In Lean we start by not knowing the solution, in Mass you only start once you ‘know’ a solution. That’s why we run experiments not pilots.
Why do we need to stop running pilots and start running experiments instead?
Well, the message you give as a Lean practitioner to employees and to managers is that pilots are almost finished products, then they get very upset when they find that you don’t have all the answers and a detailed plan on how to implement them. They even accuse you of being incompetent or wasting their time. ‘this is all too wishy-washy. Just tell me what I need to do, you can be so frustrating’. They often say.
This is usually the first reaction from people who are being asked to think for themselves maybe for the first time.
We ask about how they do their work, it’s design and to think about the end to end business process and customer outcomes, this is all very strange for them.
These questions are not appropriate in the mass world except maybe at the senior management level but they cannot answer these questions- the mass design has separated them from the workplace and the data.
Lean highlights the illusion of control provided by Mass and outlines a better approach to gain and maintain control by assigning responsibility and accountability at the employee level.
So how do we start conditioning managers and employees to a shift in responsibility – by running experiments together to learn together to find better ways to meet our customers purpose together. There is no us and them.
Data and facts from the customers perspective puts everyone at the same level on the org chart.
The purpose of experimentation is to test management and employee assumptions and to find answers and solutions to the many questions they have.
One other important feature of running experiments is that we are openly saying ‘none of us know for sure the answers but we want to surface and solve our problems together’