Embracing Problems at Google


    In David Mann's book, Creating A Lean Culture: Tools To Sustain Lean Conversions, he talks about the need to “embrace problems” as a key step in creating a continuous improvement culture (as opposed to the normal business habit of hiding problems). In this NY Times article about Google, they talk about their own continuous improvement culture with their search engine results:

    Any of Google's 10,000 employees can use its “Buganizer” system to report a search problem, and about 100 times a day they do — listing Mr. Singhal as the person responsible to squash them.

    “Someone brings a query that is broken to Amit, and he treasures it and cherishes it and tries to figure out how to fix the algorithm,” says Matt Cutts, one of Mr. Singhal's officemates and the head of Google's efforts to fight Web spam, the term for advertising-filled pages that somehow keep maneuvering to the top of search listings.

    Amit Singhal is Google's head of search engine operations. It's a good example that he treasures those problems (and isn't fixing everything himself, he assigns teams of engineers to work on the problems). If he was too proud of what he had created, he might get defensive and drive people to NOT report problems, if he reacted with anger or frustration instead.

    Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

    The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

    , , , on the author's copyright.

    What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

    Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

    Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

    Get New Posts Sent To You

    Select list(s):
    Previous articleNissan’s Mock Assembly Lines
    Next articleStep 1: Anger Employees, Step 2: Mollify Them
    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. “The wise mend their ways” was a favorite quote of Taiichi Ohno. Too bad many people are not so wise.. instead pride (one of 7 deadly sins) have overtaken them.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.