Thought Map

Thought map

Have you tried to reach a goal or solve a problem without succeeding at your first attempt? Maybe you fixed the symptoms, not the root cause? Perhaps the problem was not well understood? Or maybe the goal was unclear?

There may be many possible explanations. For whatever reason, a Thought Map (or Mind Map if you prefer) will help you structure the way to the goal.

A Thought Map includes questions and ideas that arise when we are dealing with a challenge. By going back to the Thought Map if we fail the first time, we can look at the facts with new eyes and discover other solutions. Test out new hypotheses and repeat the process.

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Specific goals

Specific goals

 

Have you overcome more than you thought was possible? This summer we celebrated my father’s 70 birthday and I held a speech for him. Many nice things can be said about my dad, but I can’t get away from the fact that he tested my limits...

My family enjoy outdoor activity, and growing up, my dad was leading our trips. Unfortunately, the goal changed along the way:

"We reached this summit, but that summit looks even nicer. Let’s go there!"

"The bus will not leave until several hours. Let’s walk home instead."

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Good flow gave world record

Good flowI am impressed by the flow at Espa Bolleland, a Norwegian gas station 90 km north of Oslo.

Espa bolleland is a natural stopover for us when we drive to our cabin. We can get freshly baked buns, coffee and a toilet visit if needed. We are not alone: lots of cars passing by, choose to stop here.

What's so amazing with Espa bolleland, is that besides all their visitors, you experience a good flow. They have people guiding the traffic in and out. The delivery of buns and coffee is done in a moment. Even toilet visits go relatively fast even at crowded days.

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Lean thinking

lean gårdsdrift

 

It's fun to hear about people and businesses that succeed using Lean and Six Sigma. They practice the tools because of the value.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a former colleague, Iver Frøsli, who combines a full-time job with farming.

He has about 120 sheep in total: 70 of them are lambs. To save time, Iver practice Lean at his farm. This means he removed time-thieves, performs standardized work and asks "Does this increase value?" when performing activities.

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Problem solving

Problem solving

 

A large cosmetics company received a complaint from a customer. She had bought one of their most popular soaps, but when she opened the box, she discovered it was empty.

The management took the complaint seriously, and identified the problem fast. The assembly line that was carrying boxes of products to the distribution department had no way to detect empty boxes.

Afraid this would happen again, the management asked a group of engineers to solve this challenge. The engineers quickly started developing a fluoroscopy machine with two large, high-resolution displays. Two people would staff the machine and remove empty boxes from the conveyor belt before reaching the distribution department.

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Do you overreact?

processcontrol

 

When do you respond to a test result? Do you use facts or intuition? Do your customers decide when to react?

Or maybe you use statistical process control?

How do you react? Do you start looking for a special cause? Or maybe you review the entire process and consider factors that may influence?

It is easy to overreact to normal variation. There will always be variation present.

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Challenge established truths

challenge established truths

 

To me, Lean Six Sigma is about challenging established truths by asking critical questions and require facts. Critical questions enable us to develop and innovate.

Critical questions can be perceived as criticism therefore it is important to focus on the process, not the person. If we ask questions because we are curious and want more knowledge, the chance of being heard is greater.

An established truth within Six Sigma is that six sigma process involves 3.4 errors per million opportunities. It is an established truth that I want to challenge. 

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Gratitude

rsz 1takknemlighetIt's the end of November and many people are celebrating Thanksgiving. For me November is a milestone because I started my company Lean Tech, 3 years ago in November.

Statistics show that 70% of new businesses in Norway do not survive the first 5 years. I am both proud and grateful that my company has survived so far.

I have a lot to be grateful about: Customers who have shown me trust, partners who have included me and had faith in me, trainers who have inspired me and taught me new fields, not to mention those who have cheered along my way.

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What will you master today?

mestring

During a trip with Lillomarka orienteringslag, I secured children who climbed up a 10-m high outdoor wall.

A challenge for many of them.

Some came up on the first try, others had to give up because of fear or other reasons.

It was incredibly fun to watch the sense of mastery children experienced when they reached the top. Especially those who did not reach the top on their first attempt. Those who gave up during the first day, but came back the next day with determination in their eyes: “This time I will make it!"

 

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Are meetings stealing your time?

tidsstyring

Have you been to a meeting, and questioned the value of the meeting afterwards?

Maybe the meeting was relevant to some of the participants, but not to all of them?

Poor preparation may also cause the meetings to last longer.

Discussions outside the scope of the meeting may be another reason for inefficient meetings.

Implementing meeting rules can improve meeting effectivness. 

 

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Are your processes capable?

robust process

I have experienced operators adjusting a machine in despair because the machine produced rejects. No matter how much they adjusted, the machine still produced rejects.

The adjustments did not help, in fact it resulted in more rejects. What was causing the rejects?

The machine was not robust enough to deliver the desired result.

How about your processes? Are they robust?

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Quality every time


quality improvement

I do not intend to start a discussion about which came first, the chicken or the egg. I leave that to others :-)

However, this post is about boiling eggs, and how to always achieve the same quality of a process.

I had a summer job at “Sjømennenes Helsehjem” many years ago, and how to boil the eggs was a hot topic. The customers / residents were not always pleased with the boiled eggs. However, it was complicated to please them since some residents were very happy while others were dissatisfied, with eggs cooked exactly the same way.

They had different preference for quality.

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What is the root cause?

rotårsak

A few weeks ago I was on a job trip, where the return journey did not go according to plan.

The result was a missed air plane, and Hertz received a damaged car in return.

What really happened and what was the root cause?

We visited customers at Meløy, (3 hours drive from the closest airport Bodø). Normally you can drive, but due to a rockslide the road was blocked, and a ferry was the only alternative.

