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On Managing Work - Not People (Part II)

July 30, 2020
3 minute read
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By James Steele

Part I: On Managing Work – Not People suggested that in low flow efficiency environment the big levers for improving service delivery are in an addressing the amount of time that work spends in a wait state (removing delay). In this post I would like to highlight the commonly seen sources of delay and what we might do about it!

First I would like to offer a cautionary note. Flow efficiency should be viewed as a health indicator of your service – with a low efficiency signalling the likelihood of poor service health in terms of the flow of work. However, don’t make your improvements efforts completely about improving your flow efficiency at the expense of other important fitness criteria – like lead time! If your flow efficiency is improving, but doing so at the expense of unacceptable lead times that are outside acceptable thresholds, then you may actually be making things worse. So consider balancing your flow efficiency metric with a metric like lead time. Use flow efficiency as an improvement driver for your service that provokes important discussions about your service.

These are the commonly seen sources of delay. Be on the lookout for them and look to evolve your services and their policies to help address the delay.

Too Much Work-in-Progress (WIP)
If may not initially be obvious, but working on too many things at once is a big contributor to the delay of work. Making a decision to limit the amount of things you choose to have in progress is an effective way to improve flow efficiency and also improve lead times.

Dependencies
Other than the most trivial type of work, we usually encounter dependencies when trying to deliver customer recognizable work items. Common dependencies are other people, other teams, other companies/vendors, and other services.  In order to improve the flow of work and predictability of your service delivery, it’s important to identify and work towards managing these dependencies. Make the dependencies visible. Measure the impact. Put a price-tag on the delay. Work towards developing Service Level Agreements with internal and external dependencies.

Your service is likely to experience poor flow efficiency and unpredictable service delivery until you are able to manage dependencies. Make them known, understand them, and have important discussions about them.

To be continued…

 


 
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    15 to 16 SEP 2021 (2 days) - Starting Wednesday - Online - Jerry Doucett

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    - Improve Knowledge Work Productivity -

    This 2-day workshop - Kanban System Design (KSD) - also known as 'Kanban for Real Agility®' - provides you with the fundamentals of the Kanban Method® . It is designed specifically for leaders starting their organization on the gentler path towards Real Agility™. This learning event is ideal for you if you are responsible for the delivery of a service. Learn the concepts of flow, pull, classes of service, and learn to deal with interruptions and multi-tasking. Learn the Systems Thinking Approach To Implementing Kanban (STATIK) through a multi-step interactive case study review.

    This KSD course, (formerly known as Kanban Management Professional 1 - KMP I), is the first of two courses towards the Kanban Management Professional (KMP) credential. The KSD is the prerequisite to the Kanban Systems Improvement course (KSI). By completing both this course (KSD) and the KSI, participants can earn their KMP credential with Kanban University®.

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    - Obtain your Kanban University® KSD certificate
    - Completion of this and the KSI class will earn you the Kanban University® KMP credential
    - Get a profile listing on the Kanban University® alumni page
    - We are a Registered Education Provider with Kanban University® and PMI®
    - Taught by and overseen by Accredited Kanban Trainers (AKT's)

    EXCLUSIVE: Free "Kanban for Managers" e-book written by BERTEIG consultants!

    Download the recommended reading by 'David J. Anderson and Andy Carmichael':
    Essential Kanban Condensed

    Please register using a corporate email address, for corporate loyalty program discounts.
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    - We are a Registered Education Provider with Kanban University® and PMI®
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    VP Training Services, Senior Consultant and Instructor
    About Trainer

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