Why Iteration is Great For Process Improvement

Firewood Splitting Process Honed After Several Iterations

I have several ash trees that have succumbed to the emerald ash borer so while I am looking for a new opportunity, I am cutting, splitting and stacking wood. It is actually pretty good exercise! What I have found is that I have been employing my IT/Business skills to this task.

I split wood with my Dad and Brother when I was younger. It involved us going into the forest on the back of my Dad’s property, cutting down several trees, splitting them with a log splitter, hauling the split pieces up to the house and stacking them for burning in the winter.

With my wood splitting and stacking requires me to work by myself most of the time so I have refined the process about three times to get the most efficient process to get the job done. Here’s why…

It allows you to evaluate your metrics

Say you are measuring something like how many widgets you can produce in a day (in my case it how many face cords I could split and stack in a day). If the process is not able to meet the metric, refine the process. By making the process more efficient, you are more likely to meet your metric. In my case, I found to make my set up so ergonomic I could split as much as possible without expending unneeded energy (see pic above). This enabled me to meet my target of one cord per day (remember working in my spare time and mostly by myself.).

You Actually Understand the Process Better

When you are trying to understand a process you document how it goes….in theory. It is not only until you start actually using the process, you see that it might not go exactly how you documented it. Iterations help you refine your understanding. Obviously this is not found out in production. In project management it is usually done in the Design Phase.

By taking care of these items I was able to hit my target, understand how to split wood better and spare my back LOL

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