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  1. Go to the Toyota Web site, and view the video on Jidoka (www.toyota.co.jp/en/vision/production_system/video.html20). You will see sophisticated Toyoda automated looms from the 1920s. The videos on Just-in-Time and the Toyota Production System are also worth viewing.

  2. Do you have a tendency to work in batches? If you had to mail 100 letters, how would you go about folding the letters, stuffing the envelopes, adding address labels and stamps? Would you process one envelope at a time, or would you perform each step in a batch? Why? Try timing both ways and see which is faster. If you have children, ask them how they would approach the problem.

  3. Table 1.1 lists similarities between manufacturing and product development. Discuss this table with your team, one line at a time. Does it make sense in your world to think of partially done work as inventory? Do the other analogies make sense? Analogies are a double-edged sword. Where might the analogies between manufacturing and product development lead you astray?

  4. Work-arounds: You have an organization of intelligent people. Do these people make it their job to work around problems, or are problems considered a trigger to stop-the-line and find the root cause? Make a list of the Top 10 problems that occurred in your group in the last week. List after each problem the way it was resolved. Rank each problem on a scale of 0– 5. The rank of 5 means that you are confident that the cause of the problem has been identified and eliminated and it is unlikely to occur again. The rank of 0 means that there is no doubt the problem will crop up again. What is your total score?

  5. If people in your organization instinctively work around problems, they have the wrong reflexes! Brainstorm what it will take to develop a culture that does not tolerate abnormalities, whether it is a broken build or a mis-communication, a failed installation or code that is not robust enough to hold up in production. Have a "stop-the-line" committee investigate the ideas and choose the best candidate to get started. In the one chosen area, switch from a work-around culture to a stop-the-line culture. Be sure reflexive stop-the-line habits are developed! Repeat.

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