zondag 21 februari 2016



I'm a fan of Lean Six Sigma. The pragmatic toolbox of Lean and Six Sigma has all kinds of tools and helpful aids to improve processes. In the past I have learned tools like Ishikawa (fishbone diagram), 5 times why, and Value Stream Mapping.

The helpful tools of LSS can help your project or department to gain more efficiency, to be more effective and to have more fun. With the tooling you can iteratively improve your way of work. And it doesn't need much time to do it. Just ask your team members every week their biggest irritation and improve this in a PDCA or DMAIC cyclus. Another great tool is to improve the visibility and communication in your team with a Kanban board.

Many of the things you learn, you can adopt this in your daily work and personal life. The way of thinking helps you improve processes or your daily life. Looking at my desk I could adopt the 5S method for sure ;-)


Lean started when processes became more common, for instance when Henry Ford started to build T - Fords. As soon as a process involved you can improve the process by making (small) adjustments to the process. Off course, Toyota is the example of Lean implementation in a automobile factory, called Toyota Production System (TPS), but it were the Americans that helped the Japanese build up the industry after World War II. Deming was the person that showed that you can increase quality with lower costs, by reducing wastes and more. The PDCA cyclus embodies the continuous improvement. See here for information.

Lean basics

There are 5 dimensions to support improvement in Lean : customer, process, organization, performance and behavior & attitude. There is nothing to add value when there is no customer. Customers wants products and services to add value to his or her work or life. There is also a process that you want to improve and bring it under control with people, materials and the talents of people. It's also needed to shape the organisation in order to maximize the value. And, how do we need to measure this? There are steps that improves the overall performance and there steps that brings down performance and you want to know this.

The goal is to optimize adding value (value add) to the activities instead of non value tasks (non-value add). Examples of value adding work are building a data warehouse or an analysis. Examples of non value adding activities are doing more than needed or rework. There are also activities that are needed but do not add value to activities, but it needs to be done (necessary non-value add), for instance testing.

Lean is a continuous improvement approach and focuses on design and improvement of the process. ITIL also talks about continuous improvement but does not give you the toolbox how to improve the process. Lean will you give you tooling how to execute continuous improvement.


This blogpost is a small blogpost about Lean. Lean is in the same category as scrum or agility and I'm convinced they can work together in synergy.



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