At the end of June CM4all had an exciting visit: Agile Coach Peter Schmidt came to us to run the process simulation FlowLab from Okaloa with his colleagues. Despite the heat, ten CM4all colleagues took part in the exciting workshop.
First Peter explained the course of the workshop, then the participants were divided into two work teams and the game materials such as game board, cards and pens were distributed. Since the colleagues are familiar with agile working methods, it was not much of a challenge to create a rough work board. The rules of the game were then explained.
In the first round, the goal was to increase employee utilization. That was the task of the "manager". In addition, all "work" tickets, symbolized by small cards, had to be processed in the starting order. Rules were also defined for the handling of tickets that were "blocked" by chance. The preparations were now complete and we started. After a few trains, it became clear that more and more tickets were being placed on the board, but the "Done" column remained empty. Only on the 8th of 10 trains the first ticket was ready! After the tenth train, the board was overcrowded with tickets, the participants were stressed and nobody had an overview of how to continue working. Full success! ;)
To recharge our batteries for the second round, we had pizza and Peter explained in a debriefing what had happened. To escape the vicious circle of too many tickets and too little output, two rules were changed for the second round. On the one hand the team members were allowed to work together and on the other hand only 4 tickets (with 4 team members) were allowed to be in the columns "Work in Progress", i.e. the WIP was limited.
These changes were successful after a short time. Already after the second train the first ticket was drawn into the column "Done" and so it went on steadily. Only these two changes led to a constant output, less stress, good predictability and more output. At the end of the second round, they looked into many surprised faces and recognized the impact that process changes can have at the right place. Many thanks to Peter Schmidt for this great workshop!