Management Design in a Flow Perspective

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Management Design in a Flow Perspective
Erika Bellander, Member, Management Consultant, Sweden

My view is that many businesses today needs a total new way of managing their undertakings internally.
Long time ago I started out in business as an aeronautical engineer, and worked with acoustics and valve testing. Changing work to mapping workflow for PDM-systems and to reengineer production lines gave me insight into how difficult it is to really utilize and communicate what big IT-improvements really mean and how they affect knowledge, logistics and people’s day to day work life, all in order to make real and long term improvements in terms of efficiency and quality.
What I found out was that people and their efficiency were not the real cause of inefficiencies, but the management’s lack of perspective, common views and understanding of what the new IT-systems actually perform that was insufficient. Still, after many years struggling with this, I find this even more as I talk to people and have students writing theses, as a supervisor. I recent performed a workshop where business consultants and managers in a management network should map a business case based on my model. All the maps of flow views were made clear, and beautiful, the only flow that people were not able to produce a business stream map for was the management activities themselves. This was a finding that the group felt really concerning, and put a light on the problem, that management today is tricky especially when it comes to value and deliveries. The problem in this case were alignment of the management team, so it enlightened the problem. Solving would of course involve the team and will be done later for the real case.
The fluid analogies can really help us to put forward where improvement is needed with a short glanse and help us to come to the root cause immediately, but also give us hints to how and what to do to solve and what can be achieved. Not as any easy and low hanging fruits, but about what is needed to make more stable and long term businesses, this means that the long term work starts, but with a clear direction, that fast can be changed if needed. All the way from vision and strategy and to improvement initiatives the knowledge should by now be that this is a process for the management, and should not be up to everyone to invent from scratch in one’s career. As the development process and project management has undertaken a radical change, the turn is now with the manager’s procedures, models and tools, to really make a paradigm shift. Some very large corporate have learnt these by doing and made these internal standards, but it should not stay that way. That´s why I have bothered to develop tools for this, and found that my analogies, was really helpful for this and gave much to work with.
As I think my analogies are a discovey, you are free to explore them on my homepage, and draw own conclusions.

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