New Book Focusing on Lean Failures


    How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures: 10 Reasons Why Failures Occur

    I read this book over the weekend, here is the review I wrote for

    This is a book that's needed publishing for quite some time. Most lean books focus on what you *should* do, assuming that your lean effort can absolutely be a success. This book recognizes that lean transformation is very difficult and can get derailed easily. Of the ten reasons that lean failures occur, he specifies two of them as absolute show stoppers and the other eight are things that can slow down your lean effort. The only reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is its relatively short length (which can be a plus, however, if you're giving this to a busy executive). There were a few very good “War Story” examples in the book, which is what I really expected to read. The book could have been fleshed out with more war stories and case studies, that would have made it 5 stars.

    Thinking more about the need for “War Stories”, I wonder if we shouldn't set up a blog where people could post war stories for each of the 10 reasons listed in that book. What do you think? Reason #1 in the book is lack of top management support. Have any stories to share on that one? If so, click “Comments”.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. Not sure where the reporter came up with “With 26 employees, Southern Vinyl in Kinston was scarcely a logical candidate for testing the principles of waste.”

      I tend to think that Lean has a better chance for success / results in smaller – privately held organizations. Management can usually focus more effectively on the long-term because they are not looking to meet the quarterly report for Wall Street or have the one time, short lived metric that ensures the CEO his/her golder parachute. In addition, some of the effects such as the hit taken to the financials when inventory is intially reduced are more easily dealt with.

      I don’t know why small to medium manufacturers would not have waste. About the only thing that seems like it would detract from successful Lean at a small company is their ability to afford a quality consultant.

      John Maher


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