It's been awhile since I made a blog post out of a Twitter thread, but this seemed like as good a topic as any. (Oddly enough, the last one also had to do with the concept of waste).
I recently re-published an old post on "The Seven Wastes of Lawyers" which I readily admit is the most click-baity post I've ever done. Who doesn't like to think of lawyers as incredibly wasteful? In the four years since I originally wrote it, however, my thinking has evolved a bit, and I still plan a more detailed post on that.
In the mean time, I had an interesting exchange with Peter Connor, who is doing some great work helping his clients improve their legal operations. Here it is in 7 tweets:
This is the best attempt I've seen to adapt Lean to Legal - well done! But isn't it all a bit artificial? Why limit to these 7? Why not look for all sorts of problems and opportunities with a process?
— Peter Connor (@alternlegal) March 24, 2018
Thanks. A few thoughts on your Qs:
(1) Lean is so much more than finding and reducing waste. I'm actually reluctant to even focus on waste at the beginning, because there are more important elements to a Lean/Agile mindset.
(2) That said, the "7 Wastes of Lean" are a pretty classic (if misunderstood) concept, and I think all other "wastes" (excepting maybe the 8th waste around untapped human potential that some add) fall under one of these headings.
(3) The reason not to "look for all sorts of problems and opportunities with a process" is the #TheoryOfConstraints. Fixing things that aren't your current bottleneck is itself a form of waste.
(4) Finally, what's more important than finding and removing waste (especially early) is teaching teams how to find and fix their bottlenecks using a #PDCA cycle. Learning that #kaizen approach will yield better and surer long-term results than a big up-front "waste walk."
One other thought: If you haven't already, check out "The Lean Strategy" by @Michael_Balle, @DanielJonesLean et. al. Great insight around what people have misunderstood about #Lean over the decades, and how to work on "Being Lean" instead of "Doing Lean." https://t.co/CiiKvEvn1F
Want to talk about how to begin a Lean/Agile transformation in your legal team? Don't hesitate to start a conversation with me. Or, if you're not ready for that yet, you can always join the Agile Attorneys Slack Group.