Every day, your team goes to work and creates defects. You can call them mistakes, bugs, technical debt, rework, or any other glossy phrase, but they are all defects. They are created by your team, doing your work without enough information.
In construction, if people go to work uninformed, they put their lives and the lives of others in danger. This visual control for a construction jobsite tracks the Pre-Task Plans (PTPs) for all the trades working that day. A PTP is a short document that shows the foreseeable hazards or risks (complexity) the team might face that day, and quick mitigations for those risks.
The PTP is a collaboration between teams to avoid deadly dependencies or conflicts. It is a collaboration between those doing the work and those managing the project to make sure everyone is protected.
The PTP has some basic elements:
steps for the work today,
hazards on site,
are the teams in the right environment,
are they trained,
are they motivated,
and what controls are in place to mitigate any shortcomings.
A clear, effective visual control.
The board also shows who is on site that day and where they are working, so everyone is informed of the work being done, by whom, and where.
Every software team, insurance team, graphic design team, support team… and so on that I meet is currently going to work with almost no information on what they are doing or why, let alone the risks they might be facing and where defects might arise.
We’ve started finding ways to introduce the wisdom of the PTP into knowledge work. How can we be informed, up front and in real time, about the risks and complexities we are facing so that we can be real professionals, creating work we are proud of, in a safe environment.
What information is your team missing? What defects do you take for granted that could be avoided? Is your team really professional or merely craftspeople giving it their best guess?
About Jim Benson
Jim Benson is an award-winning Lean and Agile systems designer. He is the creator of Personal Kanban and Lean Coffee. He is the co-author (with Tonianne DeMaria) of the best seller: Personal Kanban. His other books include Why Limit WIP, Why Plans Fail, and Beyond Agile.
He is a winner of the Shingo Award for Excellence in Lean Thinking and the Brickell Key Award. He and Tonianne teach online at Modus Institute and consult regularly, helping clients in all verticals create working systems. He regularly keynotes conferences, focusing on making work rewarding and humane.