Too much too soon?

Ann All has an interesting piece commenting on David Taber’s views on the use of process improvement techniques such as six sigma.

I think David is absolutely right to suggest that using six sigma too early can stifle innovation and reduce the chance of new product success.

The point of six sigma, lean et al is to challenge and improve old established processes that are innefficient and broken.  What’s the point of spending all that time and money creating the perfect process to see it wasted because the product fails (or indeed as David argues increasing the very chance of product failure by your actions)?

Don’t get me wrong, I think process improvement is very important in the enterprise.  In fact it’s a necessary pre-cursor to automation.  But if you want to be innovative you have to be agile.

Can an enterprise really be agile, or are we asking elephants to gallop?  I think that a combination of clever and agile IT architecture, clever and agile people, and above all a management team that gives people the permission to be clever and agile, can make it happen.

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