Perhaps you are already dealing with software products that give you a full-bodied digital implementation of lean construction. Those of you have not visited websites that promise the visitor a lot and suggest that it will be much easier with their software. In the lower part of the website you will see an impressive number of well-known companies, who will then be happy and willing to appear as references. The visitor is impressed and that is what he is supposed to be.
At first view, everything looks pretty good. In the next step, log in to the website and start your first small attempts. Create sticker, enter information. That’s really good. At second view, everything is fine. They are going to go on spontaneously on one of the next few days. They think about which processes they want to reproduce, who should participate in these processes, and what their it will hold of the product. Whether it comes to the third view is uncertain.
Actually, I wanted to continue writing in this direction, but I decided to interpret the third view differently.
Many of you have learned lean construction and similar methods using Whiteboard, message boards, and self-adhesive sticky notes, and are now trying to transfer the learned to software products.
The first view or the Kanban board
Kanban and lean construction do not work according to the push principle, but according to the pull principle. The digital notes are continuously moved from left to right by the users in several process steps (lanes).
It also works with sticky notes on the wall but is usually done differently. The team meets at the beginning of the week. The left pane contains all the tasks that you want to do this week. The tasks are then distributed or taken and placed in the column with the day of the week where the scheduled completion is to take place. The right pane then contains all the completed tasks. At the beginning of each week the last week is discussed, the sticky notes are removed, discussed and placed on the right. That’s a little „Work in Progress“.
You can then add a lot of information on the digital notes. This results in charts. All this is a must for a software. That’s why all software developers control it.
The second view and the inclusion of time
If someone promises to do a job, then we are not talking about any Monday, but about a concrete Monday. In most software products, a bar chart is then taken again for display. The one part shows these bar graphs as charts, the other part of the software products allows for slight changes to the task. The graphical user interface is not modifiable.
Only Lean4Team allows to represent the same task depending on different individual topics (WBS work breakdown structure). At the same time, the user has the option to visualize the tasks as a bar chart or as a square sticky note. This optics makes it easier for users of paper notes to switch from paper to digital.
Both graphical views are connected bidirectionally. In the paper method, lean construction takes place verbally and on the wall, you have a single structure depending on the time. The digital version makes most of the discussions visible and the graphic boards make the representation spatially independent. Lean construction is supported by Lean4Team leaner.
The third view and the inclusion of Excel
The inclusion of Excel should not be taken too literally. But the comparison provides a better understanding because each of them works with Excel spreadsheets. The software products for lean construction, Kanban, etc. are about tasks and their execution. Why not use a classic table view as well? There are plenty of confusing explorer structures. Many developers like to go back to it if they don’t have other solutions.
Tables support each and every one of us to collect data or gather data. However, tables could also help us to arrange information or to build first necessary structures and then populate them with content.
Tables could also help us to see if something is missing or not. Have I created all the tasks in my lean construction project or do I still lack any tasks? In an explorer tree, I don’t see it, but in a table. I have a grid of individually labeled columns and rows. In each intersection or cell, I now expect a suitable task to be present. In the last few months I have received some Excel spreadsheets that have been entered when something has been generated, delivered or completed. In Lean4Team, there will soon be this third look at projects that are again connected bidirektional with the other views.
While the third look is in work, one can easily get the idea to look for the next look. But at this point I finish my article first.