Understanding Lean, Agile and Governance in Business

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Lean and Agile: Similarity and Difference
Let’s think about sprint. Lean and Agile, both can be analogous as a sprint run. Both has many similarities but also differences at the same time. Both talk about speed but here is the main difference: the type of track they run within.
In short, we can be analogous Lean as a 100 or 200 metres sprint run. On the other hand, Agile can be analogous as a sprint run in zig zag track with much shorter track. It is like a striker in a soccer game who has to run zigzag in speed to beat defenders to make a goal.
If we think about two extreme conditions within the business, Lean will be at its best if it is implemented in a stable business environment, low variability, and high volume of products or services. On the other side, Agile is much fitter in a fast changing business environment, high variability, and low volume of products or services. See the chart below for easier visualization:

To summarize, both Lean and Agile are Good! We have to understand when we can use Lean, Agile or even both in our organization.
So, understanding the type of playing field of our Business will help us get the most of Lean and Agile implementation benefit within our company.
Governance: the goal of being governed is not to slow down the company speed, but to be safer and more confident for more speed
At a glance, talking about governance will spontaneously make us think about a complicate documented rules, standards, and instructions within organization. That spontaneous popping thought in our mind is normal and natural since we have seen so many documentation in many organization that we know as a governed company. If we go back to the philosophy of governance, actually it has nothing to do with documentation.
So, let’s take a look in governance definition in dictionary:
http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/governance.html
Establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization.

Based on that definition we obviously can see there is actually no documentation process at all. In an extreme condition, our company is governed as long as all members of organization properly implement all the required mechanism to run the business, to deliver value add to their customers.

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/governance.html
It includes the mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members (with the associated accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the organization

Statement of prosperity and viability of the organization in the definition above is directly leading us to the term: sustainability of the business. No matter how fast our organization run, no matter how lean and agile we operate, it will be useless when, for example, we cannot comply to regulatory requirement. So, governance is not about slowing down the company, but it is about how we can deliver value add to all stakeholders safely and continuously.

Before we close the topic, I would like to ask you 2 questions:
First: which one has more sophisticated and higher technology braking system: F1 racing car or a Minibus car? I bet you guys will answer F1!

Second: What is the function of a more sophisticated and higher technology braking system in F1 car? The answer is obvious: to be confidently and safely use more speed! So is governance.

To conclude, I just want to repeat the sub title of this part: the goal of being governed is not to slow down the company speed, but to be safer and more confident for more speed! Now we can understand that governance means more speed in Lean and Agile implementation, safely, and confidently.

Rifki Rizal
Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt
Veda Praxis Professional Services
LinkedIn - https://id.linkedin.com/in/rifkirizal