How the ‘Toyota Way’ Can Drive a Balanced IT Department
The mind behind the Toyota Production System expertly addressed productivity, problem resolution and vendor relations—and his concepts make perfect sense in IT.
Understand their backgrounds, interests, work preferences and ambitions before you provide direction on a new initiative. That way, you’ll immediately relate to them at their level—and earn their engagement.
Translated: Don’t allow your IT teams to clutter their minds with tasks and other parts that have nothing to do with the mission at hand.
This means workers learn their next capability even as they’re mastering a current one. Thus, there are no productivity stoppages created by those who need to be brought up to speed.
You will not be able to be there all the time to tell IT teams what to do—nor should you. When processes are uniformly standardized, employees will know how to do things the right way.
Make it easy for everyone to see what kind of effort is required to effectively tackle the IT project at hand, and let them see the results of their work as they materialize.
They must be flexible and capable enough to help solve unexpected problems that don’t fall within their usual duties. Consider job-rotation practices to foster this.
In an environment of mutual respect, employees will not be afraid to take responsibility for their mistakes, then work with you to avoid repeating them.
At least a couple times a year, go to key vendors and service providers to get a sense of what it’s like to run their business.