The 2018 Toyota Kata summit (KataCon4) ended several weeks ago. During the first three summits, I posted daily updates. This time I didn’t. Since the conference ended, I started a couple of posts trying to summarize but it’s been difficult. Here’s why – Starting last December when I visited Menlo, I’ve been learning and thinking so fast that by the time I wrote anything down, what I wanted to say had changed.
So KataCon4 was, for me, an event along a timeline, and I haven’t been able to separate those three days from everything else.
As part of my own effort to reflect and consolidate where I am, I am going to do my best to write up where I have been along this little journey and share it with you.
Even now, I am probably going to do the best I can to capture this stream of consciousness, not necessarily a concrete insight (yet).
Raw Notes from Menlo
I’m going back to December. What follows is largely unfiltered from the notes I took on a yellow pad while sitting in Menlo’s work space. Some of this is just my impressions, some of it is thoughts for a message for KataCon. I’m going to format the notes as quotes, to distinguish them from any afterthoughts I am adding as I review them to write this.
- I am the only person here not talking to someone.
- Experiments –> Culture
- Deliberate, purposeful
- Innovation follows the IK pattern. Learn it. Use it on everything you do.
“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.”
– John Gall
That quote (above) is painted in big letters in one of the two meeting rooms at Menlo. The rooms have glass walls facing the work area.
Thought: Imagine creating a screenplay like this.
What I meant here was I could totally envision a workshop of writers all working on scenes that would assemble into a comprehensive story. The organization seems that robust for coordinating multiple parallel efforts toward a common, integrated goal.
Quick ( <5min ) stand-up meeting on how to handle communicating a mistake to a client.
Possible application for [client] staff meeting:
- Staff member has fixed daily time for dealing with “action items”
- At meeting, estimate time to complete.
- Create a “story card” put on board.
- Follow up next day.
- What was done?
- What was learned?
Thought: the structure drives the IK pattern more than the conversations.
The structure has evolved with this purpose – to ask and answer the “5 questions” automatically, unconsciously, as an inherent part of the work.
They don’t ask the 5 questions, but as a part of the daily routine, the answers to them are explicitly, or implicitly, discussed.
“Structure” = “Routines & Rituals” –
The embedded repeating patterns are deliberately designed into the work.
Designed to: Common understanding of…
Maintain direction and challenge between Menlo and the client.
– Developed iteratively through HTA process.
Get a thorough understanding of the current condition (workflow, personnas, etc)
Establish successive target conditions
– Story cards and deadline = delivered, testable function = change in current condition
Iterate against unknowns toward TC
Verify new TC
This process highly structured but organic and evolving as required to meet needs as we learn.
It is a complex system, anchored, evolved from simple systems that worked.
You can’t copy it, you have to develop it through your own deliberate learning.
Started with “Let’s try it” on a small scale, even though there is tons of literature describing it.
How we feel [values] drives how we think.
How we think drives what we do.
Get crystal clear on your values.
- What emotion are you striving to create? (JOY!)
- What will you absolutely do?
- What will you absolutely never do?
Next Post: Making this relevant for the Kata Geeks.