Friday, May 18, 2012

Another sworn enemy of LEAN-Too Many Metrics


 Metrics and goals drive behavior. People love to know where they stand! In my experience, whatever S.M.A.R.T. goals are set and visible will be reached and surpassed. As long as there are not too many. THAT can be confusing. And costly.
 Like the dashboard in your car, three to five metrics are all you really want. Speed, amount of fuel, maybe a clock and an odometer. How important would it be to you if you looked down and saw a dashboard like a 747 beyond your steering wheel? When I look at some company (and even value stream) dashboards, sometimes I struggle to figure out WHAT'S IMPORTANT NOW (WIN) because there are just too many charts, graphs and pictures. "Policy Deployment" is a concept which can be summarized as everyone in the organization (and I mean everyone) knows and has IMPACT on the strategic plan. The things you measure should tell you instantly whether you are toward or away from your goals that are set based on your strategic plan. 

People deserve to know if their daily actions are moving the organization forward or backward. Toward the goal or away. In fact, the best policy deployment is when people maintain their own dashboards. When a visitor asks about it, the process owners should know exactly what is important and WHY. I should be able to pull anyone in your company aside and they should be able to tell me what a posted metric means and why it is important. This is easier said than done, and needs to be done by your leaders at GEMBA. If everyone GETS the what and the why, you will hit your goals.

I look at over measuring as one of the 8 wastes, OVERPRODUCTION. Think about the number of hours spent daily to measure and post data points daily or weekly that are done for the sport of it. One sure way to know you are overmeasuring is when the metrics you are posting are not up-to-date. By a lot. Can you eliminate some? Does your customer care about them? (Internal and External). 5S your dashboard or you might be crying wolf!

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