Continuous learning and improvement is important for any industry. And especially for the high-tech industry. What makes it so crucial – specifically for players in the high-tech industry – to keep learning and improving continuously? And how do you tackle this?
As a high-tech industry, how do you maintain your edge and continue to develop high-quality products with a shorter time-to-market? Precisely by investing in people and gaining knowledge as quickly as possible and then applying improvements. As a developer in high-tech, you want to promote continued learning and improvement across projects, not just within your project teams. The organization works faster if not only the development team knows what process steps have changed, but also all other employees within the organization’s value chain. That way you increase the quality of your product as quickly as possible and the entire organization benefits from the advancing insight or “lessons learned. But how do you implement this way of working?
The trick, then, is to make the circle of learning, improvement and implementation as short as possible. By regularly asking all team members during the process what could be improved and implementing these improvements immediately and communicating them organization-wide, you create a continuous learning cycle in which the well-known flywheel effect occurs and you learn and improve faster and faster as a team and as an organization. Sounds actually quite simple, right? But why then does it often prove so difficult to implement improvement in practice?
Communication takes time
This has to do with two factors: the very piece of implementing and communicating takes time, and in addition, it also has to do with organizational culture. If we look at the time factor, we should note that implementing and communicating change takes a lot of time. It is quite a lot of work to change the process, record the changes and then implement and communicate this to the entire organization.
Being happy with a tip or advice
The second complicating factor is organizational culture. Because not every organization welcomes a tip, an improved way of working or worse: criticism from colleagues. So how do you create a culture that encourages learning from within? And how do you promote such a culture? This has everything to do with two preconditions: Safety & Trust. When these two conditions are met within an organization, employees feel safe and free to share learning points and solutions along the way. And to take tips and advice from each other.
Feeling safe is paramount
When you are busy trying to meet a schedule, it is often difficult to be open to advice or improvements. Not least because change takes time. And time is precious for any development team. But at the end of the road, it pays to get people together regularly, exchange adjustments, record, feed back and communicate further into the organization. But working together remains human work. This means working together as an organization to create a culture where people feel safe and start identifying areas for improvement from an intrinsic motivation.
Go for the long-term effect
Traditionally, we see all product developments divided into projects. But experience tells us that long-term programs or product teams lend themselves much better to continuous learning and improvement, because it pays to make an improvement and there is time to build trust and safety in the teams. This is how you transform from project-oriented to product-oriented to platform-oriented innovation. And that, in turn, benefits the entire organization.
Want to know more?
Want to learn more about how to implement continuous learning and improvement in your organization as well? Call or email us. We would be happy to think with you about the best approach for your organization.