Lean, real life and theory of constrains


is the name of the team I have met today. A team composed by a 2 people who are analyzing a set of processes that they need to be improved in terms of efficiency and ability to absorb peaks.

The guys complained that all is in paper and that they were expecting data in a database or at least in an excel so they can analyze that.

I just broke out laughing: welcome to real life.

Real life

is the main fact these guys want to ignore. Yes, there are processes with legal papers that are scanned and managed, but legal communications are done by paper and we cannot change it.

This fact supposes a great wall that did not let them to see beyond. They just were paralyzed in front of this real fact.

“Come on guys, you have Six Sigma certifications, you share all these theory of Lean in LinkedIn, and now you come to me with this problem?”

Theory of constrains

is the basis of the history of the book The Goal (written by Eliyahu Goldratt), that simplifies the application of this theory in 5 steps.

I have commented them to go through this simple guidance and avoid a big bang approach to work on specific aspects. A big bang approach is not sustainable in a production line that cannot stop, this is a basic idea that they understand.

Finally I found that they perfectly understood the situation and my approach, the funny thing is that all they are asking is because their boss just want “data”.

Strava, other conditions: temperature

I use Strava as one of the environments that let me analyze the rides I do. I find very useful the kudos system, the way to show the data, how to compare with yourself, etc.

Yesterday I took my bike in Sevilla. It was October the 1st but there were around 35ºC at 17.30 that was the only slot I had to take the bike.

I did a route that I use to do, and the feeling of doing this route with such temperature is very different than when you perform it at 20ºC.

I understand that the effect of heat in every person is different, it’s also different for a single person depending of other factors. But in general, the effect of the heat reduces the performance of the workout.

For instance, the performance I had yesterday was very different in the first part of the ride than in the second part. Basically the difference was:

  • First half: speed = 2:31 min/km
  • Second half: speed = 2:45 min/km

The reason was not the slopes or the excessive speed during the first half, it was the temperature that provoked me to burn down slowly. The hot wind did not help either, in any case the effort done was useful for my goals, to suffer during the bad days is also a useful training for keeping the mind concentrated and minimize the lose of time.

I would suggest to Strava to add this variable in some type of kudos, or as a separate factor to measure.