Kaizen ’ The Importance of Continuous Improvement

Last week I spent two days at Lean Agile Scotland, in the company of a group of people obsessed with process improvement and working smartly. I presented my take on the role of constraints in the creative process – particularly the role that an understanding of constraints plays in personal skills development for our digital team.

The world of Lean and Agile methodologies can seem to be impenetrably complicated from the outside, with layers of new processes, principles and practices to master. It can seem like an impossible chasm to leap from a waterfall/Prince 2 or similar starting point.

In reality though, it all boils down to Kaizen. KAIZEN = continuous improvement.

At the heart of Kaizen is a very simple principle. That radical improvement can be achieved through continuous improvement, and that this is best achieved by making the identification of opportunities to improve a daily habit for everyone in your team. Some improvements are small, perhaps adding a clarification step to a process or moving the bin nearer to your workstation. Others are more major, like opening an office in a new location. Each improvement begins very simply, with someone noticing an opportunity to improve how something is done. Each improvement doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be better than what
came before.

Whatever methodology you use, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of a deeply entrenched commitment to continuous improvement.