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Continuous Kaizen

Tips for turning ideas into outcomes and maximizing productivity and results.

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Our A,B,Cs of continuous improvement techniques:

  1. Kevin Ferguson on adopting Kaizen practices to turn ideas into outcomes
  2. Kristen Cox on using Theory of Constraints to improve clarity 
  3. Bob Galen on improving leadership with the mindset of a coach

A. Kevin's Five Steps to Turn an Idea Into an Outcome 

By Kevin Ferguson, Director of Software Development at GovWebworks and author of Kaizen Techniques That Really Work, a white paper on strategies that can transform you and your organization through continuous improvement.


1. Define a high-quality goal
The value should be apparent, the outcome compelling, and the idea a little scary. Mine was to set up a Kaizen continuous improvement program at my company.

2. Match goals to values
The concept of Kaizen resonated for me because it provided values and guiding principles that could help me and my company to become more effective.

3. Align systems to goals
If setting up the Kaizen series is the goal, blocking out time in my calendar to work on it every day is a system.

4. Put it all into action
We know that inspiration leads to action, but action can also lead to inspiration. Find something fun that moves you towards your goals and start there. When I started with compelling books on Kaizen, it helped set up a reading habit to tackle less tantalizing topics.

5. Let go of what you don’t need to do
If we have five things we hope to get done today, but only have time for three, a well-defined goal can help us let go of the items that aren’t contributing to the goal.

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B. Kristen's Top Five Tips for Improving Clarity

By Kristen Cox, TOC expert and author with Dr. Yishai Ashlag of Stop Decorating the Fish: Which Solutions to Ignore and Which Problems Really Matter and The World of Decorating the Fish.



1. Gain perspective
Theory of Constraints (TOC) is about going up a level. It’s hard to understand New York City when you’re in it, but when you’re looking down from a helicopter you can see the big picture.

2. Define the problem
The essence of TOC is clarity: who is the customer? And focus: what’s the problem to solve for that customer? Then I can put all my resources on that problem.

3. Protect the constraint
We make a shift to subordinate, or protect, the thing that the customer most needs. If that thing doesn’t work well, the customer’s need won’t get met.

4. Be effective first
Figure out the right thing to do first, and then do it efficiently. Do that backwards and you’re just getting faster at speeding up stupid.

5. Remove limitations
A lot of times in government, people want to add things. We’re saying value is created when you remove a significant limitation in a way that wasn’t possible before.

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C. Bob's Top Three Tips for Improving Leadership

By Bob Galen, agile coach and author of five books including Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching.


1. Practice self mastery
The professional coaching stance reminds us that we are not responsible for changing another person, that person is responsible for changing him or her self. All we can control is our own mindset and self-mastery.

2. Let go of outcomes
Putting on the mindset of a coach means you let go of outcomes and step back and honor the client’s objectives, goals, and agenda. You can’t create accountability by telling people what to do.

3. Give and receive feedback
A coach can ignite a change in the landscape by actively giving and receiving feedback. You model how to graciously receive feedback, take action on it by changing your behavior, and encourage feedback when you see it happening.

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About Kevin

As Director of Software Development at GovWebworks, Kevin Ferguson set up the Kaizen continuous improvement process to increase productivity in the ever-changing tech landscape.

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