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Real Life Lean 014 - Systems Thinking


Today's Summary:


  • Lean Article - Lean as a System: A Primer

  • Lean Podcast - What is Systems Thinking?

  • Lean Event - Decentralized Conference

  • Real Life Lean - Atomic Habits Thoughts


Lean Article

Lean as a system - it’s a different way of thinking for sure. We often want to pick and choose different lean tools similar to an a la carte menu. In the article below, Jason Schroeder talks about systems thinking and how lean tools should not be siloed, but used to build off of one another. He provides some great graphics and this article really helped me start thinking of lean as more of a system and less of a tools. Here are links to the books he mentions The Fifth Discipline and Thinking in Systems. Total read time - 10 min.

Lean Podcast

Systems thinking during design is a unique approach that requires a different mindset. In this podcast they share a high level approach to systems thinking. They offer some good analogies, such as a car and how all parts work together to make the car function. I enjoyed this rather short podcast, and hope you can give it a listen and better understand systems thinking. Total listen time - 20 min

Lean Event

Looking to step you lean game up and learn from some of the best in the industry? This FREE 2 day event will do just that. The Decentralized Conference will take place virtually and will feature industry leaders who are making a change in our industry. You do not want to miss this event.

Real Life Lean - Lean practices in the real world

I am currently re-reading James Clear's best seller, Atomic Habits.

This time around I find myself reading the book with a lean lens on. Early in the book, James talks about the difference in setting goals vs building systems. With this weeks newsletter being heavily focused on systems design and systems thinking, I thought this was somewhat relatable.

Often times our project teams set goals and if we’re being honest, sometimes we do not hit those goals. Our teams then attempt to find the why and fail to look at the system that was in place that lead to this goal not being achieved. I think this is so often found in our lean implementation. We try to implement lean without a strong system in place to ensure it becomes a habit. When it fails, we automatically jump to the "see lean doesn't work”, instead of reviewing the system that is in place that allowed it to fail.

Some tips to avoid this

  1. Remember that lean construction is a continuous improvement engine and failing is part of the game.

  2. Ensure your team has an understanding of what you are trying to do and the WHY behind it.

  3. Have fun. Lean is supposed to make your life easier, not add stress to it.

Enjoy the ride.

Have a Real Life Lean story you think would be a great feature in an upcoming newsletter? Send me an email at tim.reallifelean@gmail.com.

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