Archive for the ‘Lean’ Category


April 1st, 2015 by John Gallagher No Comments



I had a friend ask me recently about a simple process they might be able to use with their team to review “How are things going?”  Often times, individuals or organizations don’t invest enough time in a formal review process that, done correctly, can make minor course corrections in tactics that get you back moving toward your objective.  Rather, they feel things aren’t working and make drastic changes and end up further off course then when they started.  Antique Compass

The 6-step process below will help get you back on track and can work with self-reflection or team reflection.

1) The simple “+/-” tool.  Draw a T-diagram with a plus on the left side and a minus on the right side of a piece of paper, a flip chart, or dry erase board and ask 2 questions:  1) what is going well (+) ? and 2) What isn’t going well (-)?  Try to list out all of the things that are going well first before moving to the what isn’t going well question.  (NOTE: If you are doing this with a team, it could be important to have each team member write each one of their thoughts down on a sticky note – 1 thought per sticky.  This ensures that you get input from ALL voices).

2) K,S,S (Keep, Start, Stop)– After reflecting on the list, list out one thing you should KEEP doing, one thing you should START doing, and one thing you should STOP doing based on the T-diagram.  The natural tendency is to START making drastic changes and do a lot more things.  Resist this urge.  You are probably already very busy.  Try hard to have no more than one Start for every Stop.  This ensures that you don’t overburden yourself or your team.   A wise friend once told me that “You can do ANYTHING you want… you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want”

3) What, Who, When – Assign accountability and due dates.  What needs to be done?  Who is responsible for doing it, and When will it be done?  Try not to extend the due dates out past 90 days.  If you have to go further than that, the task is probably too big.  Keep the list visual.  This also helps with accountability.  Post it on a flip chart in your office.

4) Ask for help –  Share your things you need to do with someone.  Share it with God in prayer…Ask for help.  Share it with your spouse…ask for help.  Share it with a mentor…ask for help.  Share it with a family member…ask for help.  Share it with a friend…ask for help.  Key thing.  Don’t try to do it alone.

5) Schedule regular reviews – Check in with yourself or others formally — weekly (maybe Friday mornings at 7:30) or monthly (3rd Monday of every month).  Keep the reviews brief.  Are you on track or not?  If you are, move on.  If you are not on track, develop a countermeasure and ask for help.

6) Continuously improve – When you get all of the items complete, did they work?  Make the new activity (or those activities) part of your new routine.  Then, repeat the process… go back to Step #1


Try it out.  Let me know how it goes. What steps would you add to this process?

Lean Donut Maker?

March 16th, 2014 by John Gallagher No Comments



It’s the lean geek in me.  I was able to attend the Duke UNC Lacrosse game recently and at the game, there was a vendor selling “mini-donuts” – Man, they smelled good!  Had to check it out.  What a great surprise when I also got to see the donut making in action:

Having trouble watching the embedded video, click the link below:

Lean Donut Maker

My mind went to the Lean concepts I was seeing… It is just how I am wired:

1) 16 pieces of SWIP – 8 cooking on each side

2) Raw material in small funnel dropping at cycle time

3) Finished donuts… Looked like about 3 sold units (I think we got 8 mini-donuts in our bag.  $6 or $0.75/donut seemed a little high)

4) So, do you think they adjust the machine based on demand?  Probably not.  We were there early enough, but the line at halftime was about 40 people long!!

Oh, and they tasted really good!  I only got one.  My son was not a very good sharer!

To my Lean geek cohorts: After learning the tools, do you find yourself constantly evaluating these types of things from a Lean standpoint?  What Lean observations outisde of ‘work’ would you share?