Look for The Noise

By | February 23rd, 2012|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Part of the activities during the Lean Experience workshop is a factory simulation—we build aircraft, very complex aircraft.  During the 1st round the noise is literally almost deafening.  The noise gets louder and louder the longer the simulation goes on and more as the system fails to deliver.  During the 2nd round, after redesign, it is remarkable how quiet and almost calm it becomes.  During the debrief we discuss how a structured system takes the noise out, both literally in the simulation, but also figuratively in every process in an organization.  We further discuss how difficult it was during round one for the participants to see problems and the opportunities to improve, help their fellow team members, or take advantage of their expertise or creativity.  During round two the problems and opportunities to improve are obvious, team members work together (even at times when they don’t necessarily like or respect each other), and it’s amazing the creative solutions that surface.  It’s not magic.  You simply can’t see the problems, effectively contribute or even be creative in chaos—“in all the noise”.  We only do two rounds but we are frequently asked if we will do another round to further improve.  The excitement for CI is encouraging.  In reality you often don’t hear the noise but it’s there and it has the same effects.  Another lesson learned is that the potential for noise increases with the complexity of the system.  […]