Applying lean techniques, or more specifically continuous improvement, is a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to keep the value and reduce the waste of processes with small, incremental changes in order to improve efficiency and quality. Lean techniques can be applied to any kind of work, but it is perhaps best known for lean manufacturing.
The challenge that most companies face is how to correctly prioritize and scope the improvements to be covered. To be successful, companies need to remember that planning and analysis of the improvements are key. After all of the possible improvements have been identified (lean methodology uses the Kaizen workshop for this), it is critical to be able to classify them according to value and effort.
If we are consistent in the measures of these two for all the possible improvements, we can then map them in a two-axis graph (value versus effort):
Those 4 quadrants are the key to start prioritizing the improvements. Here is where Zorro with his mask, hat and sword gets into the scene with his famous sign. That “Z” tells us the order that we should follow to implement the changes, and that is why this is called the “Zorro chart”.
If you are interested in more details about this approach and how to cover high value-high effort strategical initiatives in a lean way, read the whitepaper we just produced Lean data management practices: Lean Data Management Practices: Seeking value is a never-ending story.
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