The Lean Muppet Series: Introduction

Jim Henson and Frank Oz

I am 46 years old (at the time if this writing, it would be kind of nice to just keep on being a healthy active 46 year old, though).

Being 46 year old and American, I was raised by three parents: Don and Jennifer Benson…and Jim Henson.

Like most kids when I was growing up, I lived with Muppets. On Sesame Street, on the Muppet Show, in the Muppet Movie, even on Saturday Night Live a few times. Muppets like Kermit, Ernie, Bert, and later Yoda are as much a part of my generation’s psyche as anything can be.

But as we’ve aged, we seem to have lost sight of Jim Henson’s vision, his message, and his passion. In this Lean Muppets series, I hope to re-introduce a lot of us to Jim’s message and show how we might either learn from or be actually living out some classic Muppet skits every day.

This series is for everyone who works in an office, has an idea, follows Lean / SixSigma / 5s / Lean Startup / Personal Kanban / Kanban for software development / Lean medicine / Lean government…you see how adults complicate things?

This series is for everyone who feels dissatisfied, but would rather not.

This series is for people wondering why their business is broken, and who are tired of non-Muppets telling them why.

In a recent (April 2012) interview with iSixSigma magazine, I was asked what I thought Lean was all about. I talked about Deming’s Theory of Profound Knowledge. (I will post a link when it is published).

When I thought about this a few days later while enjoying a bout of jetlag in a Swedish Hotel, I realized that Deming’s vision was Jim Henson’s vision…and it’s a vision I too share.

To engage my hubris muscle, I will now say what I believe that distilled shared vision is:

If we care, we create.

If we create, we improve.

If we improve, we live.

That is my vision. That is Lean. That is Muppets.

How to implement the vision? Here come the guides (updated as they come out over the next month):

  1. Variation Can Help: Lean Muppets Post 1
  2. Failure Demand and Unthoughtful Production: Lean Muppets Post 2
  3. Sunk Cost, Loss Aversion, and Cannibalism: Lean Muppets Post 3
  4. The Language of Metrics: Lean Muppets Post 4
  5. You Are in My System: Lean Muppets Post 5
  6. Root Cause Analysis: Lean Muppets Post 6
  7. Flow, Cadence, and Slack: Lean Muppets Post 7
  8. Practice, Practice, Practice: Lean Muppets Post 8
  9. Customers, Respect, and Value: Lean Muppets Post 9
  10. Rules, Motivation & System Thinking: Lean Muppets Post 10

Disclaimer: Jim Henson and the Muppets are a global treasure that we all share in the legacy of. We learned to count, spell, cooperate, and respect each other through Jim’s work. Modus Cooperandi and Personal Kanban have no legal relationship with the Muppets, but we sure were influenced by their wisdom.

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10 Responses to The Lean Muppet Series: Introduction

  1. Pingback: Sunk Cost, Loss Aversion, and Cannibalism: Lean Muppet Series Post 3 | Personal Kanban

  2. Pingback: The Language of Metrics: Lean Muppets Series Post 4 | Personal Kanban

  3. Pingback: You’re In My System: Lean Muppets Post 5 | Personal Kanban

  4. Pingback: Root Cause Analysis: Lean Muppets Series Post 6 | Personal Kanban

  5. Pingback: Flow, Cadence, Slack, and Stress: Lean Muppets Post 7 | Personal Kanban

  6. Pingback: Practice, Practice, Practice: Lean Muppets Series Post 8 | Personal Kanban

  7. Pingback: Rules, Motivation, & Systems Thinking: Lean Muppets Post 10 | Personal Kanban

  8. Pingback: Customers, Respect & Value: Lean Muppets Post 9 | Personal Kanban

  9. Pingback: Prioritization… (take 1) | About Software, Testing & Life

  10. Pingback: Introducing Jim Benson and Personal Kanban | Agile Australia Blog

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