Velocity: A business novelMay 7th, 2011 by Rick Haynes.
I am reading the book “Velocity: a business novel” that is written by members of the Goldratt Institute. It is intended as a sort of sequel from “The Goal,” but it is a different. It is similar in the writing style because it is written like a story of a manager who must lead an organization and covers their path of discovery both in the business and in their family. The focus of the book goes beyond the Theory of Constraints and discusses the lean and the six sigma methods at the same time. One nice side of the book is that they look at both a manufacturing facility but also a R&D facility, so they show the transactional side of business too.
Of course, this is a book to convince lean and six sigma people about the value of the theory of constraints, but there are many good messages in the book. The strongest message out of the book is also the biggest negative about lean and six sigma. This issue is that all improvements are not really improvements. One character, Wayne, is described as a MBB in lean six sigma although he behaves primarily like a lean practitioner. Maybe he is a certified MBB from the “Lean Sigma” programs that are being taught, where you lean out the system and then use six sigma, but who knows.
The book documents many of the lean activities that are performed and how they made local improvements that were not benefiting the enterprise (if not truly making it worse). The way it is portrayed, I believe, is very close to what is experienced in a real business. As in all books, I believe that the authors exaggerate the issues, but it does not impact the message.
This book reinforces a message that Forrest Breyfogle’s Integrated Enterprise Excellence books also make, the idea that the enterprise is more important than the gain in a single area. The book makes the best case about the situations that this conflict could arise, that I have ever read. I think this type of book, a novel, is a great way to portray it. I will not give away the conclusion of the book, because I still want you to consider reading it to learn how the story ends in a balance of the improvement methods.
It is worth a read.