Dreamix marks one year since the initiation of our new Operational Excellence model with an award. We were officially named a Continuous improvement software organization. We received the award at a gala ceremony featuring James Womack – the guru of the Lean methodology. As we received it, we couldn’t help but recap what we did best with our operational excellence so far.
What is operational excellence?
Operational excellence is a management philosophy focusing on continuous improvement by boosting performance and decreasing waste. At its core are streamlining processes and enhancing productivity.
Within operational excellence, there are several methodologies, such as Lean Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen, and business process reengineering. Our award was given by the local Lean Institute.
The Toyota effect on operational excellence
Have you heard the story about Toyota’s manufacturing disruption starting in the 50’s? They revolutionized the production process by streamlining what they called the Toyota Production System. At its core is the so-called Justin in Time Production (or JIT). But it also consists of several other fundamental principles, which are key to contemporary management. They are:
- Jidoka (automation with a human touch)
- Kaizen (continuous improvement)
- Heijunka (smooth production flow)
- Poka-yoke (prevent mistakes)
- Kanban (visual scheduling system)
- Andon (visual management system)
Today, countless companies use Lean and Kanban, notably some of the largest and most popular ones, like Amazon, Intel, Boeing, Nike, Microsoft, etc.
The Lean Methodology in software engineering
Initially adopted in manufacturing, Lean was also successfully applied to various sectors, including software development, healthcare, finance, etc. Software development companies, like Dreamix, usually adopt Agile methodologies, including Kanban and Scrum.
Another widespread approach is Test-Driven Development, which helps improve code quality, reduce defects, and improve the design. Software engineering companies also use measurable indicators such as lead time, cycle time, defect rate, customer satisfaction, and team productivity.
Cross-functional teams and collaboration are fundamental to operational excellence and the Lean methodology.
What we have done so far at Dreamix
In addition to all of the above, we at Dreamix invested a lot in making our growth sustainable. Having a 70%+ growth rate in the past couple of years means that our team quickly grew to more than 200 employees, bringing record turnover. We could no longer scale without revising and adapting our management processes to the new context.
So our Chief Operations Officer, encouraged by our CEO initiated an Operational Excellence initiative to revamp and adapt our management in 6 phases:
- “Alignment, Reasoning, Meaning, Team, Principles & Rules” phase: This phase aims to align all participants on our objectives, philosophy, and expected contributions. We establish transparent rules, membership criteria, and ways to continuously improve our company.
- “Exploration” phase: During this phase, we share experiences and identify areas for improvement within the company.
- “Creation” phase: We collectively decide on the best approach for implementing improvements in this phase.
- “Implementation” phase: Here, we align on executing the chosen improvement plan, organizing meetings, and assigning tasks to drive company transformation.
- “Monitoring” phase: This phase involves tracking the identified transformational aspects using measurable metrics on a monthly basis.
- “Reflection” phase: We discuss and adapt our processes and approaches based on our Operational Excellence initiative. We periodically conduct surveys to measure the initiative’s benefits.
The process involved many people across the entire company. C-level leadership was involved: CEO, COO, CFO, CBDO, CT&C, CTO
Additionally, the C-level participants invited approximately 15 people from various company departments (Operations, Finance, Business Development, Talents & Culture, and Delivery).
Outcomes within the first 6-9 months
Indirect business results
- We developed a practical procedure for defining and tracking transformative metrics, enabling continuous improvement.
- We established a practical procedure for evaluating and prioritizing valuable customers.
- We aligned leadership insights and goals throughout the company, leading to practical goal setting and motivation at all levels.
- We implemented a practical 6-month schedule for reflection, focus analysis, and goal setting.
Direct business results
- We increased transparency and collaborative approach resulted in new partnerships and significant growth in existing partnerships.
- We improved alignment among departments, leading to higher achievement rates of departmental goals.
- We initiated new projects within the company that directly contributed to business growth.
Effects on the team
We strengthened the bond within the leadership team and facilitated the growth of new company leaders through collaboration and exposure to the C-levels’ thinking and idea generation.
We promoted a clear message that everyone can contribute to creating value, and their contributions are appreciated and rewarded. The company goals are transparent, inviting contributions from all team members.