Why Lean Process Improvement Is The Only Way To Stay Ahead: Part Two

Why Lean Process Improvement Is The Only Way To Stay Ahead: Part Two

In our last blog, we started discussing how lean processes will help your company stay ahead and functioning effectively. Today, we’ll examine how we can help prevent burnout on your team.

Preventing Burnout

Everyone understands how important it is to work hard to achieve goals and to make sure your product is ready to go on the deadline or before a competitor releases theirs, but one area that might be hurting your team more than you might realize it is burnout. As a business owner or manager, you might be used to working long hours and long weeks, but your team might not. Even if they are ok with working these long hours, there comes a point where they might start to feel burnt out. While you could give them time off, there is a better way to prevent burnout from slowing down your project: repeatable processes.

While “repeatable processes” might sound like repetitive, menial work, that isn’t necessarily true. In the context of software or product development, repeatable processes simply mean having a standard for development cycles that include development, testing, and collaboration with other groups.

You might be more familiar with this concept under another name: iterative development. Iterative development is an incredibly powerful, and surprisingly simple, idea. Instead of looking at your goal (a piece of software or a product) as a single, monolithic “thing” that exists somewhere in the future, a more productive way of reaching that goal is to break it down into pieces that are then worked on by small teams who will develop pieces of the larger product, then come together with the other teams, see how the pieces work together, and then return to refine or enhance their pieces before moving on to the next section.

By using these smaller developmental stages, your project benefits in many ways. First, your teams won’t have to worry about everything all at once. Instead, they focus on smaller pieces that have an ultimate goal is mind. Second, your software or product will be better than if every member of your team was working to complete the larger project instead of the components. Iterative development relies on constant testing and input based on the needs of the other teams. These “smaller” steps can end up creating a number of benefits, one of the most important of which is reduced burnout.

Always remember: without your team working as effectively and efficiently as possible, your project, your product, and maybe even your company, can fall behind and lose its ability to stay competitive. If you’re concerned that your team might be on the edge of burnout or if you are putting together a new team and you want to prevent burnout or waste from happening as you get ready to begin, contact us at Big Orange Square as soon as possible. We have decades of experience working with teams and teaching them to be as effective as possible when developing products or software. We have training facilities in Colorado and Florida, and we teach all around the country. Check out some of the classes we’re offering, here. If you have any questions please reach out to us.

Why Lean Process Improvement Is The Only Way To Stay Ahead

Why Lean Process Improvement Is The Only Way To Stay Ahead

If you run a business, you know exactly how important it is to maximize everything you have. From brainpower to capital, you do everything you can to ensure that nothing is wasted because waste can cause you to fall behind. In order to stay out in front of your competition, you need every edge you can get.

At Big Orange Square, we have dedicated ourselves to helping your team learn how to improve processes across the board. We have decades of experience training people how to utilize Agile/scrum for everything from software to product development. Since forming this company, we have started training groups using our kinesthetic coaching methods which give your team a hands-on experience that will have them applying their new skills on the first day of training. Read on to learn about how our training can help you apply lean process principles that will keep your business moving forward.

Learn To Use What You Have

One of the best ways to ensure that you aren’t letting anything go to waste is to examine what your resources actually are and to make the most efficient use of them as is possible. This includes your employees. Maybe you hired a programmer or designer to work on one part of your current project but through interviews or tag-ups you learn that they’re also highly skilled in another area that could be beneficial to your project.

The same techniques you use to put your team’s skills to use as effectively as possible can also be used to make your budget last as long as possible. We can teach you to look for wasteful redundancies within the company by better examining how your employees work. Most redundancies are actually slowing your workers down, so they might know exactly where these problems are and how to fix them.

These processes might seem easy, but they’re not. They are simple to understand, but very difficult to master. That is where we come in. At Big Orange Square, we have trained thousands of people to improve their processes. While we come from software, we have also branched out into product delivery processes. We can show you how to maximize the power of your group to keep development cycles fast and effective.

We teach you to deliver early and deliver often in terms of tracking development processes. By checking early and often, your team will feel more accomplished and they will be able to better handle any problems that other teams noticed.

Learn more about how this helps your team stay fresh and motivated in our next blog!

In the meantime, if you have any questions about how we work or when you can come to a class, please contact us. If you need more in-depth training, we also offer coaching sessions where we come to you and work directly with your team to help you improve. We have decades of experience helping teams in software and product development reach and exceed their goals. Please contact us as soon as possible!

What Is Iterative Development?

What Is Iterative Development?

Maybe you’ve heard of agile product development or scrum, but you aren’t clear on the details. Maybe you’re familiar with agile/scrum in relation to software development but you aren’t sure how it can apply to your manufacturing business. These frameworks can help you be successful because of the way that they utilize iterative development to quickly and efficiently build new versions of software or a product.

At Big Orange Square, we have the experience needed to help your team learn to apply these frameworks and principles to streamline and improve product development. Whether you work in software or in an industry where you are developing physical products, Big Orange Square can push your team to improve their processes. Contact us today to learn more about how we work and read on to learn about the basics of iterative development.

What Is Iterative Development?

