Make Your Process Fragile [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 02-01-16

I have been writing columns for 10 years now, first with a regular feature for Assembly Magazine titled Leading Lean, and for the last 5 years with IndustryWeek with Lessons from the Road, a title chosen from the sub-title of my book with Andy Carlino, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean.

For 2016, I would like to challenge my own thinking as well as yours, and will attempt to dig into topics that aren’t well covered, well understood, and that I hope will advance the discussion of lean thinking.

This month, my title is Make Your Process Fragile. Sounds like a winner, right? Who on earth would want that? Here’s my analogy, an excerpt from the column:

Consider building a small bridge over a stream. Make one bridge out of intertwined twigs, easily broken individually. The other is made from one much larger, much stronger, log. If both structures have good integrity, that large, strong log seems better. But what if there are some problems. The bridge made from twigs will generate its first cracking sound, and before the rest of the structure collapses, you are able to get to safety. But the log goes suddenly with one loud crack, and you end up hurt and wet at the bottom of the stream.

Read the full column here. And please comment. I would love to hear your ideas, challenges, and questions.