Showing posts from September, 2006

Flow vs. Function

I have written a presentation comparing flow organizations and functional organizations. You can check it out here if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Systems Thinking: Five-Why

In the Systems Thinking series of posts (also including Systems Archetype: Shifting the Burden and Systems Archetype: Shifting the Burden to the Intervenor ), I try to show the basics of how complex business systems interact. With the systems archetypes, it is possible to find standard solutions to common problems, but there is still a piece missing. In a specific case, how do you find the root cause to your problem? Have you ever worked in a project, or workplace, where it feels as if you are spending all your time fighting little fires? Usually, all those little fires stem from a few root causes. Unless you want to spend your time fire-fighting, you had better find the root cause of your problems, and deal with that. There are many methods of finding root causes. One of my favorites, because it is so simple, is Toyota's Five-Why method. The idea is that when you are faced with a problem, you ask why that problem occurred. When you find the thing that caused your problem, you as

Going With the Flow

So, maybe it's not a full month. Then again, I'm not really back. I am writing this in an Internet cafe in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. If you want to study one-piece-flow, and want to see why moving small batches around is better than lugging large ones, HCMC is the perfect place. The streets here have more traffic than anything I've ever seen. There are very few traffic lights, and driving on the right side of the road is sort of a very loose agreement. Also, the most common vehicles are scooters and light motorcycles. There are 30 million scooters in Vietnam, and by the look of it, most of them drive by my hotel each day. (I'll upload some pictures when I get back.) One would expect the result to be total chaos and confusion. It isn't! Actually, the traffic flows like nothing you've ever seen (unless you've been here, of course). There are two reasons for this. The first is that though the streets are packed with vehicles, each vehicle is small and manouver