Lean for IT/Software projects,,, structure communication/3

Following my previous post here, I will continue with the 3rd step for Lean implementation in IT/Software setup. Let me explain what the symptoms of poor communication are:

  • Disconnect among management, people, project stakeholders and the customer.
  • Not asking the right questions.
  • Addressing irrelevant people for help.
  • Spending long hours creating progress reports.
  • Excessive mails with CC for non required people.
  • Waiting for the status meeting to report issue instead of fixing them before hand through direct communication with developers.
  • Information hoarding.
  • Excessive formulation of perception and stereotyping.

The list can be so long and it can only create waste in form of delays, excessive motion, management overheads, extra processes and waiting.

If we implement Lean using Kanban, there are excellent communication ceremonies like the daily stand-up in front of the visual board and operation review to ensure congruency among management, people and stakeholders. Respect for people is at the heart of Lean system, which allows people to freely communicate, trust the system and take initiative to improve it.

Scrum framework provides excellent communication forum at the team level and their interaction with the product owner and other stakeholders. It defines communication through standard ceremonies with stress on information radiators which provide high bandwidth information with almost no preparation time. Team collaboration and XP practices are vital to improve communication at the team level.

However, I worked in Agile projects which I found many of the above symptoms of poor communication  prevail. Lean organizations are focused on waste visualization and removal and such organizations have tremendous appreciation of the need for structuring communication.

Organizations should establish a defined communication process, stating: who should communicate, what, when and how. It is a problem of scale, though Kanban and Agile are extremely helpful at the project level, however, the organization as a whole can still suffer from poor communication.

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