So why on earth have we given our company for the production of Lean and Agile tools that weird name, Heyunka? What does it mean? What does it stand for?
Heyunka is taken from the Japanese word heijunka, which means something like a balanced workflow. It’s a base principle, one of the core foundations of the typical lean house. According to Lean and Agile, we can only grow as individuals, companies or nations, when we have reached some process stability. When we’re not driven by the storm of the day. When we don’t need to waste our time and energy on fighting fires, solving emergencies, correcting mistakes…
Heijunka, or a balanced workload, means that we stop running. Instead, we walk at a constant pace. We deliver an equal number of products, services, or results per day. We settle a pace and stick to it. This also means that we try to make ‘Every Product Every Day’, or do ‘Every Task Every Day’. Instead of collecting certain jobs for the end of the week or month: Such as some tend to do with their email, admin jobs, testing, writing, process improvement or collection of feedback.
When applying heijunka, we do it all, all the time, constantly. We do our jobs and also our email, admin, testing, writing, process improvement, collecting of feedback and everything else -on a daily basis-. And we don’t batch. This leads to carefully and equally distributed releases of new versions of a product, for instance on a monthly basis. We don’t strive for stupendous all finished new products after three years of dedicated and isolated development.
Applying heijunka also means that we must have teams with professionals who are able and willing to support each other. One may be a specialist, but when idle in a project, we help others to go through their tasks. Because the constant progress of the project is key. Heijunka calls for sharing of skills and competencies, for learning from each other, for becoming great teams.
Heijunka in short is a major foundation of lean, and therefor of Lean and Agile Project Management too. That’s why we can be found at www.heyunka.com.