By Jon M. Quigley
I saw a LinkedIn post yesterday about scope of testing during times of compressed schedule. The position was to test what is new in the software, and of that new, what is the most important, perhaps meaning what if it goes wrong, would be the worst for the client or customer. Generally this is probably a good idea. However, there are some drawbacks to this approach. This means no regression testing. Regression testing is testing of the old software features when we add new software features to the product.
Testing as above, is predicated on the belief that those things that we have changed or added, have no implication or impact on those features and functions that were already in place prior to this last iteration of the software. That may not be true. If we make changes to some software module that is used by other functions, we may miss testing a change in … Continue reading
Go to the place where the work is performed, that is the Gemba walk. This does not apply just to manufacturing, but also line managers and their respective departments as well as to project management. You want to know what is going on, what could be better, go unto the work space and watch and talk with the people doing the work.
Where the work is performed, depends upon the work. For example, if you are the manager of a product testing department, the place where the work is performed is likely the lab, Go where the Hardware In the Loop (HIL) rigs and see how things are going, go to the test rooms where the environmental (hot and cold) and other stimuli (vibration) are administered to the product. Learn how this work is actually being done. Ask questions about how the work is going. What sort of things are difficult and why? What can we do to make the … Continue reading
If you have spent any time in the automotive industry you have probably spent time working within a system called the 5S. Continue reading
How do new ideas occur to us? What is the secret mixture that enables this spark that creates something new? I have long wondered this, including when watching my son build things that I found interesting, and with no clear sign of what of the source of that idea that became reality. I saw him build things with Lego blocks, and I watched him build things at an online game called Roblox. In both instances it made me think, what is the source?
The same is true for my own life, especially my work life. I have been part of groups that have produced 7 US patents and other intellectual property. Each time was so different it is difficult to discern an underlying theme that made this creation possible or at least facilitated. What can be said in each instance to varying degrees, is there was a perceived difficulty or problem, some desired end state that was presently not … Continue reading
The unevenness or mura of the work wreak havoc on our work. Project demands fluctuate and working on multiple projects likewise creates or exacerbates the unevenness. In product development work can get heavy around gate reviews as the project must accomplish certain expectations and milestones are reviewed in the gate activities. One functional department may not be at capacity, but anther may be running beyond capacity. The arrival of the work from one department stacks up as input to the next department. This then creates muda as we have waste in the form of over production. All of this unevenness has impact on schedule and the people performing the work, and sometimes specialized equipment as the demand fluctuates wildly.
Material that our development team will use may also be subjected to this unevenness, think prototype parts, upon which we will test and learn about the product for the next iteration of the development loop. When lead times are long, we may … Continue reading
Muri is waste associated with pushing people, processes and equipment beyond the limits or overburdening. An organization may be enamored of working large numbers of overtime hours, but any benefit for such some at a cost, and this is an example of overburdening.
I once worked at a place in which the employees averaged being at the organization for between 10 – 20 years, and had vacation time commensurate with being within the organization per the company benefits manual. The people that had been with the company that long had more than 4 weeks of vacation, which is 160 hours off of the 2000 hours or total work hours approximates 1840. On top of this time off, the company also offered special days that it gave off to everybody – think Thanksgiving and Christmas for example. Yet when it came to calculate the work the organization could undertake, the organization used 1980 per person to estimate the total amount of … Continue reading
For those familiar with the lean approach to the work or the Toyota Way, you my already know about the concept of Muda. Muda is one of the three categories associated with lean that impact performance and costs to the organization. Muda is regarded to have seven waste types or areas or actions that cause waste.
Just like it sounds, making more of something than the need for that something. This does not just mean parts, but also extends to work product deliveries throughout the work pipeline. Think SIPOC (Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer), in this case any output from a process (P) delivered before the depending process (C) or work can start, leaving the work product just sitting there. Another variant of this waste would be working on products that are not for the next work process, but some prioritized work that is further down or upstream. When this is not coordinated well, we end up with rework, and if changes are required … Continue reading