LSS define phase
Quality and customer
Standing for Board
And more …
NEW ZEALAND ORGANISATION FOR QUALITY
Meri Kirihimete,Meri Kirihimete,
Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas
Best wishes for the festive seasonBest wishes for the festive season
12 | Official Magazine of the New Zealand Organisation for Quality – November/December 2014
Q grow: LSS
Lean project management
Statistics show that over the next few years, 120,000
people between the ages of 55-65 will retire each
year.This presents serious leadership, historical and
knowledge gaps for many organisations, writes Terra
Vanzant-Stern, PhD, PMP, SPHR/GPHR, Six Sigma Master
Black Belt and lead facilitator for SSD Global Solutions.
Although much has been written about this dynamic, few
companies have prepared for this massive transformation
and utilization of the younger workforce. This makes
building strong infrastructure and support systems a
necessity. Spending time educating the workforce now on
how to engage in basic project management and process
improvement has extreme merit.
Choosing a methodology, such as Lean, increases the
success of all process improvement projects and prepares
companies to handle the labour
force transition. Lean recognises the
analytical business processes that must
take place; however, it also balances
that approach with the recognition
that people are the main drivers. Lean
emphasises the role of the project
manager along with understanding
change management and team
Basic project management (PM) is one
of the cornerstones of a successful Lean
project. At some point, every Lean idea or implementation
becomes a project. Some projects are informal, whereas
many follow Project Management Body of Knowledge
(PM-BoK) principles supported by the Project Management
Institute (PMI). Training and education in understanding the
Project Management System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
is valuable to the Lean professional.
The PM-BoK describes a project as a temporary endeavour
undertaken to create a unique product. Lean process
improvement projects are on-going with the intent of
continuous improvement. However, the Lean professional
and organisation still beneﬁt from using standard project
management when executing or evaluating process
Basic project management guidelines also provide
the framework to deliver projects with attention to
integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources,
communications, risk management and procurement.
Implementing training programmes that prepare employees
on how to recognise process improvement projects as well
as executing these projects is crucial to an organisation’s
sustainability. The advantage of adding Lean thinking and
tools to PM training is that standard project management
does not always emphasize the people factor or the
opportunity for continuous improvement. Learning to work in
teams and understanding tools that will make projects better,
faster and more cost-effective are prime learning objectives
in Lean programmes.
Meeting the customer’s expectations
The goal of PM is that the customer’s expectations
are met. The goal of Lean is that the customer’s
expectations are not only met but exceeded. Lean
chooses to ‘delight’ the customer when possible.
Meeting the customer’s expectations and achieving
consensus on scope is often a basic project
management exercise. Lean professionals know that
before expectations can be exceeded, they must be
Many tools in PM are already used in Lean, which
makes the learning process easier for employees to
digest. For example, determining Critical-to-Quality
(CTQ) factors, developing Stakeholder’s Analysis and
communication templates are common to both practices.
However, reducing risk associated with a project often aligns
closer with PM guidelines, and reducing redundancies aligns
more with LEAN thinking. Both methodologies are necessary
and valuable to the emerging workforce.
With the changing employee landscape, involvement and
understanding of basic project management, the SDLC
and Lean thinking should begin immediately, to achieve the
ultimate goal – customer satisfaction – in the future.
For further information and to comment on this article please
Many tools in
PM are already
used in Lean
• How do you know you are doing a good job?
• What do you pay attention to?
• What does ‘good’ look like around here?
• How does change happen, and how involved are you in it?
Encourage honesty and make it okay to talk frankly. Then
look at the responses. How much do we focus on the
individual performance rather than the system? How cloudy
are the answers and how well do they understand the entire
organisation? And ﬁnally, how much does the customer
feature in any of the answers?
These questions won’t give you all you need to know, but it is
a good place to start.
For further information and to comment on this article please
continued from page 13
Official Magazine of the New Zealand Organisation for Quality – November/December 2014 | 13
continued on page 12
Q grow: Lean
Your culture change is free…
I have recently been involved
in some Human Resources
work. What became very
clear, very quickly, was that
within this department, the
focus was almost entirely on
improving the organisation
through improving the
people, writes QNewZ
columnist, Sarah Benjamin.
