What did I learn at the North America 2019 Lean Exchange Conference

I attended the Lean Product Development Exchange again this year and yes I was a keynote speaker, yes I’m on the board but I also attended as an attendee where I listen, learned, exchanged experiences and I this as my ‘skill set vitamin shot’. This is my time to learn and to grow my skill set on lean product development. Its so great to get inspired (sometimes again) either through a keynote presentation or when attending a hands-on workshop.

Increasing the speed of product development

This years theme was ‘increasing the speed of product development’ and the conference started with workshops on Monday, key conferences Tuesday and Wednesday and it ended Thursday with in-depth workshops. So a full packed agenda dedicated the “E” – it’s all about the exchange. These were some of the titles: What a great R&D / PD culture looks like, Slow down to speed up, How using visual management accelerates the development process, Increasing the speed of information flow, The Rising need for PD speed and Knowledge based product development.  I learned so much and here are a few of the highlights that I brought home with me and remember development knowledge fuels your business strategy.

7 Lean Principles

I joined Dantar Oosterwal The Lean Machine 6+1 workshops and I love his definition: Closing the gap between what is known at the beginning of a project and what needs to be known to launch a product. This is so true, I can look back at projects where my team would have made other decisions (and maybe better) if we had the knowledge earlier in the project. So how do you speed up the product development process and how do you make sure that the team (or company) has the right knowledge at the right time so they are able to take the right decision? The answer is lean product development Lean product development consist of 7 principles and you need to embrace all of them. You can start with a few and then expand or you can go for the full ‘package’ – how to master them and how to succeed with them is all about the people, the implementation and the culture in your company. These are the lean 7 principles:

  • Set-based – Positive learning cycles
  • Re-usable knowledge
  • Close to the customer (VoC)
  • Visual Management
  • Teams of responsible experts
  • Lead with entrepreneur system design
  • Portfolio cadence and flow

Want to go more in depth on the 7 lean principles be sure to sign up for the workshops at the 2020 North America Lean Exchange conference in October. Click here for more information

Company Culture

I also attended Terry Barnhart presentation  and it was great to listen to a topic that address the company culture, because how can you implement new lean product development principles without talking about the people and the company culture. It’s all down to the people in you company – key behaviors is the magic and will be the way to drive a change implementation within your company.  How many times have you been in a meeting and you all have different levels of information, it takes time to get everybody on the ’same level’ of knowledge and then when you are there it’s easy to agree on actions or to agree on new decisions. It’s like knowledge taking on a new meaning – Equally informed people seldom disagree.

Visual Management Mindset

One of the lean product development areas that are close to my heart is the visual management mindset and Matt Albin had a super presentation. To illustrate a project visual is in my mind the best way to communicate within a team. It creates an overview where the project/work is visible and in the same way showcase the problems (problems are also visible) which all conclude in solving the problems as a team. Showcasing the problems visual creates a equal foundation for the team and they can solve it together (or make decisions based on the same knowledge) Creating a visual project board is not the only thing you need to create – there is more behind it. you need to have meetings (short meetings like a quick huddle) along with lean thinking and lean behaviors. If you succeed with a visual project board, huddles and a thinking/behaviors principles you have now created a high performing team. This doesn’t happen overnight this takes dedication, time, being patient and a great team that are open minded to learn and improve.

Usable Knowledge – build a lean system

Norbert Majerus addressed how the right useable knowledge in the right place at the right time drives speed of product development. He highlighted how important it is to understand the lean principles,  implement what you need and to build a lean system, when you have a system then comes continuous improvement together with a culture of excellence. The whole build a system and to build what you need is so important, start with one or a few of the lean principles. Share the success stories and then expand with more of the lean principles, you will learn everyday and you will learn together with your team. You will build a system that is unique for your company and for your company culture (this is the secret sauce to success and a competitor can’t copy it, it takes time, structure, the right people, the right mindset to build a lean machine)

See you in 2020

Hope to see you at the North America Lean Exchange in October 2020! www.lppde.org Date: October 5-8th 2020 Newport, Rhode Island Sign up now and get early bird discount 

Remember to define your solutions for the tomorrow’s challenge not todays problems