If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
The philosopher John Locke, the statesman Benjamin Franklin, the transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, and the President Woodrow Wilson all presented statements matching this theme (learn more here). All of them knew that simplicity is a final state that requires hard work and clear ideas. Work executed without proper reflexion tends to be erratic, messy, partial. Only time and work can develop a concept and present it pure and clear.
It is no surprise that one of the most important Lean ideas is looking for simplicity: simple solutions, simple management rules, simple visuals. And, ironically, simplicity is not simple. It takes time, practice and patience. The first solution / panel / management system you put in place is rarely good. It typically needs time for testing and for development based on customer feedback.
Give time to simplicity.
Lean principles are based on common sense and experience, but at the same time might be counter-intuitive and in contradiction to normal practices. A Lean mental journey takes time, hands-on experience and the help of experts to be successful and understand Lean concepts in-depth. A superficial analysis of Lean can create false myths, some of which are really popular today. Let’s discuss some:
- Middle managers hate Lean: Experience has taught some people that middle managers are always against Lean transitions. Therefore they must be fired upfront: FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean means abdication: Some think that Lean means letting people do whatever they want without ony type of management: FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean principles are not consistent: Some Lean principle are apparently inconsistent or in contradiction to experience after a superficial analysis. THEY ARE NOT. Learn more here
- Lean equals “Just-in-Time”: It’s a popular belief that Lean and “Just-in-TIme” are equivalent terms. FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean hates functions: Lean puts focus on the process, which is a sign for some people that Lean does not care about functions or functional knowledge. FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean kills creativity: Lean gives extraordinary importance to standards. Some people assume that standardization implies creating robot workers without ideas. FALSE. Learn more here
- PDCA myths: There several myths about PDCA out there, like “PDCA is only for engineering” or “PDCA is just do-things-and-see-what-happens”. FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean is a set of tools: Very popular, it is easy to think that Lean is just the sequential application of some tools like VSM, 5s, kanban,… FALSE. Learn more here
- Lean hates automation: Lean loves simplicity and easy to change solutions. Some may misunderstand this love for simplicity and believe that Lean hates automation. FALSE. Learn more here