Do Less, but Better - a Lean Workflow05 Aug 2015
With all the talk and fuss about Lean and Agile, do you ever wonder what is the actual point here? Some may say it's getting a more efficient workflow, achieving better results or improving the team's performance.
What if we agreed, it's about doing less work but of a better quality? As the doing less concept always sounds good, let's explore further.
Working along the lines of Lean, the aim is to keep the procedures and goals as closely down to the business point as possible. Meaning excluding all of the actions that bring no value to the process nor to the end product or service. All of these are being considered waste. So, the goal is limiting waste. This is easiest achieved by stripping the process of any unnecessary steps (e.g. writing status and performance reports or holding meetings for any simple reason) and putting emphasis on what really brings the team closer to the end result.
Another brilliant approach to making the process Lean is combining all of the stages into one common workflow, thereby informing the entire team of the way the process goes, giving them insight into their role and its influence on the other team members. This brings an empowerment and a definite sense of task, job, product ownership, which is more than a positive aspect of getting things done. Feeling gratified by the work we do is an indispensable aspect of getting happy employees, and happy people tend to be more productive.
Once the whole team is involved in one workflow, a sense of community and cooperation should get more prevalent. Moreover, the process gets streamlined, as thanks to the fact that it is aligned to meet one set of criteria and reach a common goal in the end, the process steps can be better suited to the needs and adjusted more easily.
Common workflows are most easily implemented with aid of a task board, that follows either Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban process methodology, as they greatly facilitate one-flow processes. These processes allow people to stay on the same page as far as current information goes, see the status for specific tasks immediately and be able to share the work in an evenly distributed fashion.
Try setting up a Kanban board for your team to see which of the things you do bring no value and can be easily discarded, then replaced by something more productive. As you follow a certain task along the process lines and later analyze the impact it had on the overall outcome, you shall be able to decide which of the things you do could be left out.
So, Lean is a great way of getting to do less, and putting more focus on the items that really make a difference. Find out more on how to set up a simple Kanban board. Save yourself some time!