Simply put, iterative development is a way of breaking a project into smaller pieces where the project is brainstormed, built, and tested over and over until the project is finished. While this might not seem overly complicated, putting it into action in an efficient manner takes work and practice.

As an example, let’s think about developing a clock.

To start, you would split your team up based on their strengths. One team might be made of materials experts while another is made up of members who understand power sources while the last team is made up of designers and fabricators. Each team starts working on the most pressing issues that they know they need to overcome to achieve the end result: the best possible clock.

When each team accomplishes one goal or overcomes a problem, they reconvene with the other teams, combine the newest iterations of their tasks, and then start the process again using the newest form to build from. By returning to the smaller groups with new knowledge and new problems to be solved, the development cycle actually moves more quickly because the issues are being attacked from multiple sides and anticipated before the product is “finalized.”

Going back to the example of the clock — the materials team might determine that Material A might be the best choice because, while it may be more expensive than Material B, it weighs less and therefore requires less power to operate. This discovery allows the power source team to spend more time working on making its energy source smaller and more affordable, while the design team can use the lighter material to come up with innovative designs.

If you’re interested in helping your group improve their process and products, contact us today. We have decades of experience working with teams who are trying to improve their procedures and products by maximizing every second and every cent. At Big Orange Square, our goal is to help you build Twice the Product in Half the Time™. We accomplish this goal by teaching your team to think differently and to be able to pivot and change according to the newest and most important data available. Get in touch with us today to see how we can assist your team.

Hands-On Learning

Hands-On Learning

If you’ve recently decided to put together a team to develop a new product, you might be a little overwhelmed at all of the work that needs to be accomplished before you have a viable prototype that can be thoroughly tested, improved, and then produced.

At Big Orange Square, we’ve developed a method of teaching agile production in a way that makes its tenets intimately familiar to everyone who participates! Whether you’re in software or product development, this class can help your team learn to harness the power of iterative development. By approaching development in this way, not only will you be able to have a working product sooner, your product will already have many of its problems worked out before it gets into the hands of consumers. Contact us today to learn about how we can teach your team or read on to learn a little bit about our innovative process!

Our Agile/Scrum Process

In order for the ideas behind Agile/scrum to really make sense, we employ several different stages in our process to fully illuminate the ways that you can make it work for you. Because every company is different and every group of people are working with a different set of skills, we try to impart this new knowledge in ways that translate easily for everyone.

The Quick Simulation

During the quick simulation, we teach you how to make different technologies work together by having groups separately build the components of a small car. After the individual pieces have been constructed, we then bring them together to form a working model. During this stage we try to teach you how to divide a project and what each team needs in order to produce work that is not only useful on its own but as an important part of a larger project.

The Extended Simulation

This is where we kick these principles into high gear. During the extended simulation, your team will build a car! We provide some of the basic systems and then teach you how to bring them all together by working on smaller teams that work toward completing the entire project. By scaling up the processes in the quick simulation, you can see how your team works towards meeting larger goals.

The Results

Not only will your team have had the fun of completing this project together, we will also sit down with your entire team and go over YOUR process to see where these techniques can benefit your business. This simulation works well for any kind of business, not just automotive groups. We choose to teach using cars because they are complex machines that all of us understand on some basic level. This familiarity allows your team to jump into the simulations without having to learn all of the ins and outs of another kind of software or product.

The Eclipse And Agile Principles

The Eclipse And Agile Principles​

This will be a quick blog, but it hits at an incredibly important principle that we all need to think about when we’re trying to make our processes as effective as possible. For this to make sense, you’ll need to know Agile Principle #10. This principle is all about simplicity: the art of maximizing the work not done.

Peter and Hubert demonstrated this principle with pictures of the solar eclipse. Each one of them used different tools to do the same thing: see the total solar eclipse that passed over the United States on August 21st, 1017 from our training center in Longmont, CO.

Peter used a cereal box. It’s simple, and it worked. Using it, Peter was able to (safely) see the moon pass in front of the sun. The projected image was small and lacked detail, but it cost basically nothing.

Hubert is more sophisticated (or so he thinks), so he used a telescope. The picture is much larger and more detailed than the one through the cereal box, though the telescope was far more expensive than a box of cereal.

Consider value: if value is defined as having an amazing experience, is Hubert’s scope (with its substantial price tag) really worth it, or was simply being close enough to the path of totality to experience an incredibly rare and strange darkening of the sky for a few minutes all that was needed? If we want to study solar prominences, Peter’s cereal box really won’t give us enough data to even start, and for that matter, if we want to take it very seriously, is Hubert’s investment of the telescope even enough? As you can see, there are several ways to look at how this agile principle is important when thinking about your business. The eclipse is a great way for us to remember to do the most simple thing that could possibly work — not anything more simple.

We hope you had a great experience with the eclipse, both Peter and Hubert did! If you’ve been searching for a way to push your team to the next level through the application of agile/Scrum principles, contact us at Big Orange Square today. With training centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Longmont, Colorado, we are ready to help your team embrace lean process improvements in software or industrial design. We guide your group through a number of projects where everyone actually gets hands-on to develop and create something. Time and time again, our clients have seen this kinesthetic learning yield great returns in process improvement and design time. Work with us and you’ll see how we can help you get “Twice the Product in Half the Time.™”