Manager's Book Club, chapter 1
Welcome to Mark's Book Club! (LOL).
I've been working on a long series of lecture videos about "Lean Management" and "six-sigma" techniques these last few weeks. One of the presenters gave out a link to a free .pdf version of this book. I found it a fun and useful read, much of it may be obvious or old hat to most of us here, and that's actually good news, I think... but I thought I'd share it anyhow.
It's geared more towards a company that does manufactured goods, but maybe we can discuss if any of these techniques in the book can be relevant in our production and post-production services work. It's a super-fast and upbeat, skimmable thing, you can polish it off while the progress bar is doing it's thing on your latest render...
So read it, and I'll refund what you paid for it if you find it totally useless:
I'm particularly interested in your anecdotes and observations of seeing these things put into practice in your neck of the woods.
And If you have a book to recommend, maybe mention it in comments?
[Mark Suszko] "...series of lecture videos about ..."six-sigma" techniques..."
Guest lecturer Jack Donaghy?
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
There certainly is a lot of that jargon going on. Since you referenced the "30 Rock" clip, Jack Welch was a huge proponent of six sigma and credited it with saving or making GE (a subsidiary of the Shinehardt Wig Company) many millions of dollars.
Lean management is about enabling your workforce to become leaders, and make more decisions on their own, to be engaged in the work, to own it and be devoted to it's continuous improvement. The manta we're taught is: make work easier, faster, better, and cheaper... in that specific order. And without relying on cutting jobs.
Six Sigma is more tightly and specifically focused on quality improvement, thru measurement and statistical analysis.
I'll give it a read.
"Everyone looks good in a Sheinhardt" - Jack Donaghy
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
In Lean management, there are 8 areas of "waste" that are continuously addressed.
Transport – Moving people, products & information
Inventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements
Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting
Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment
Over production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required
Over processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary
Defects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation
Skills – Under utilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training
As far as post production environments, I can see some of these being relevant in video post work:
Transport - the way your files get moved, stored, displayed and reviewed by clients. Ingest, logging, deliverables.
Inventory - I think of this mostly as storage capacity and management/access of the SAN or library you have. But also potentially, the leveraging of created assets for other needs or productions. Stock footage sales? Or purchases?
Motion - the client review/ communications loop, but also, initial acquisition of assets. Legal rights clearance paperwork, for example. Captioning and/or translations, for another.
Waiting - for renders, for uploads/ downloads, compression, and client approvals/authorizations.
Over production - I don't have much of a take on this area, except the issues of storage and management of many multiple versions of a project, and this might also be considered Inventory, I guess. Maybe another way to look at this one is, continuing to make one kind of product in the face of shrinking demand for it, without seeking a better alternative. Switching for example from live sat feeds to asynchronous delivery via FTP and streaming.
Over Processing - The amount of time and energy applied to fine-tuning tasks like audio sweetening, graphics, color correction, in relation to client expectations. Deciding how much is "good enough", and who's the final authority on that, you, or the client?
Defects - The entire QC process, from initial shoot, thru to post to exporting deliverables.
Skills - the amount of time you get to spend, simply playing with different iterations of the edit, trying alternate sequences, new techniques, etc. but also how much time you get to devote to training and research. Also, the ideas your people can generate for new ways to do the work and new kinds of programming. How much time and effort is spent brainstorming this stuff out in group discussions. Are you keeping your people sharp and giving them advancement opportunities?
So, each of these areas of potential inefficiency can be mitigated or improved somewhat by the application of various techniques and technologies. It's not all slam-dunk stuff, of course. But the inter-related nature of these eight areas means that if you can optimize in just one of the eight areas, improvements flow thru some or all the others in a chain-reaction. Faster file transfer in the "transport" area for example also improves issues in the "Motion" and "Waiting" areas.
Like in the 30 rock clip: "Synergy".
I am somewhat familiar with Six Sigma - a good friend became a "black belt" in his company which manufactures heavy machinery. A lot of the improvement projects sounded like common sense solutions to problems, but the big problems were a mindset of "that's the way we do it here." So change management is also people management - working to build a rapport and trust with people who are not inclined to change, and then observe and report on ways to improve. But you need to convince the people that change is in everyone's best interest.
In media production there may be areas of inefficiency, though it may depend on the scale and scope of work being done. A creative project can be difficult to analyze numerically. For example we used to say 1 minute of video takes 1 hour to edit. but in reality 1 minute of video can be 3 bullet points and narration, or it can be Pixar style animation. Both of these do not take 1 hour to create.
Thus areas of waste might be in measurable processes. Every time I learn a new shortcut in Premiere or Photoshop I realize a potential time savings. For example years ago when I learned about J-K-L and ; and ' commands, and that I could do cuts editing without using the mouse my editing time for that type of 1st draft reduced dramatically.
I will try to read the document from mark and report back.