The Denver Health & Hospital Authority -- The Results Are In

Over on the Hospitals and Health Networks site, I read this great article about the Denver Health organization's incredible benefits resulting from its six-year Lean journey. Patricia A. Gabow, CEO of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority, believes the $135 million financial benefit since 2006 is a result of the adoption of Lean management techniques. In addition, in 2011, the hospital evidently saw "$46 million in financial benefits from Lean projects."

Other than the amazing benefits discussed in the article, I found this detail quite interesting: "There are 16 value streams and an organized method for picking improvement projects. Some are short term, others extend over multiple years, such as revenue cycle, the OR and community health. Each value stream has an executive sponsor and a steering committee that meets monthly. Gabow reviews metrics for all of the value streams and rapid-improvement events every month."

What do readers working in the healthcare industry think of this format for value stream maps? Are your maps used in the same fashion?

After winning the coveted Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence (the first healthcare organization to achieve this feat) , Denver Health now offers its own Lean Academy. Check out the video presented at the Shingo Award ceremony:


Lean and Agile Software Development: How Do We Make It Happen?

Recently, I had the chance to speak in person with Michael Levine, author of a new book published this past December titled A Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life. His book provides entertaining and thought-provoking guidance on making organizational change.

I asked Michael about one of the paradoxes of bringing Agile software development into organizations -- Although Agile preaches the centrality of the self-managed team, in practice many Agile migrations are imposed top-down by strong-willed executives. Can this really work? Here is his response:

Organizations vary dramatically from each other, and these variations must drive the approach to introducing Lean and Agile techniques effectively. An organization that is performing adequately and for which the risk of disruption is high must be addressed differently than an organization that is performing unacceptably and for which change is urgent.

That is why I draw out two approaches to change: Drive People, a top-down approach focused on processes and tools, and People Driven, an enabling approach focused on people, learning, and organizational design.

Ultimately agile success depends on becoming People Driven – aligning the skills and perspectives of the team members to the work at hand, with broad understanding and embrace of Lean and Agile principles. Some organizations can begin their Lean/Agile journey with a low-risk, gradual People Driven approach from the start; others do not have the capability or the time and need the kick-start of a Drive People approach. Both can work, so long as the end-game is a self-sustaining, continually improving People Driven culture.

What do you think of Michael's points? Do any readers who work in software development have any opinions or experiences to share in regard to Agile software development in a Lean organization?


The Visual Author

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a healthy and happy holiday season.

CRC Press, the parent company of Productivity Press, recently established a YouTube channel that will feature many Productivity Press authors discussing performance-improvement topics as well as methodologies explored in their respective books. I've decided to feature a sample of some recent videos in this blog post.

Patrice Boutier speaks about his forthcoming book The Seven Kata: Toyota Kata, TWI, and Lean Training here:

Robert Hafey discusses Lean Safety: Transforming your Safety Culture with Lean Management here:

Larry Fast discusses The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence here:

Daniel Markovitz discusses A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance here:

Please let me know your thoughts on these videos as we plan to shoot more and suggestions are always welcome.