Do’s and don’ts of managing autonomous teams (or Super7’s) – part III

Managing autonomous teams, or Super7 teams, requires a different management style than managing regular teams. Here’s part three of the key do’s and don’ts from my practice as a Lean Super7 consultant. This week, we’ll discuss the do’s and don’ts of management metrics and dashboards for autonomous teams. When your department introduces Super7 Operations, or other forms of autonomous teams, this may help you to adapt to the new situation you’ll face as a manager.

Do: Use quantitative metrics on output performance

Don’t: regard output as a Boolean function (i.e. true or false, the output has been delivered or the output has not been delivered)

Many managers in Financial Services Operations are used to manage by spreadsheet. When switching to output steering, they might tend to overcompensate. Instead of managing productivity, Fisrt-Time-Right and throughput time, they just evaluate whether the output has been delivered or not. The outcome is black or white, good or bad: either the team made it, or they didn’t. Managers should use quantitative metrics to measure the output. When the target output hasn’t been met, the team should be able to see by exactly how much the target was missed. This allows learning and evaluation of improvement experiments.

Do: Use the well-known Lean steering metrics to evaluate performance and to give the team insight in where they can improve. (.e.g. Efficiency (productivity, availability), First-Time-Right percentage, throughput time)

Don’t: Use these Lean steering metrics to manage the team on a daily basis.

As said, many managers in Financial Services Operations are used to manage by spreadsheet. These spreadsheets may still be of value for autonomous teams or Super7’s. However, the teams should only be managed on their performance against the daily output target. All other metrics should be used to aid in the team’s continuous improvement efforts. Dashboards and spreadsheets give valuable insight in where the autonomous team or Super7 can improve.