I refound this Mike Rother quote today from where I’d cited it a couple of years ago.

Anytime you start up a pull system, it will crash and burn within a short time. There will be glowing and charred pieces, so to speak. But it is precisely these charred and glowing pieces that tell you what you need to work on, step by step, in order to make the pull system function as intended.

Your second attempt to make that pull system work may then last a bit longer than the first, but it too will soon fail. And again you will learn what you need to work on. This cycle will actually repeat, albeit with longer intervals between the problems, until someday you have a 1×1 flow and no longer need the pull system.

Mike Rother: Toyota Kata

You don’t learn a lot from success, or when things go exactly as expected.

You don’t achieve a lot from failure, or when things don’t go as planned.

Optimising both factors means you should expect to fail a lot at the start to enable achieving a lot subsequently.

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Martin Burns

Transformation Consultant at CA Inc (formerly Rally)
Previously: Leader of software delivery portfolios in large scale orgs.
Specialism: Transforming complex delivery organisations to be more Lean/Agile.
Mindset: Continuous Improvement Obsessive
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Failing Pull Systems, Gateway to Working Pull Systems and Single Piece Flow by Martin Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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