ABSTRACT: We're all familiar with the analogy of peeling an onion to find out what's going on in the center. If the center of what we want is to create and sustain a high-performance operation, then we already know what's at the center and now we have to figure out what's required to get there.
If performing at a high level is desired, first we must ask, "how do we know we're performing well?" Then we work backwards--analogously opposite to peeling an onion--to find the most visible and readily accessible attributes that would lead us from the external world, back into the center.
In the case of high performance operations, the answer to "what's at the center" is fairly simple: metrics of results against goals will be our primary gauge. If metrics, results and goals are our focus, then the question moves to, "what do we need to do to make sense of them?" We need confidence in our measures, find meaning in the results, and realism in our goals.
High performance requires more than being content with the status quo. High performance expects more predictability, not just good present-state cash flow. Essentially, predictability is an attribute of high performance and the central gears in the machinery of high performance operations are baseline performance data and performance prediction models.
Thankfully, while discussions of baselines and models may sound terrifying at first, we have a relatively straight-forward tool to obtain baseline performance data and craft performance prediction models. Kanban is such a tool. Kanban gives us everything we need to back out of the onion and work at being a high performance operation by dealing with natural, every day, ordinary work.
Kanban also gives us non-measurement based tools to help sustain ongoing high performance behaviors by simply doing the basic tenets of Kanban activities. Beyond the visualization, Kanban is a simple yet powerful means of pursuing and realizing high performance results.
SPEAKER: Hillel Glazer is the founder, Principal, CEO, and all-around Performance Jedi of Entinex, Inc. He is the world's leading authority on bringing lean and agile values and principles into the regulated world. His leadership, originality, professional excellence, and direct contribution to the community in this field has been recognized by the Lean Systems Society, by honoring him as a Fellow of the Lean Systems Society in its inaugural induction of fellows. He's special counsel to the Lean Kanban University and Program Chair of the Lean Kanban North America conference. Hillel's involvement with Kanban predates the official "launch" of Kanban that includes several earlier collaborations with David J. Anderson on topics of flow, process improvement, predictability, and high performance.
Special Note - Hillel is travelling from north of Baltimore to meet with us. The time constraints of the Agile Richmond January meeting limit the extent to which we can explore the depths of the topic. This limitation is true for seeking more details as well as for dealing with specific situations. To leverage his time, he is planning to stay nearby through Thursday morning for anyone interested in an open-space deep dive on the evening's topic. Hillel will be available for a small group get together or privately. Contact him directly at hillel-AT-entinex-DOT-com if leveraging Kanban to dramatically and measurably improve your organization's performance is interesting to you.