direct observation

Metrics: It’s about more than measurements

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 11-14-17

We often hear “we cannot manage what we cannot measure”.  I think the better way to say it and approach improvement is that you cannot manage or improve what you cannot evaluate. As you are looking to improve something you need to ask how you are going to understand what

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The Founder and Experimentation

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 06-27-17

Learning what works and what doesn’t work is driven by experimentation, real-world trials that inform us about cause and effect. How do we improve the ability to experiment? By reducing the cost, the effort, the friction required to test what works. As we continue my effort to de-jargonize (ok, that’s

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Warning sign: merge ahead

People Bottlenecks

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 06-20-17

In the flow of a manufacturing plant, the bottleneck should often be the most valuable, or at least most expensive asset. We actually should be designing our processes around that fact, and then ensuring there is no unnecessary waste in the process that affects that bottleneck. In the Theory of

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Using Observation Systematically [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 08-13-14

I’ve written about observation many times before, but in my latest IndustryWeek Lessons from the Road column, I address how to use the different levels of observation and make better decisions about observation. Here is an excerpt from Using Observation Systematically: There are four distinct levels of observation, each with

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Going to the Gemba

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 09-20-11

My latest column for Industry Week, Lessons from the Road, titled Going to the Gemba has been posted. Here is an excerpt: Going to the gemba has become popular for the simple reason that it is powerfully effective. But there is more to it than getting up from your desk, as

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Diagnosing Current Reality as 1, 2, 3

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 03-22-10

..although note I did not say “as easy as 1, 2, 3.” Diagnosing our current reality of any situation is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks for a lean thinker. It’s harder for a lean thinker than for a non-lean thinker. Why? Because a non-lean thinker is quite comfortable

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What NOT to Learn from the Undercover Boss

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 02-15-10

I don’t know if the show will last, but the Undercover Boss certainly has an interesting premise. Leaders of organizations go undercover in their own organizations to do front-line jobs, learning what is really going on. This is a great idea, and one consistent with lean where we talk about

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Measurement Misnomers, and Toyota Dealership Problems

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 01-29-10

On our LinkedIn Group we get many good discussions and questions. We had one from Roger Cook that I thought was worth repeating and expanding upon. Here is the question: I’m curious if any of you have foolproof ways of insuring your metrics (which lean folks are famous for measuring

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Go ahead, play musical chairs

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 01-25-10

How often do you sit in a different seat at the dinner table? A regular meeting? A plane? When I travel, often starting on a regional jet, I’m usually in seat 1B. Not 1A, or 2B, but in 1B. It’s where I’m comfortable. Of course, my objective is to be

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Test for Actual Use, not Intended Use

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 12-22-09

When you test, what attributes are you testing for? Most testing begins with design criteria. This is reasonable to include but not the right starting point. You must develop with the user in mind. You must test with the user in mind. You must test for actual use, not just

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