Ten Lessons for World Class

Ten Lessons for World Class

John Black writes about the Ten Lessons for World Class manufacturing organisations. I thought it might be interesting to update and amend his list,  as it might apply to knowledge-work (e.g. software development) organisations:

Lesson 1: People are the key to world class, not technology.

Lesson 2: If you are going uphill (to the Right) and taking one step at a time you are headed in the right direction.

Lesson 3: Without the understanding and knowledge of the Toyota Product Development System, you are a small ship in a heavy fog without a reliable compass.

Lesson 4: Involved, engaged and motivated people is the foundation. Without this foundation in place, you can’t build a world-class knowledge-work system (a.k.a. learning organisation, thinking environment).

Lesson 5: The methods, revolutions, thresholds – and transition zones between different kinds of collective mindset – that must be crossed to compete effectively in a global market can not be accomplished from the bottom up: they have to start from the top down.

Lesson 6: The goal of a world-class knowledge-work system can only reliably be achieved with a collective Synergistic (or Chaordic) mindset throughout the organisation.

Lesson 7: If you’re not simple, you’re not fast, and if you aren’t fast, you can’t win.

Lesson 8: Hiring consultants to come to your company, collect data, and feed it back to you with a strategy that requires you to spend money, add people and adopt by-the-book approaches like Scrum and Kanban (which although seemingly free, often turn out to be very expensive) means one thing…you are really stupid.

Lesson 9: In measuring progress toward the vision, metrics must be few, simple, meaningful, and directly linked to visual displays in the workplace.

Lesson 10: The greatest opportunities to eliminate delays, add value and reduce waste are in the corporate “wasteland”: the boardroom, the general office, the engineering (product development) floors, and in the whitespace on the org chart.

What do you think? Do you see anything missing from this list, for knowledge-work businesses?

– Bob

Further Reading

The Fifth Discipline ~ Peter M Senge
More Time to Think ~ Nancy Kline
Lean Product and Process Development ~ Dr Allen Ward
Product Development for the Lean Enterprise ~ Michael Kennedy

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