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This is NOT Lean

NOT-lean

I really like the book "This is Lean" by Niklas Modig & Pär Åhlström. I believe the book describes what Lean is, an easy and understandable way. Lean is all about flow.

I like smooth flow. It also applies to traffic. I do not like queues and unnecessary waiting.

The other day I experienced poor flow. Close to where we live there is a road construction, which means that there is only one lane. Therefore, they regulate traffic with a traffic light for a distance approximately 15 m long. That is fine!

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How much is your time worth?

time-managementWhat do you do to ensure you spend your time right?

How do you evaluate, plan and improve your time management?

My motivation for being self-employed is the freedom it gives me. The freedom of managing time as I like. 

It is easy to skip registering non-paid hours, and the activities you do that are not billable. You have the freedom not to. However, it makes it hard to remember back how you spend time. It is difficult to evaluate, plan and improve.

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You always have options

You-always-have-optionsBy chance I came across an old article during Christmas. The story gave me a reminder of making good choises, and I believe it is a good start for the new year. Here it is: 

Magne is always in a good mood. He is positive and a natural motivator. If a colleague have a bad day, Magne helps them to see the positive in the situation. One of his colleagues were curious about how he always managed to be this way, and asked him straight forward.

"Every morning I tell myself that you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

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Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Merry Christmas

Lean Tech wish you a peaceful Christmas holiday, and a happy new year!

Christmas time is a nice time to think back at the past year and set some goals for next year. I am excited about the online training I am launching next year. I hope to see enthusiastic participants at my courses!

I hope you have made some goals for next year that motivates you, and I wish you all the best in accomplishing your goals.

 

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Which sense react fastest? Vision or hearing?

statistical process control

What do you think?

The best way to find out is to test! It is possible to test it at the Norwegian museum of Science and Technology.

I did an experimental design where I tested age, gender and sense (vision and hearing). My brother in law (35 years), my son (10 years), my niece (7 years) and I (41 years) were volunteers. We took the time we spent on registering sound and light.

My brother in law was a tiny bit faster than me when reacting to sound, followed closely by my son and my niece. For light my brother in law was fastest, then my son, followed by me and my niece. What does this result mean?

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«Sharing is caring»

sharing-is-caring-webdesignThis expression gave a new meaning to me when I suddenly received more than 100 comments at my blog, with a lot of positive feedback. Wow! When readers share their thoughts, it gives a lot of motivation and direction for my new articles. Thank you:-)

I notice several readers have question about my web design, so this blog article are for those of you that are interested in this subject.

When I started my own company November 2013, I knew nothing about web design. Because a friend recommended Joomla, I decided to go for this instead of WordPress (sometimes I have doubted this choice because I found Joomla rather complex, having no previous web design or programming experience…).

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Asking questions

RussellI saw a show with Ian Russell, and I found it inspiring and informative. He is excellent at asking questions and interact with his audience, while teaching science. He made some good points I will share here.

He talks about how children are curious and asks questions, while grown-ups tend not to. Why is that? Why do we stop questioning things? Ian encourages us to become more curious of our surroundings, to ask questions and to investigate. I am sure a lot of the kids watching his show, started their own experiments when they got home. Mine did.

What about us grown-ups? Most of the grown-ups on the show were there because of their children. They did not want to raise their hands and share their opinion when Russell asked question.

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Motivation

motivationI signed up for Axtri, Aurland Extreme triathlon that takes place 8.15.2015. The triathlon consists of 1900 m swimming in the fjord, 98 km cycling with a total elevation gain of 3050 m and 21 km running with 1100 m elevation gain.

Normally I find such challenges exciting, and that is why I signed up for this almost a year ago. However, this time I experience a lack of motivation. I do not look forward to swim in the cold water, which probably has a record low temperature with the late snow melting and this year’s cold summer. Why should I expose myself to this? I have not prepared myself very well either. I know I can get into my 8-year-old wetsuit, but otherwise I cannot brag about my swimming preparations. Five swimming sessions this year. Will it be enough I wonder?

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Overcoming fear

overcoming fear

I went to Oslo Summer Park together with my oldest son, where you can climb trees, experience different elements, and challenge yourself. There are several routes with different level of difficulty, where you climb, balance, use zip lines and rope, while being secured with harness, slings and carabiners. After trying several routes, we discovered someone doing the "Tigerspranget", meaning "Tiger Leap". It is a 25 m high pole with a platform on top, where you can jump out while being secured. It looked very exciting!

My son and I decided to try. We had nothing to lose. It was not dangerous, and we like new challenges. 

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Quality improvement

"The devil is in the detail"

quality-improvementYou achieve quality when you control the important details. When improving quality it is important to consider all the details. However, some details are more important than others. If you can select the details that matter the most and focus on them you will achieve quality. This applies to athletes, manufacturing companies and everyone else. I work mostly with manufacturing companies and use tools within Six Sigma to improve quality. Six Sigma has much in common with Lean, meaning customer focus, process understanding and focus on measurements rather than intuition. A challenge when it comes to quality improvement can be to identify the critical factors and then to control them.

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Variation

Variation; positive or negative?

variationVariation is positive in contexts like "Varied workday," "varied training", "varied lives", etc. For manufacturing companies variation can create headaches and huge cost. Variation of process parameters can cause the product quality to vary more than desired, resulting in customer complaints and quality costs. 

All processes are subject to variation. Some might protest, but if you go into depth of things, you will always find differences. Two "identical" houses will be different if you study them more closely; nails are placed differently, the wood will be slightly different and have branches in different locations, etc. Even identical twins will be a little different when you become familiar enough with them.

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