This lecture will explore only one quantity: the time it takes your company to complete some work and deliver some product or service to its customers. Also called sometimes time-to-market (for those in the audience concerned about their delivery to customers and markets) or time-in-process (if you have a process-improvement perspective), lead time is a key fitness criterion to many businesses.
First, we’ll establish the utmost importance of this time metric to your business. It’s a nearly universal fitness criterion. No matter what business you’re in, it is essential to have a delivery capability with understandable, measurable lead time.
Second, since lead time is so important, we need to explore and understand its nature well enough to derive practical recommendations to our modern businesses. This is where we must face an inconvenient truth. Significant time variability in creative, intellectual, 21 st -Century work is a fact of life. Time is not a number, but a probability distribution. Therefore, to manage our work better, we need to understand its probabilistic, risk-based nature. We could, obviously, call upon some mathematical apparatus for this task, but – as the subtitle of this lecture suggests – we also have many non-mathematical, easy to understand, relatable stories and analogies to help managers grasp it.
Third, once we understand the nature of time in our modern work, we can derive practical guidance to managers on forecasting, on improving delivery of products and services to customers, on making them fitter for customers’ purpose, and on making their businesses more successful in the long term.
Alexei Zheglov is a Canadian management consultant, specialising in the Kanban method and Enterprise Services Planning (ESP). He started his career in the 1990s as a software engineer and soon began to notice all kinds of problems modern companies run into as they try to produce and deliver complex intellectual products and professional services to their customers. He tried to “do something about it” and that gradually (by 2010) brought him to Kanban, its power in simplicity, and its pragmatism that is changing people and companies. Over the years, Alexei has made several important contributions to Kanban and ESP, particularly around metrics and forecasting and the new field of Fitness-for-Purpose. He is a co-author, with David J Anderson, of the new book Fit-for-Purpose: How Modern Businesses Find, Satisfy & Keep Customers and has another book in progress. He has also helped grow the Kanban community globally through his client work, developing many better managers, leaders, and coaches, including training India’s two very first Accredited Kanban Trainers (AKTs). Alexei is recognized as a Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP) and Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT). He has served for a long time as a Program Advisor to the Lean Kanban University (LKU) coaching program. He teaches all levels of the Kanban curriculum including Kanban – the Alternative Path to Business Agility, ESP, the KCP Masterclass, and the Train-the-Trainer. At this Lean Kanban Brazil 2018 conference, Alexei will deliver one of the keynotes, exploring the nature of time it takes companies to deliver their products and services to customers. Before the conference, he will team up with Rodrigo Yoshima to teach the Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP) Masterclass to help create another group of effective Kanban method leaders in South America. After the conference, Alexei will also teach one workshops on Fitness-for-Purpose, delivery metrics and forecasting.