Today, I thought I’d get back to the core of my lean passion and talk a little about implementation of a lean project. Yes, lean is about small continual improvements, but there are times when project based work is needed for larger roll-outs and tasks.
I am a firm believer in and practitioner of PDCA, Plan Do Check Act. For many of my projects the planning stage may be up to 80% of the entire project life cycle. Thorough planning of the project will always result in smoother implementation and transition. The stages of Do and Check are critical for any project, and even more so for very large projects with many stakeholders as this is where the real buy-in occurs. Although these first three stages are the longest, it’s important that they are still completed in a timely manner so the project doesn’t labour on too long. When a project takes too long during these stages, it can appear to have stalled and the business may lose interest.
When it comes time to implement the project, speed of implementation is important; however it is more important to not rush it. I like a fast implementation as I’ve found in my experience that you can get a lot more action and buy-in through the excitement and energy of a quick implementation; and let’s face it, if the change is the right change and will bring good outcomes, why wouldn’t you want to be excited? I’ve seen some slow implementations where the team is almost apologising to the business for being in the way or for making the change. These changes will not be sustainable; before the project is finished, the business is already sorry!
So, take your time to plan and test thoroughly before building excitement and energy for the implementation. Implement as fast as you can but be thorough in closing out any open issues. Don’t do a fast half-baked implementation with the intention of going back and finishing; intentions are great but don’t actually achieve anything – actions do!