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Eric Hiller shares how his experience as a new father reminds him of how one has to adjust and adapt using knowledge learned from lean manufacturing and agile product development.

Coronavirus has changed a lot of things in America—especially in urban areas, where there are heightened precautions. It is even more chaotic when you have your first newborn baby, like my wife and me.

Babies are very different from manufacturing floors; however, there are certain processes that must be repeated over and over. Caring for newborns is a good example of how one has to adjust in a rapidly changing customer demand environment—the “customer” being the baby, of course.

Here are some ways that we can apply what we know from lean manufacturing and agile product development to being new parents.

  1. Understand the customer’s needs and design your product and process accordingly

Excited relatives and friends are showering you with gifts, but you may be confused about what you actually need. The truth is: Less than you think, but how do you know what? Answer: with good product management. Consider the use cases that your newborn has: he eats, he sleeps, he produces copious dirty diapers, and he needs love and comfort. That’s about it.

A useful technique to understand what you really need is by observing a customer proxy in situ. Before your baby is born, ask to visit a friend’s baby for a few hours (virtually during the quarantine). They will love the company and your help. After research, write a use case for the customer, or make a value-stream map. Document the capital, consumables, and info you need to help the customer accomplish their goals.

 

Points of connection include:

  • Product modularity
  • Agile meal planning
  • Digital Dashboarding

 

Read the full article, Bringing up Baby, the Lean and Agile Way, on IndustryWeek.com.