to posses in terms of leadership, technical competency, managerial acumen or communication abilities. These are all multi skills which will be naturally used by an effective project manager during project management (as against multitasking).  Having special horizaontal groups like Subject matter expertise, advanced technology group, Software  Process Engineering group, Business Analysts, UX group and using their exprtise to do reviews at appropriate levels and phases will ease out the pressure from project teams. This is one way an organization will improve overall productivity which help teams avoid bad multitasking.

Just my thoughts. Please share your views on this.

System thinking helps superior products development

I have discussed about CTQ and CTC in this post about Agile development addresses Critical to Quality and Critical to Customer dimensions.

As Quality and Customer requirements have become more clear due to the collaborative nature of Agile and Lean Development, products are developed faster and better. No issues upto this. Another parameter along with ‘better and cheaper’ that needs to be inbuilt is cheaper (competitive context), this where the flow and systems thinking that need to be embraced within the organization and its customers and suppliers.

Theory of constraints (TOC)  offers Drum buffer rope, Critical Chain project management and Thinking tools to address this third critical parameter (cheaper = competitive) of any product. Processes can be automated to the possible and required limits. However Thinking process differs from project to project depending upon the many stakeholders involved. It takes domain, experience and System thinking skill sets to achieve the smooth flow . lean and TOC have their focus mainly on Systems thinking and on careful, patient and full application of these management models, super productive systems can be achieved.
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Budgeting for success

Budgeting – for sales, production, inventory, finance, quality, testing, new initiatives, Research and many more functions / departments is done as per the context and the focus of any organization. Organization take into consideration factors like  revenue streams, cost of compliance, support and future business etc.

Best results will be accrued by reducing operating expenses  and minimizing inventories. inventory. Theory of constraints key focus is around these premises. While it is understandable in principle on reducing operating expenses  and minimizing inventories, in practice it is not very easy to achieve this goal. How can we make a positive difference in realizing these improvements? One way could be after identifying budgets for each and every function, the leadership should look at the interfaces and interplay between multi departments and then work out suitable budget booth in terms of cost and effort. To understand the interplay and interfacing activities, it is better to set up a small team by choosing good champions from each department and create one interrelationship maps between all the teams and leadership together. Then every six month this interface map should be reviewed and revised as per the current realities.

Now it will be easier for management to understand the effort and cost allocation and budget to the each team. After the allocation, the champions teams  can take their respective teams into confidence and impress upon them about details. This way organization will have more probability for smooth sailing as flow.

Convergence is the key strength

Convergence of all sub system produces one super system called organisation.

Light getting dispersed through Prism produces brilliant colours like Rainbow. The White light sums of all the seven colors and shines forth brilliantly.

Sales, pre sales, account management, development, business analysts, testing teams, UX, HR, Facilities, Administration, Finance and Leadership all put together form a brilliant organization. We can’t say Red color is better than blue , green is better than yellow et al. All departments are components of a great chain, and the interfaces between them are links that binds the values of the organization.

If one or few of the interfaces / links get too much stressed out or lagging, rest of the teams and interfaces can get into huddle with the struggling interfaces and can offer their support to improve the working. This is self-organization in Agile, subordinating all activities to critical constraints in Theory of Constraints, Systems thinking in lean. Different  models, similar values.

Gemba Walks Evaporates cloud

Gemba walks by Leadership teams occasionally to the desks where action is happening will be a great boosting moral for the teams. However it needs to be performed without giving a feel like micro managing of teams. Some ways and thoughts on Gemba walks by senior management.

Visit to the real place and seeing teams putting their work , genuinely understanding if the teams need more support in terms of tools, training and helping hands in resolving any technical issues goes a long way in having empowered employees. Teams will not only be happy they will also go to the extra miles bracing any limitations on their way.

Gemba walks originally designed for operations place like shop floor reviews, we can use the spirit for motivating people to become empowered.  This way Gemba walks rings true with Evaporating cloud phenomena of Theory Of Constraints. (TOC)