Abaixo o primeiro trecho em que os Poppendiecks deixam claro que é necessário buscar os princípios por trás das práticas:
"Software development is a broad discipline—it deals with Web design and with sending a satellite into orbit. Practices for one domain will not necessarily apply to other domains. Principles, however, are broadly applicable across domains as long as the guiding principles are translated into appropriate practices for each domain. This book focuses on the process of translating lean principles to agile practices tailored to individual software development domains."
Na verdade, não existe muito o que teorizar sobre isso.
Por que muitas empresas não conseguem repetir o mesmo sucesso de concorrentes que estão obtendo uma alta perfomance em seus processos? Mesmo que estas empresas, que seguem a filosofia do Lean, abram suas portas quem deseja aprender sobre "seus segredos"?
O erro está em tentar transportar as práticas em vez de procurar os princípios que regem estas práticas. E o mais interessante é que vemos este aviso nos livros e, nestes mesmos livros, vemos um foco muito maior nos princípios e valores que nas práticas.
E quais seriam estes princípios?
Identificação e transparência do valor: Uma vez que o valor for identificado, deixa-lo a vista de todos;
Mapeamento do fluxo de valor: O fluxo é quem gera o valor e também precisa estar mapeado e transparente. Não é possível melhorar o que não se vê;
Eliminação de desperdício: Identificar e eliminar os desperdícios que existem no seu fluxo de valor. Desperdício é tudo aquilo que não agrega valor diretamente. Existem desperdícios que são necessários? OK, então eles precisam ser reduzidos;
Foco nas pessoas: As pessoas que estão mais próximas do fluxo são as que mais agregam para o fluxo. Estas pessoas precisam ser ouvidas e respeitadas. Elas precisam ser treinadas. Elas precisam ser valorizadas.
Pronto. Essa é a mágica. Mas agora é que vem a parte mais complexa da estoria: é preciso traduzir estes princípios em práticas para o seu contexto específico, que provavelmente também é um contexto complexo.
Para isso não conheço outra forma que não seja a empírica. Você precisa focar em uma prática observando um dos princípios e medir. Se não der certo, focar em outra e medir. E assim continuar buscando a melhoria contínua do seu contexto. Este é o famoso kaizen.
Para encerrar, uma pequena história transcrita do livro Lean Software Development dos Poppendiecks.
The NUMMI Mystery
In 1982, General Motors closed its Freemont, California, plant. No one was surprised; the place was a disaster. Productivity was among the lowest of any GM plant, quality was abysmal, and drug and alcohol abuse were rampant both on and off the job. Absenteeism was so high that the plant employed 20 percent more workers than it needed just to ensure an adequate labor force on any given day. The United Auto Workers local earned a national reputation for militancy; from 1963 to 1982, wildcat strikes and sickouts closed the plant four times. The backlog of unresolved grievances often exceeded 5,000.
Two years later, the same plant was reopened by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., or NUMMI, a joint venture between Toyota and GM. Toyota managed the plant but was required to rehire the former GM employees. Eighty-five percent of the hourly workers were from the former GM plant, including the entire union leadership.
Within two years, NUMMI's productivity was higher than any GM plant—double that of the original plant. Quality was much higher than any GM plant and nearly matched Toyota's Japanese plants. Absenteeism was down to about 3 percent, and substance abuse was a minimal problem. In 1991, after 8 years of operation, a total of only 700 grievances had been filed, and 90 percent of the employees described themselves as "satisfied" or "very satisfied."
Clearly, something in the management practices made all the difference to NUMMI employees, and those practices have been sustainable. As the NUMMI plant approaches 20 years in operation, it continues to top all other GM plants in productivity and quality, while employee satisfaction remains very high. Other GM plants have been unable to copy the management practices of NUMMI, although other Toyota-managed plants in the United States have successfully done so with similar results.
Make no mistake about it: Automobile assembly is still difficult, repetitive work. At the NUMMI plant, workers repeat the same actions approximately once a minute, and during that minute, they are busy for 57 seconds. In the old days, they worked for only 45 seconds out of every minute, so they now work a lot harder—and they do exactly the same thing every time. Exactly. If it sounds regimented, it is. Work was regimented in the old GM plant also. In fact, there were 80 industrial engineers who went around with stopwatches designing every single task. Then, they told the workers exactly how to do the task. As you can imagine, the workers did not appreciate being told how to do their jobs.
The first thing the managers at the NUMMI plant did was get stopwatches for everyone, and they taught workers how to design their own jobs. All work at NUMMI is done in teams of six to eight people, one of whom is the team leader. The team designs its own work procedures, coordinating work standards with teams doing the same work on alternate shifts. Management's role is to coach, train, and assist the teams. Engineers are available if the team wants to call on them, but fundamentally, each team is responsible for its own procedures, its own quality, for job rotation within the team, and for smooth flow of parts from upstream and to downstream teams.
Jamie Hresko is a manufacturing manager at GM who was trying to unlock the secret of NUMMI. He took time off from his job to secretly work as an ordinary worker at NUMMI for a month, and he was amazed at what he found. He thought his plant trained and supported line workers, but the extent to which NUMMI workers were the center of attention was well beyond his expectations. It seemed that everyone's job existed solely to help the line workers, and the workers in turn were fully engaged in their jobs. Training was extensive, the atmosphere was friendly and helpful, and it was crystal clear what was important.
So herein lies the puzzle. GM understands that focusing—really focusing—on the worker is the key to success. They can and do send people to NUMMI to find out how to do this. And still, they have been largely unsuccessful in doing what they know should be done. Why?
We believe that transferring practices from one environment to another is often a mistake. Instead, one must understand the fundamental principles behind practices and transform those principles into new practices for a new environment. In fact, Toyota did not transfer Japanese production practices en masse to NUMMI. But it did transfer its belief that the foundation of human respect is to provide an environment where capable workers actively participate in running and improving their work areas and are able to fully use their capabilities. It appears that GM has had a difficult time transferring the same principle to its plants, and thus has failed to unleash the capabilities of front line workers to the same extent as Toyota.