Don Reinertsen - Second Generation Lean Product Development 2011
Let’s return the example of the Boeing 777 discussed in Principle E13. The
weight of a new commercial aircraft is
a critical performance variable.Aircraft
designers provide weight guarantees that can cost millions of dollars if
they are breached. Since weight is a key success factor, does this
mean that the program manager
should get involved in all weight
decisions? No, he simply must
control the economic logic used in
making these decisions. For example, if every engineer
knows that the program manager is willing to sacriﬁce up to $300 of unit cost to save a pound
of weight, thousands of engineers can make the correct weight decisions.
This provides full economic control without requiring higher levels of management to
participate in each decision. And if we can get control without participation, this saves a
great deal of time for management. Using decision rules brings another more subtle beneﬁt.
When management focuses on communicating and articulating the economic logic behind
decisions, they develop the organization’s capacity to make sound economic decisions.
In contrast, consider what happens when only management knows the logic behind
decisions. Engineers are told, “This seemingly bizarre decision is actually best for the
company due to mysterious and sophisticated reasons that are too esoteric to articulate.”
This develops a culture of magical decision making, where everybody feels they can make
great decisions unencumbered by either analysis or facts.