I just read the book WA: Transformation Management by Harmony by Yuji Kishira. It’s about critical chain, but from a Japanese perspective. It has some pretty wacky stuff, but that’s ok: I found it very interesting and entertaining.
For me, the most important idea it contains is in the title: relating the concept of Wa (harmony) to implementations of critical chain (CC) and more broadly — and only by inference – to theory of constraints (TOC). If you think in terms of a vision and a message needed to promote (sell!) an implementation internally, it’s hard to find a simple concept that everyone can grab onto and say, “yes, that helps me, I want it.” An implementation of anything does best long-term if there is value created that everyone can relate to. A major effect of a properly done implementation is a reduction in conflicts and chaos: increased harmony. Therefore “harmony” can be such a value and can form a core part of a vision.
It seems to be effective in Japan. I’m here at the TOC International Certification Organization conference in Japan (I presented on the topic of making CC stick). I talked with Yuji and heard the Japanese Director-General of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport speak. The concept of Harmony is a big part of the culture here, and it’s the main emphasis when Japanese people talk about success stories.
Will it play in Peoria? Maybe, if we measure it and talk about it. It’s worth thinking about.
A second interesting point in the book is equating safety time with responsibility. For example: I feel responsible for finishing my task in the time I committed to, so I add safety time. Moving the safety time to the buffers spreads responsibility to the entire project team. You’re not alone, you don’t have to shoulder the on-time burden yourself, you have a team to help. Harmony again.
Want a flavor? Try this:
Pssssht. Happy, happy ending.
- On November 19, 2009