Absolutely killer week …

I am just coming off the most exhausting week of my professional life – and that’s saying a lot.

Like many others in web and software development, I’ve have done software death marches, pulled overnighters to beat insane launch dates, and executed massive projects with scopes that just seemed to undergo spontaneous mutations. And those have been difficult.

But nothing’s been like this past week.

A co-worker and I have been leading a week-long business process improvement project: full-time, every day, all day … and much of the night. We call them Rapid Improvement Events, and they’re part of a “Lean Improvement” process that we’re running (think: Toyota Production System).

The challenge has been that there have been serious deep-rooted divisions on the team. The difficulty is that we were not able to objectify the problem sufficiently to:

  1. make it less personal
  2. make the solution obvious

That all changed today. Finally we were able to sufficiently model the significant complexities, test (most) of the affected workflows, and ask the right questions. Finally, we achieved concensus on direction. After that, everything is easy.

(Well, that’s a lie. Execution is much, much harder than planning. But at least once you’ve agreed on a destination you can start mapping the route.)

Tonight I’ll sleep better – last night was one of those nights where you’re lying awake thinking about work and getting up to write down thoughts in the middle of the night … just so you won’t lose them.

(But having those were critical today. Always, always write down ideas that come in the middle of the night – you’ll never remember them, otherwise, and somehow the ideas you get in the daytime just aren’t as good.)

Tomorrow we present our findings to executive and Steering. What a week.

[tags] business, process, improvement, meetings, toyota, lean manufacturing, john koetsier [/tags]