Eliminating Waste

I'm sure that you have come across something that your team thinks is really a waste of time and provides no benefit, yet you do it everyday as part of your daily motion. Things like that just slow you down and make your team less efficient. So why not go an eliminate that waste? Why carry on if it provides nothing of benefit? It would be much better if you actually found something that worked for your team, and you all find valuable.

Fix The Small Things First

When people start on this journey, they often want to jump in and try to fix the biggest inefficiencies first. While this may work, it is in my opinion often better to eliminate the smaller things first.

The reasoning for this would be that smaller things are easier to achieve and by checking them off, you mentally feel like you are achieving something. In addition, as you will probably have a few small things to eliminate or fix, by constantly fixing them you make it a habit within the team. Often I have seen situations where people do it for a short period, and then it starts to die off.

What is the Best Thing to Start With?

For me, the important thing is that you start with something. It is more important to get the ball rolling as opposed to choosing the "right" task. So instead of debating on what is the best, and in doing so creating waste, just choose one.

Make It Part of Your Culture

Your goal as a leader should be to make this part of your culture. You want to empower your team members to speak out about anything that they think is not providing value. The last thing that you want is for people to think "This is a waste of time!" and just go on with their lives. In saying this, you first need to make sure that your team is not afraid of speaking their mind and not worried about "stepping on people's toes". If they are that will need to be addressed first, before you embark on this journey.

For me, the process of eliminating waste and improving the team is one of the most important things that you can do. We often do this in our retrospectives, where we discuss as a team on how to improve, but you can do it however you want. You will see that doing this simple task will take your team from being good to great.

Until next time...keep learning!

Mauro Da Silva

Learning everyday about software development, leadership & self improvement

South Africa