Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Open eyes, open mind

It takes open eyes and an open mind to start the process of setup reduction. The psychology of observation tells us that in many cases, especially those we are familiar with, we mostly fail to see what is in front of us. We fail to notice, we fail to pay attention to what we see.

Observing a setup, either recorded or live, there is a lot going on. It is easy to assume that we know what it is that is taking place. Even when we analyze a video tape of a changeover process, assuming it captured the salient activities, we tend to write down what we think is taking place.

It takes an open mind to question each and every activity – is it necessary? why is it done this way? why is it done at this point? Especially when these questions are asked by someone on the team who has not done the setup personally, or is from outside the immediate area, especially if it is someone from the office, or someone without subject matter expertise, the questions may sound silly to those who are familiar with the process. It is especially those familiar with the process who need an open mind. The typical reaction is to want to explain an activity as making sense, as being the right thing to do.

It may take extensive 5Why, or Fishbone, or other root cause analysis, to determine whether an activity is actually needed, or whether it is done in the best way.

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