It was also very clear that for this particular
organisation, the HR department was where all
problems went to be dealt with. The HR team picked
up and made good problems caused by the work.
In seeing this, it has never been so apparent to me that the
issues we cause for ourselves in creating and perpetuating
our own organisational problems by assuming that people
are behaving the way they are because a) they want
to; b) it’s just the way people are; and ﬁnally, c) we, the
organisation assume they are totally accountable for their
work and the way in which they do it.
Yet none of the above is true.
Work and the organisation
In over 10 years of helping organisations to improve
performance, I have never yet worked with any person who
has turned up to work in order to do a bad job. Those I
continually work with are the people who feel frustrated and
let down by the work and the organisation.
Staff battle work conditions daily. They leave work at the end
of the day feeling frustrated about what they have not been
able to achieve. During the day they attend to the results that
are beyond their control, due to the system.
They are continually facing change – absorbing it, and
feeling of limited ability to effect any worthwhile change
within the organisation.
I see new recruits ﬂoundering under a ‘sink or swim’
mentality that fails to give them clarity about role,
expectations, training and behaviour; essentially setting them
up to fail.
And then we (the organisation) are perplexed when our
people disengage, raise grievances, call in sick, or leave.
We can end up in a cycle of entire departments dealing
with people who have these issues but never really
understanding them well enough, or not being in the position
to turn them off at the root cause.
If you have any of the issues above in your organisation, they
are a symptom of bad work design. By paying attention to
them, you are likely to get more of them. It is not the people
that are the problem – it is the system as a whole.
Behaviour and systems
It was Deming who taught us that people’s behaviour
is governed by the system that they work in. This was
echoed by the work of Juran. Both went against the grain of
prevailing management thinking, and still do.
If you want profound change and
performance improvement in your
people that is not just sustainable but
continuous, you have to change the
system. You have to create one that
doesn’t judge staff individually on their
performance, but understands as a
whole the way in which the system will
or will not support what they are here to
To understand how to change people
in organisations we must understand
what inﬂuences people’s behaviour
within an organisation and how it does
so. Behaviour is conditioned by the information people
have, their knowledge of what it is they are to do and the
means provided to them to do it. It is also conditioned by the
prevailing norms – people know what is expected of them,
what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Experience
shows that there is a myriad of inﬂuences on people’s
behaviour, but it also shows that some factors have far more
inﬂuence than others.
To improve our methods of change we need to understand
more about what actually governs people’s behaviour
because, when no change occurs, it is the pattern of
behaviour that remains unchanged. Yet this is the single
common cause of failure of change programmes.
When change programmes fail it is generally because the
attempt was non-systemic (not at the root cause and the
underlying thinking). Change in performance requires a
change to the system. A change in the system requires a
change to the thinking that put it there.
But this is profoundly challenging, as it means challenging
and changing the way an entire organisation thinks about the
work, those who do the work, and the way the work works.
This takes understanding, knowledge and strong leadership.
Managers can solve ‘people’ problems
The good news is that all of the reasons that the front-line
staff can and can’t ‘perform’ will not only be well-known
to them (they experience them continuously – every day)
but they will also be entirely man-made problems. Yet if we
designed them (the work problems) in, we can choose to
redesign them, or design them out.
However, this also means a fundamental shift in the role of
people like the HR team because they can help managers
start to understand the underlying causes of our ‘people
problems’, to understand the real causes of variation in the
work and what actually prevents those in the work doing a
“decent job”. But it is a role that desperately needs ﬁlling.
Treating symptoms is not only the wrong thing to do, it’s
costly and it ties up resources in mopping up, rather than
improvement and innovation.
There are a number of questions you, as a manager, can ask
your people – especially those in the front line, in order to
start to gain an understanding of the reality of their working
culture. They include:
very well; we can
change it.” W