This article expands on Reflective in a Concrete Reflective Tool. Tools that help us learn from their use give us tremendous opportunity for growth.
(This is part of the Introduction to CRT article, this expands on the nature and value of Reflective tools.)
The definition of reflective I use is:
“Of, relating to, produced by, or resulting from reflection.”
Think of driving a car down the highway without being able to reflect on the current road and traffic conditions; that feedback is crucial to being able to successfully navigate. There are many names for this: Inspect and Adapt, Plan-Do-Check-Act, Feedback Cycles, Closed-Loop Control Systems.
In “Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process”, by John Shook, there are two references to wanting the people in your organization to be “reflective problems solvers”. This strikes me as such an important concept that I wanted to mention here that this book prepared me to see “concrete reflective tools” at all during the Kanban conference.
Of course we want reflective, it’s obvious, right? Just having “reflective” alone though can be useless. I think there is a world of difference between an abstract reflective and concrete reflective system. The former requires the expert, the intuitive guide, that can draw conclusions “from the air”. The latter can bring everyone into the fold. Should the WIP limit be 4, or 5? We can reflect on the backlog that occurred last time we expanded the WIP limit and everyone on the team can participate in that conversation. No “black belt” needed.