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8 Must Do Preparations for Successful Lean Transformation

by Mike on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:00 AM
The old adage “Measure Twice, Cut Once” applies to the Preparation for lean transformation. Many times transformations start with very little or no preparation, which results in a very stressful and rushed diagnosis. This deficiency in turn can then lead to poor design and weak implementation phases. It is essential that certain activities take place before the diagnose phase begins. This increases the probability of a successful transformation and the team getting off to the best start possible.

The 8 key aspects of the preparation phase that must be completed as a minimum are: 

  1. Create the team. The team needs to be created and needs to understand how to work together. This means that the team must be made up of experienced transformational professionals as well as experienced business professionals. This also requires that the team has agreed on how they will work together and how they will interact with the leadership of the business and the value stream that is undergoing the transformation. 

  2. Understand the real business need.The team really must understand what the real business need is (the critical to success criteria). A Burning Platform Statement developed by the leadership of the business must clearly sets the goals and objectives for the transformation. The Burning Platform Statement is used to guide the transformation team through the Diagnostic, Design, Planning, Implementation and Sustainability Phases. 

  3. Establish strong relationships.The team must spend time building relationships with key decision makers on-site. Transformations are hard; change is difficult and extremely stressful. Without strong personal relationships with the leadership of the business the transformation can result in ugly confrontations, which create bitter feelings that could derail the effort. 

  4. Train the team.The team has been trained in the Lean Transformation process. Trying to do a Transformation with a team that does not understand the process and has not been trained in the details necessary for success will lead to failure. The approach we have used very successfully is to take the team off site and put them through a multiple day “Boot Camp” education and training experience. 

  5. Spend time in the business.The team must have time in the business to develop an understanding of the existing Businesses Process, Organization Infrastructure and Organizational Culture. Without a robust understanding of the current state of the business and how it supports (or not) the current as well as future customer requirements, the team could easily work on improving things that don’t matter. 

  6. Access the data. Any specific data that is needed over and above what the team has been able to gather during the Assessment Phase should be formally requested from the right people in leadership. Every effort should be made to fulfill the identified additional data as soon as possible. 

  7. Set a clear direction for diagnosis. A ghost PowerPoint deck has been created with examples of the analysis and data that needs to be created and gathered during the Diagnostic Phase. This ghost deck provides guidance and direction for the transformation team as they start to validate the current state of the business. It provides a framework to guide the data collection and analysis as well as examples of how to present the findings. 

  8. Create a draft work plan. A draft work plan has been created for the whole project and in more detail for the first 5—6 weeks. Without a detailed plan with day by day and hour by hour objectives, project creep easily can happen. 

The better the preparation, the easier your transformation will be. Compromise on any of the above requirements and you will need to ratchet back your odds of success.

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Blogs Parent Separator Mike's Blog

(“The Professional Provoker”) is the Founder and President of Empowered Performance, LLC a worldwide management education and consulting firm. Michael has extensive international experience working with companies of varied sizes and industries helping them implement strategies to attain World-Class levels of performance. Michael has developed expertise in “Enterprise Excellence”, Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain Management (ERP/SCM), Lean (Toyota Production System), Team Building and Problem Solving, Six Sigma and Reengineering Business Processes. He is considered an expert in helping companies develop and implement Strategic Business Units and fast response customer service production units.

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