Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kaikaku or kaizen? (2)

I recently did a mail/internet survey, asking people what kinds of training they might be interested in. (If you would like to respond to this, please tell me.)

Someone responded, "how about adopting a continuous improvement approach?" Now, we don't know what the writer had exactly in mind (although maybe I will learn more). One assumes the writer meant something like: "continuous improvement is at least as valuable as more training." So let's play this out some.

In my view, training should be part of Kaikaku...which is a rapid, large, revolutionary change. In my view, there are times to make large changes. For example, when starting Agile. Or perhaps a new project. And there are also times to make small incremental improvements (kaizen or continuous improvement).

The preferred pattern is to have occasional large Kaikaku and many, frequent small Kaizen.

Now in general I am in favor with learning that is closely tied to, and proved by action. Which is to say. "The learner has not learned unless the actions become more effective."

So, training should be used to prepare for action right away.

But let's also talk about what action is. Not as simple as it might appear.

The hardest action is to change one's own mind. The next hardest is to change someone else's mind. (Proper action in the realm of the mind can lead to tangible improvements in satisfaction for real customers.)

Let's look at one example. One can imagine sending someone who is "resisting" agile to an agile course. The resulting action might be no more than a willing suspension of disbelief, so that the team can move forward without active resistance. So, while from a certain viewpoint nothing is accomplished, yet because the team can now be more functional, much has actually changed.


Unknown said...

Recent posts elsewhere indicate Scrum is ready for a kaikaku.

- Drew

Joe Little said...

Hi Drew,

I am not clear what you are really saying. Could you explain?