Projects do not define a lean company
No organization can become lean just from running lean projects and events. One organization did over 14,000 lean projects and still failed as a company, because they relied entirely on those events. Some of the problems include:
- If the methods, tools, and behaviors are not consistent with lean, project results will have a half-life. The old mindsets eventually recreate the old process.
- People become depending on projects, holding off on improvements waiting for the next project to move forward.
- Projects require resources, momentum, and energy. Most improvements can be accomplished with much less effort than a project requires, and much more will get done when we focus beyond projects.
- Projects are easier to kill. Because there are so many “good” excuses, from now isn’t the right time to so-and-so isn’t on-board, it is easy once something has a name and a charter to put that on a shelf. Smaller improvements are harder to kill because they aren’t as visible.
Our focus coming out of projects is that we ensure both sustainability of the changes made and continuous improvement beyond the changes made. Although these aren’t activities, this checklist can help you choose the appropriate activities required.
1. How will breakdowns or deteriorations in the new process changes be surfaced and correct?
2. Is there process governance in place with clear roles and responsibility?
3. Is there a common vision of what perfection looks like within those using the improved process?
4. Is there mechanisms in place to surface and manage improvements?
5. Is there a reflection process in place to help individuals carry lessons from projects into daily improvements?
Projects alone do not make a lean company.