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Look at the Evidence – the Spike and Delay Pattern in Social Care

Posted Posted in Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

A number of years ago, I was transforming a city’s social care directorate and, as part of that transformation, we aimed to reduce the time it took to do anything when interacting with the service. The transformation was based on a more fundamental need to free up workers to be able to do the work they were meant to do rather than having to fight the fires caused by delays and resulting failure demand. I instigated a methodical approach for identifying which cycles to focus on first. As the team progressed through the cycles, I noticed a pattern; it’s the spike of activity followed by a lengthy delay as discussed in a previous article. As we looked in particular at a few cycles of spike followed by a delay, I routinely advised the team to question the need for that common […]

speaker

The Delay Following the Spike – Issues with Cycle Time in Service Industries

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

How long does it take you to do what your customers want? Not just the first part, but the whole of it? 1. The Pattern I see this pattern commonly replicated across service industries. It involves a very short spike of activity (e.g. 5-20 minutes) followed by a lengthy delay where something is sent to the customer and the organisation waits for the return. This is followed by a 2nd spike of activity which in turn is followed by another lengthy delay. Depending on the bureaucracy involved, this process may involve several rounds of spike and delay, each adding to the overall delay in service for the customer and, most likely, increasing failure demand on the organisation. 2. Some Samples Let’s have a look at a few industries and see how this pattern plays out: 2a. Retail Industry Take for […]

Books

Where Do I Learn? – Part 2 – Books

Posted Posted in Articles, Mentoring and Training, Methodology, Service Redesign, Startups, Strategy

If I’m driving, I’m listening to podcasts. If I’m travelling by train, then I’m reading. I typically read books that don’t directly relate to my profession, but those that I hope will change my approach to how I work with clients. For every client I go to, I end up mentoring business analysts, business architects, programme manager, project managers and other change programme staff. So I’ve kept a list of references (not just books) on Evernote and I tailor it to the person I’m mentoring at that time. Here’s the list of books that I recommend: 1. Lean 1.1. Womack and Jones: Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation http://amzn.to/1sCHWwD This is the book I recommend to anyone trying to understand lean for changing services and organisations. However, once you understand, you’ll start applying it to other areas […]

The Rockstar Approach to Visual Management

Posted Posted in Articles, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

Visual Management Done the Rockstar Way Visual management can take the most unlikely of forms. Done well, it should show you enough details at a glance so you can decide whether to look further into the situation. Background Major bands get riders, often part of the contract stipulating what the venue will provide the band to make them comfortable on the road. This can be sofas, champagne, beer, food cooked to a certain standard or even a curry take-away flown in from a specific restaurant in Wales. Some of the items on the riders are tiny and we’d consider them petty, but major stars have lived up to their diva reputations by blowing full-scale tantrums at not having their riders met. No Brown M&Ms One of the most legendary of these was the American hard rock band Van Halen. As […]

Lean Service Improvement Book

Service Improvement Book – In Progress

Posted Posted in Book

After a year or so working with a large, complex client and some time before that working on a startup, I’m back to writing the book I started a couple of years ago. Three good things have come from this break: Both of the experiences have confirmed that the book needs to be written. What I have seen in the last two years has proven to me that there is a gap and this book will fill that gap Both of the experiences have provided more evidence about which tools and techniques work well From a personal perspective, the break has given me more motivation to complete the book I expect to be publishing in 2016.

Applying Lean Startup in the Public Sector

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Transformation

Yesterday, I presented at #Leanconf 2013 in Manchester. It was the first Lean Conference covering Lean Startup in Europe. There was a great energy to the 2-day event with a variety of planned and unplanned talks plus lots of opportunity to network without the usual tradeshow conference feeling of being stalked by sales managers. I don’t think I’ve seen a community spirit like that in a long time; every attendees helped someone else no matter how far along their own ideas were. In the spirit of the energy that I encountered at the conference, I’ve placed the slides on slideshare. If you download the presentation, you can read the notes which will help you make more sense of the slides. Hopefully the video will be online as well soon. When it is available, I’ll update and post a link to […]

Lean Service Improvement Book

Forthcoming Book on Improving Your Own Service

Posted Posted in Articles, Book

Some of you may already know, I’m in the process of writing a book on improving your own service. I’m aiming the book at the people who work the process themselves, e.g.: nurses social workers claims adjusters HR/OD staff office managers office administrators hotel staff and their managers and change agents/analysts As you can see, it’s not restricted to any industry, but will be most relevant to those working in service industries (whether from private, public and 3rd sector), so that should include: public sector health finance retail leisure legal More accurately, the information in the book could be useful for any industry, however there already exist books for improving manufacturing production processes, so I have not covered them. What’s the book about? The focus is on improving a service without recourse to large consultancy fees and should work well […]

Be The Customer

Be The Customer

Posted Posted in Articles, Transformation

Introduction I really believe in getting customer input, especially before you build you product or service. Lean Six Sigma includes the concept as part of Voice of Customer, Lean Startup and similar methods include the concept within Customer Development. If you work for an existing organisation that currently delivers products/services rather than a start-up, sometimes it’s easier to actually be your customer than to gather their input. Many companies try to get closer to customer needs by using mystery shoppers. Again, depending on your product this avenue may not be necessary. Examples I’ve been reminded of this many times when I see a process that just doesn’t make sense for the customer, but looks like it would have made sense for the person working in the office who created the process. I’ll discuss three examples below: Traffic Wales I was driving back […]

Introducing the new Questions and Answers

Posted Posted in Articles, Transformation

Starting this week, I’ll be answering your questions on Lean and Lean Startup and how they can be applied to the public sector. I’ll also answer questions on wider subjects of business transformation and change management, although I expect most will relate to Lean in public sector and/or Lean Startup in existing organisations. I’m assuming that any questions you ask me are public and can be posted on this site and publicly responded to. If you need a private response, let me know in the question and I’ll treat it so. The idea behind this is to share some of my experiences, e.g. how I’ve overcome some of the typical obstacles to change or what to expect when transforming a public sector operation. You can keep up-to-date with the questions and my answers by subscribing to the newsletter in the […]

Kanban prototype for an NHS Acute service

Lean Cost Benefit Analysis of a Quick Improvement

Posted Posted in Articles

Last week, I was provided with the short opportunity to improve a service within an NHS Acute Trust. I had 5 minutes to understand the problem and then I suggested a quick improvement. I’d like to take you through how we arrived at a solution and the resulting lean cost benefit analysis of that solution. I don’t get that involved in the individual solutions anymore, instead I’m usually engaged for more strategic issues and end up mentoring others to make the changes across the whole organisation or enterprise. So it was fun to roll up my sleeves and suggest a solution that could work in a hospital. I fully expect the team to modify it to suit their specific needs and I’ll be on hand to help them improve it. So let’s get to the calculations: Lean cost benefit analysis Analysis […]