Visual management creates the openness and transparency that are essential for Lean teamwork. Each Lean Team should have a team board, to my opinion. In true Lean companies this is common practice, but in Financial Services I have encountered Lean teams without one. Not so in one department that I helped with the introduction of Lean, or more specifically, a Lean way of working tailored for Financial Services – Super7 Operations.
The benefits that we found from the use of team boards are:
- Team pride. Teams are proud of what they achieve, and of the improvements they have made. In this department, each Super7 team chose a team name – often a bit tongue-in-cheek – that was displayed at the top of the board. Often with pictures of the team members matching the theme of the team name.
- Output management: Each team shows their progress against the daily target, updated 4 times per day. The manager can see where help is needed, even before the question for help has been asked.
- Continuous Improvement: Each team shows the Kata-improvement or the experiment that they conduct that week. And some teams include an improvement idea list for improvements that go beyond their own team scope – which for instance the IT department can work on.
- Learning. Weekly dashboards are displayed on the boards, and ‘red lights’ are celebrated as improvement opportunities. And the evaluation of Kata-improvement actions is also displayed on the board: “what did we learn from this experiment?”
- Open and Transparent culture. Teams have nothing to hide from each other, from the management or from visitors. All results, good or bad, are displayed with pride. Good results as successes, bad results as learning opportunities.
If you are familiar with the use of team boards in production or assembly plants, as is explained in detail on www.lean.org, these benefits won’t be surprising. The question remains, however, why there are still lean teams in Financial Services that haven’t adopted this best-practice.
More information on Super7 Operations can be found in my book: Super7 Operations – the Next Step for Lean in Financial Services.
My book explains the theory of Super7 Operations in detail as well as giving practical guides for implementation of Super7 Operations in the detailed case studies. You’ll get valuable tips and tricks for implementing Super7 in your own organization, from the people that have done it before you.
Menno R. van Dijk.