Process is not the enemy, waste is

“Just enough process to let people do their best work” is an Agile thought not a Lean one. Lean suggests process should be the explicit workflow and policies that enable people to do their best. We’re not going for more or less process, but rather clarity on what is the best way to get work done.

Lean suggests that people doing the work know this better than anyone else, so clearly they’d be the ones to define it. It must be visible so we can work to improve it.

But it’s not quite this simple. Left to their own, people tend to self-optimize. So, although people must create their own process, it has to support the bigger context as well – that is, how to do their work to optimize the bigger picture. Creating the awareness of this context is management’s role.

Frameworks can support this as well, but must then meet these requirements:

1) the framework must provide the context for the entire value stream

2) while preset practices can be presented, they must be changeable by the people doing the work

3) this requires clear objectives for these practices so that the work still is done effectively

Frameworks should also provide alternatives to practices so that people don’t need to reinvent the wheel (another form of waste).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.