Out with Stage–Gates, In with Events


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I ask Allan Coletta, author of The Lean 3P Advantage this question:

You talk about the events, and that seems to be the key part of 3P that you do the work; you do the development, everything, then you get together for this event, instead of stage-gate or control-point. Do you all get together, and you bring everyone together and you hash everything out, and then go back to work? Or, is that too simplified?

Related Podcasts and Transcription: Lean 3P Design Process

Allan Coletta:  No, that a great question Joe. As I’ve been practicing this for a while now, one of the things that I’ve learned is that 3P really becomes a way of working. It is an event driven process, but we’ve had a number of events where we came up with some just tremendous breakthroughs and great ways of doing things.

After the fact, everybody goes back to their day job, and I think sub?optimizes some of the breakthroughs we’ve had because we weren’t used to working in this new 3P way of working. So what I’ve seen most successful is when all the stakeholders who are part of the event then stay connected throughout the life of that project and that’s when you really see the home runs.

You do an event; you get the big bangs, you get the big ideas out on the table; you decide on the best that you know of during the course of the event, select the best designs during the event; you build physical prototypes of it, whether it be scale, or full?size, and then when the team wraps up the event; there should be an ongoing process that maintains that.

I’ve never had the privilege of working with Shingijitsu, but talking to people who have worked with Shingijitsu, one of the things they do; I think, very very well is they have a permanent team that works on a project from the beginning to the end, and that sense is always bringing them back to the 3P values, the 3P approach.

The process is always emphasized. Inevitably, with any design, you have the best intentions, and you go along for a certain distance after you’ve completed the event, and you bump into walls. Something didn’t quite work out the way you expected. Vendor couldn’t deliver on the promise that he speculated during the event, and you have to make adjustments.

The ideal 3P is you want to always be going back to those basics; you want to go back to the process, bring the team together, get the collaborative thinking going, get the rapid prototyping going, examining the natural principles and then coming back around again with a revised solution.

The team that can do that over the long haul as a project, in my experience has been the most effective team. But as a practitioner I can tell you that’s probably the most difficult thing to do, because as companies get into 3P, and they start utilizing it. It’s very hard to change from the old way of doing things, because frankly that’s the way we were rewarded; that’s the way we grew up, and so getting people to change their behaviors.

Some of the best engineers I know are very, very guarded about the way they do their work, so they’re brilliant, they’re intelligent; they’ve got good experience, and it’s hard for them to let go of some of that control over their designs and open up to allow others to take peek inside, have a look at their designs, critique them, and prove them in many cases.

That’s something where you’ve always got to be emphasizing that with the team. That it’s good to have people look at what you’re doing and offer opinions. That’s where the great strength comes from, but I can say from experience, it’s very hard to do.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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