Posts Tagged ‘lean’

Agile Project Management Training – Sept 11, 12 Calgary

August 12, 2008

Plan the work. Work the plan.

That has been the maxim taught in project management circles for the better part of 50 years. If only it were that easy.

Reality has taught us that when we blindly following plans we:
* miss deadlines
* exceed budgets
* and disappoint our customers

There is a better way, and it works!

Agile, Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Lean Software Development.

In this course I will show you how to:
* setup
* execute
* and successfully wrap up your own agile project

We will cover:
* agile project initiation
* requirements gathering
* estimation
* planning
* iteration mechanics
* tracking
* team building
* roles and responsibilities
* dealing with resistance
* and effective project leadership

If you are looking to:
* build trust with your customers
* improve relationships with team members, and
* gain a competitive advantage in the market place

Register Now


Petro-Canada Centre
150 6 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta


September 11-12, 2008

As a former agile project lead, coach and mentor at ThoughtWorks, Jonathan was spent the greater part of the last ten years collecting, and distilling the best agile project management practices from around the world.

His experiences include leading agile projects at Microsoft, British Petroleum in the UK, AMP Capital in Sydney Australia and many other companies throughout Canada, the US, England, and Australia.


The Toyota Way Principle 4. Level out the workload

July 8, 2008

In general, when you try to apply the TPS, the first ting you have to do is to even out or level the production. Leveling the production schedule may require some front-loading of shipments or postponing of shipments and you may have to ask some customers to wait for a short period of time. Once the production level is more or less the same or constant for a month, you will be able to apply pull systems and balance the assembly line. But if production levels – the output – varies from day to day, there is no sense in trying to apply those other systems, because you simply cannot establish standardized work under such circumstances.

So says Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation.

Jeffrey Liker’s book, The Toyota Way, Jeffrey explains how it’s not possible to run a lean operation using Dell’s build to order model. One day you will have many customer orders, forcing your staff to work beyond capacity. The next there will be much fewer orders (and your people will be idle).

Toyota found that to work lean, they needed to even out production.

They do this by focusing on the three M’s of waste:

1. Muda – Non-value added work

2. Muri – Overburdening people or equipment

3. Mura – Unevenness

When most people start with lean, they tend to focus on Muda because it is the easiest to identify and eliminate. Unfortunately, fixing muda by itself can cause greater stress in the organization as now spikes in customer demand forces people to work harder. People become overburdened, equipment breaks down, and people abandon the lean initiative.

As Taiichi Ohno describes it:

The slower but consistent tortoise cause less waste and is much more desirable than the speed hare that races ahead and then stops occasionally to doze. The Toyota Production System can be realized only when all the workers become tortoises (Ohno, 1988).

To read more about these and other Toyota principles I recommend picking up a copy ofJeffrey Liker’s book The Toyota Way.

Scrum training with Innovel

June 23, 2008

Last week I participated a Scrum Master training session put on by friend and acquaintance Robin Dymond, and was very impressed.

Robin, and his company Innovel, specialize in Agile management consulting. Part of their offering is Scrum training and they have some wonderful exercises for re-enforcing some of the practices us in the industry take for granted every day.

I won’t give away any surprises, but if you and your company are looking for Scrum certification training, I highly recommend catching Robin the next time he is in town.

Batch vs continuous flow processing

April 16, 2008

If you are at a cocktail party, and someone asks you to compare and contrast the differences between batch and continuous flowing processes, calmly lower your martini, grab the nearest table napkin, and proceed to draw the following picture:

batch processing

Suppose we were in the toy car manufacturing business and there were three stages to building a car: the body, the wheels, and the paint. You decide the most optimal way to build the cars would be to batch them up into groups of ten, and send them from one stage to the next in one big batch.

If we assume it takes 1 min per car at each stage, then we would expect the following results:

Time to build first car: 21 minutes
Time to build first batch of ten: 30 minutes

Now, suppose we were to draw this picture on another napkin:

flow processing

Only this time instead of manufacturing our cars in groups of ten, we build them one at a time in a one-piece continuous flow process. Were we to do this, we could expect these results:

Time to build first car: 3 minutes
Time to build first batch of ten: 12 minutes

In the continuous flow example, the first car rolled off the assembly in in 3 minutes (18 minutes faster than the batch process).

All ten cars were built in 12 minutes (an improvement of 18 minutes over the batch process).

To really impress your guests, you could then demonstrate your worldly knowledge and command of automotive history by explaining that this is precisely what Toyota figured out when it began competing with Ford’s mass production system.

Toyota realized that a continuous one-piece flow process:
* increases productivity – more cars in less time
* builds in quality – easier to spot defective parts sooner
* is more efficient – less material lying around
* reduces costs – less inventory

By this time, other party goers will have no doubt picked up on your conversation, and you will most likely be the life of the party with everyone hinged on your every word.

You could excuse yourself.
You could change topics.

Or you could pickup a copy of Jeffrey Liker’s excellent book, The Toyota Way, and prepare yourself for the next party.

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