The LNGA Program: A Guide for Organizational Change

January 17, 2019 • ILE LAB • Boaz Tamir

The Value Creating Architect (VCA) Concept Paper produced by the LNGA Design team provides us with what we need — the Definition of the Customer, the Purpose, the Work, and the Product — to embark on the journey to create a new product

(Part II of, “How to Design a Lean Enterprise – In Real Life”)

A Work Standard to Implement a Lean Change

The Lean Product Process and Development (LPPD) methodology, designed by Jim Morgan and others, demonstrated to us that product development is not solely the province of the engineers and the research and development teams, but rather of all of the organizational units, suppliers and even customers.  It is necessary to work with all of them in order to achieve innovation and creativity. From both a theoretical and empirical point of view, the LPPD has already proven itself over the traditional hierarchical (“Waterfall”) model for product development, but it has yet to become the accepted managerial practice throughout the world.  Therefore, the Lean community needs a work standard to implement the concept of a “Lean Transformation.”

The International Lean Enterprise team for the design of the Lean New Global Architecture (LGNA) met in Israel in November 2018, in order to design a global Lean standard:  a useful roadmap that would be helpful to anyone who seeks to build a Lean Enterprise organization, and, no less importantly – to anyone who is intending to facilitate this process.

Essentially, the process that we are devising covers four levels of customer-provider relations:  (1) The ILE seeks to create a LNGA standard as a guide to organizational change for (2) Lean facilitators, who support the organizational process lead by (3) Managers and leaders leading innovative change in their organization’s view of management and who therefore interact with (4) the customers of their organizations (the end-point customers, for whom the value – the products and services – have been developed).  These multiple layers could be seen as an obstacle, or – if the opportunity to examine the ideas involved in each level is taken advantage of – they can serve as an opportunity for high-quality learning.

Starting Out – the Concept Paper

The VCA Concept Paper delineates the value proposal for the customer as well as the goals for development within the framework of an Objectives & Key Results (OKR) framework, which defines the strategic objective and the operational measures for achieving that object OKR.

  1. Target Customers for the Product (LGNA as a guide for organizational change):  Managers and Change leaders. According to the traditional school of management (mass production), the product is the protagonist and marketing and sales are designed to push the product into the market by means of a sophisticated (and sometimes manipulative) advertising campaign.  In contrast, according to the Lean school, the customer is the protagonist (hero) of the story and the product has no value other than its ability to provide a response to the customer’s need (or problem).  When the customer actively participates in the development process and defines his unique need, the purpose of the provider is to suggest a solution that is tailored to this need.

The LNGA guide was designed to provide a unique response, tailored to the needs of the change leader. This creates a personification of a defined niche in the market.  Choice of the team of directors-general and organizational change leaders and the customers is different than it is for the market within the community of Lean “experts,” who develop generic products such as books, workshops, summits or Webinars aimed at Lean activists (or the OpEx community).

In our case, we chose as our target-objective group three early adaptor companies from the health, banking and digital printing fields, whose directorships had decided to embark on a journey of systemic change of their traditional school of management, and they made up our Smallest Viable Market (SVM),

  1. The purpose of the development initiative, the Value Proposition for the Customer:  Design and development of the LGNA standard, a manual or formula intended to aid change leaders in coping with the obstacles, pushbacks, dilemmas that they face, and to enjoy the serendipities that come their way, as they hike the design trail of their Lean Enterprise.
  2. The goals of the initiative: Design and development of a work language for the organizational or social Lean change leaders.
  3. Objective Key Results: A clear methodology and work principles that serve the five measures of organizational change:  purpose, organizational culture, processes, capacity development for problem-solving, and definition of the role of management.

Developing tools through on-site experiments

Facilitation of a small group of customers (the SMV) provides for testing of the LNGA through trial and error, which includes methods and tools for facilitation.  The operational methods of the work model that we are examining can be adapted to the environmental conditions and other various organizational characteristics, and the guide also includes attention to the process of how to choose the right tool and to adapt it in real time to the current situation.

The goal, transforming the LNGA guide into a standard formula for Lean change, will be achieved when the guide is widely distributed and the community of users is transformed into a global learning and sharing community. This can happen only after it has been examined together with the target SVM community of partners in the development process.  In this process, individuals with various areas of expertise from different countries and cultures have created a development team that has no hierarchy, works under conditions of complete transparency and is committed to creating value for our customers – the managers-leaders who seek to transform their workplace into a Lean Enterprise.

Boaz Tamir, ILE.

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