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Implementing Lean Software? We’ve Got Tips.

Posted by Kade Jansson

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Jul 5, 2017 3:36:32 PM

Computer keyboard and multiple social media images.jpegMost people will only be involved in a Lean software implementation once or maybe a few times. We help companies with improvement software deployment every single day. Because we’ve been around the block many times, we’ve seen what leads to success and which mistakes should be avoided at all costs. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned.

Think Beyond Software

This may be an odd thing for a software company to say, but simply providing employees with a platform to manage Lean projects will not guarantee improved business results. The practice of Lean requires a culture that supports continuous improvement, avoids blame, respects employee ideas, and rewards people who contribute to positive change. Without that foundation, it is unlikely that employees will embrace Lean whether they have the tools to do so or not.

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Get Executives Engaged

It is important for leaders to be involved in the roll out of Lean software for a number of reasons. First, their involvement sends a clear signal that the Lean methodology and the tools needed to support it are a high priority for management. Adoption will also be improved if people know that managers are using the Lean solution to make decisions and assess the performance of the organization. When people see and hear leaders referencing data from the system, they will know how it is used and make good decisions about their own inputs.

Choose the Right Technology

On some level, any project management tool could be called Lean software, but don’t be fooled. There are some very specific features of software that has been built for the purpose of supporting Lean, and you want to make sure that the solution you select has them all. Make sure that your Lean software will help you capture opportunities for improvement, implement changes, measure results, and spread knowledge. Key features include

In addition, the solution should be cloud-based so that employees can access it from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Don’t Skimp on Training

A mistake we see frequently is the failure to invest the time and resources necessary to get employees up to speed on all of the capabilities of the system, and more importantly, how it will be used. The software should be intuitive and easy to use, but that doesn’t mean that users don’t need some instruction and a good understanding of the context. This is also a good time to reinforce the principles of  Lean and introduce any other tools or techniques, like 5s, value stream mapping, or process control charts that will be used. Also, keep in mind that training shouldn’t be a one-and-done affair. People need refreshers from time to time and there should be a plan to bring new employees up to speed.

Integrate the Technology into Daily Activities

Adoption of Lean software will increase if it is built into how departments operate on a daily basis. For example, if daily huddle meetings are used, information in the system should guide the discussion. Improvement work should be part of each employee’s performance review and it should be clear exactly how activities and results will be evaluated.

Recognize and Reward Improvement Advocates

Look for individuals who are fully committed to Lean and engaged with the technology platform. These people should be recognized and rewarded in some way for their dedication and success. Doing so will not only keep them enthusiastic, but it will also help the improvement culture spread.

Share Stories of Success

Along those same lines, when there are quantifiable results from improvement work, the news should be shared far and wide. Broadcasting even small successes is an excellent way to get people excited about what can be achieved. Be sure to note how Lean software played a role in the improvement.

Monitor Adoption

We have seen many cases where one department or part of the organization is quick to adopt the Lean solution, while others seem to lag behind. Someone should be responsible for monitoring use of the system to see which individuals, teams, and departments are fully engaged. Those that are not may require additional training, support, or incentives. The usage of Lean software is a good indication of the health of Lean culture, so it is something that committed executives will want to track closely.

Lean software goes a long way towards accelerating the pace of improvement, sustaining Lean culture, and quantifying the results. A solid implementation and thoughtful ongoing management are the keys to success. We hope these tips set you on your own path to achieving your own goals and aspirations.


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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

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