Lean – Operational Excellence as a Business Strategy

Lean – Operational Excellence as a Business Strategy

We have all know stories of great ideas dying out of a poor execution. Great business models or products which don’t reach the market on-time, with the quality expected or which fail to provide real value.

This was beginning of 2014. At that time I was working as an Agile Coach for an American corporation, in the Life Sciences division. I was supporting the teams working on what was called Precision Medicine. A solution to determine customized treatments to patients based on their genome.

This was a really cool idea, initially targeted at the USA market. Technology and content teams where based in Barcelona and product management in US.

One day, we received the visit of the Business Owner for the initiative, and at some point I asked him, what were the plans to deliver the first version of the product. And, I was stunned by the answer. “Well, we need to curate the content, hire people, integrate with this and that, bla, bla, bla, …, so we expect in 12 – 18 months.”

Two years, later, after huge work, and an investment of several millions, the project was cancelled and some of the people hired to curate content were laid off.

The idea was cool, but our inability to execute was worrisome. A traditional Big-Design-Up-Front waterfall approach to product management, combined with a siloed, slow and bureaucratic technology organization was the main cause.

Like many good ideas it died out of a poor execution.

Still today, after so many years of Lean, Agile and Lean Startup, companies fail to deliver on their breakthrough strategy. They don’t realize operational excellence is a key cornerstone of their strategy.

If your processes are full of drama, if you are slow, with quality problems and low productivity, it doesn’t really matter your breakthrough strategy; you won’t be able make it happen.Click To Tweet

In the next few blog posts we are going to examine key pitfalls and problems of Agile and how to succeed by adopting basic principles and practices of Lean to enable growth and innovation in your company and achieve and strategic advantage.

Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog!