Fast-Brain “Storming”

We had twenty minutes to complete the assignment. Go!

Our job was to document 180 discreet operational steps in a manufacturing process, placing each step in an approximate sequence. We had nine volunteer managers from each of the operating areas.

Step One: We distributed little 3×3 sticky note pads to each manager, along with one of those bold felt tip marking pens. 19 minutes. Go!

Instructions to the Manager group: On separate sticky notes, please write down the key words describing the most important operational steps in your area. Please select the twenty most important (major) steps in your area. Ten minutes from now, when you are finished, you should have twenty separate sticky notes, each with an important step written on it. Any questions? Go!

While the managers prepared their sticky notes, we taped 27 feet of 36 inch wide butcher paper on the wall. Double thickness, in case someone wanted to write on it (save the wall). We lightly marked and divided the butcher paper into nine sections, one for each person.

Time’s up. Please take your 20 sticky notes to the butcher paper. Arrange yourselves in the same sequence as your areas on the floor. Stick your notes on the paper and place them in the sequence that work is performed in your area. You may draw appropriate arrows and make appropriate notes on the butcher paper to further clarify your operational steps. You have five minutes. Go!

Team, we still have 3 minutes left before our twenty minutes expire. There is coffee available on the table at the back of the room. Thank you very much for your cooperation today.

Now, what could you do with a flow chart like that, documenting your work flow? -TF

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