Rich Bowen – We’ve Always Done It That Way:
Principle 13 in the Toyota Way says that one should make decisions slowly, by consensus, thoroughly considering all options, and then implement those decisions rapidly. We believe a similar thing at the ASF. So to people who have only been around for a short time, it looks like we never change anything. But the truth is that we change things slowly, because what we’re doing works, and we need to be sure that change is warranted, and is a good idea.
I’m a big fan of decision by consensus. It doesn’t mean everyone agrees (consensus does not require unanimity) but it does ensure that the bulk of the team are all on board and moving in the same direction.
It does take longer – much longer. And it requires investing a lot more into the decision making process, having debates, doing research and planning out how things will actually work. In the end though it’s worth it to avoid having the decision undermined by people resistant to the change or having decisions made too independently and then having people heading off in different directions.
Just don’t forget that one of the best ways to build consensus is by running a trial. It’s much easier to plan out a trial (including a rollback plan) and gain consensus for running it than for making the change permanently.
Another example of Less Haste, More Speed.