Courage in the Face of Fire

Tollgate reviews can be a real source of anxiety for belts of all colors and levels. For the Army, a tollgate is like a phase-line on the Battlefield. It allows leaders to know where you are in relation to everything else. Go pastit without permission or authority and there may be some repercussions. With projects, the same exists. A belt is attacking a leaders enemy of success.

The paradigm shift that will enable future success with LSS is in allowing belts to explore and discover what exists in the process and what could be the process. Currently, projects are threatened by scope creep but limited by the inability to follow the “inch wide, mile deep”, philosophy of analysis.

As we journey down this path of improvement, key success factor will be the opening up of data to the internal customers who are trying to make a difference for their fellow soldiers and their country.

Comments 5

  1. Mike Carnell

    Just so I don’t get another note from that guy that sits 2 desks down from you this response doesn’t have anything to do with any type of Army.

    If your Belts are perceived as attacking you have a couple serious issues. Your change management isn’t working. If the exchange is between a BB and a Process Owner at a toll gate why didn’t the belt know what was going to happen before the meeting. That exchange typically happens when the belt isn’t communicating with the Process Owner on a regular basis.

    If the Process Owner feels they are being attacked then there is a good chance they did not select/submit the project. Well who’d have guessed? When PO’s are required to identify projects – not belts – they are bought in from the beginning – no selling buy-in that is rework. It is their idea and their submission. Let’s see how you would react if a person walked up to you and said “hey I have been looking around your operation. It’s broken but I can fix it for you.” Now you want them to give you support?

    If your tollgate meetings are consistently confrontational, it is simply a symptom that your program is broken somewhere else.

    Just my opinion.

  2. Mike Carnell

    There probably isn’t a data based answer to your question so this is opinion and probably worth whatever you pay for it.

    Every project has its own pace. It is a function of a lot of factors. You have people on both sides i.e. the Team and the Process Owner. Regardless of what happens you have to weigh the effects of change on both sides. If your team is charging ahead and the PO has their head spinning because the changes are coming to fast – the team can be as innovative as they want nothing is going to go past the PO.

    This is again an issue with the Belt being smart enough to manage the Change Management side of the project. Keeping people in the loop is typically the easiest way to avoid the issue. You need to have a strategy with each of these people (Stakeholder Analysis). Some keep up best by participation and some work best with a one on one review.

    Be careful who you put in a public situation. Once they push back in front of other people there is less chance they will turn that decision around later regardless of what you show them.

    I wouldn’t worry to much about the innovation. Nobody can even define it at this point. They all want it treated as a Fabrege egg particularly those responsible for it. They want it treated as some cerebral exhorcism that only a privelaged class understands. It isn’t that delicate – read about Edison – new book by Randall Stross.

    Just my opinion.

  3. CPT Harris

    I think a lot of it has to do with the balance of speed versus rigor. If you want a fast project, regardless of magnitude or impact, you have to give some rigor. Rigor is time consuming (not in a bad way) and depends upon which tools are used. With that rigor, takes a commitment from the project leadership and team to completing the detailed path to maximizing improvement.

  4. CPT Harris

    I should have proofread the content of my message better. The intent of the message is to focus on “analysis paralysis” in project completion. There is a bit of hesitation in project leaders moving forward within the DMAIC phases. There is perception of fear of maybe getting too far ahead and then being reigned in. This limits the discovery/exploration aspect of LSS and channels belts a bit too much. Could there be an impact of reduced innovative thought?

  5. Mike Carnell

    Take a look at Kaizen Events. Very fast. Failure rate increases when the leadership doesn’t stay in the room. Selling the buyin is a losing proposition – it needs to be built in. It starts with Project selection as a PO responsibility. The BB gets the job of maintaining it.

    Just my opinion.

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