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 not a real word) lean efforts, the 3P process is one that accomplishes the above: making experimentation easier. 3P stands for Production Preparation Process. It is how you prepare a production process before you bother investing, lagging down equipment, or staffing up. We don’t really need the jargon, but fundamentally it is a way to lay out a physical work process without making the investment. Using chalk, and cardboard, and Styrofoam, you layout your process and test it. And then you change it, and you test it, and you change it, and you test it. All for a penny on the dollar of making “real” changes, except that the learning is real.

There is a fantastic scene in the movie The Founder, about the creation of McDonald’s, where the brothers who created the vision worked out the layout of the original McDonald’s system. They drew a layout in chalk on a tennis court, and had their employees practice. They saw the problems, and then they changed the layout. They practiced some more, saw the problems, and then iterated again, until they got it right. And McDonald’s became a breakthrough.






Learning comes through experimentation. And experimentation can be expanded by making it cheaper, easier, and faster to experiment and learn.