Planning and implementing capability development

A Note to The Reader

This text describes what Saab did to create long-term sustainable change management. In the early 2000s, Saab had made a large number of important capability investments within various technical areas that produced good results. What was missing, however, was an overall perspective of where in the operation the investments produced the greatest effect and contributed to long-term capability development.

For change management to succeed, it is absolutely crucial that an operation’s maturity is understood. Furthermore, it is necessary to assess how long it takes for the changes to be accepted and adopted. It is very important to understand and accept this so that the potential of a change can be exploited, otherwise there will be no increase in capability, but only tiredness and apathy among the affected personnel.

A requirement for developing long-term organisational capabilities is the ability to handle a number of important prerequisites. To this end, in 2005 work began on drawing up an operational development plan with a seven-year perspective, updated annually.

Background

The account given in this chapter describes how capability development work was operated from 2005 to 2011 inclusive.

Over the years, the work of generating long-term sustainable change management has been continuously developed and driven via various management groups, characterised by a long-term and persistent approach. The purpose of this investment is to maintain unique development and production skills within the industry, which is furthermore undergoing constant change and development.

Recommended reading

The author recommends the following texts that relate to this story: In chapter Ensuring long-term operations capabilities under the heading Continuing To Grow , under the heading Management & control of capability development and under the heading Success factors in change processes.

The text concerns the highlighted areas of A Journey of Change in the Aircraft Industry

Summary

It is a challenge to make changes in an operation and make these changes last over time, while also wanting the operation to develop continuously. It is always possible to reach a change saturation point; it is a bad idea to change too much at once.

Before getting underway with change management, some simple reflection is in order. This forces one to think about whether it is worth changing something and to see the consequences of the implementation itself. Ultimately, it is a matter of understanding the consequences for those who will be using the result.

In order to make an overall assessment of the total need for capability development, it was decided in 2005 to produce an operational development plan.

An operational development plan is a comprehensive assessment of all capabilities that are required in order to meet set long-term objectives and to implement these objectives practically into concrete change projects and activities. The operational development plan also describes the focus and conditions for the organisational capabilities that are required in order to meet the objectives defined in the business plan.

The operational development plan is drawn up on the basis of an overall perspective of the business area’s need for capabilities in the short and long term.

Over the years, major streamlining projects have been carried out, which have streamlined and rationalised operations significantly. Within development, production, logistics and test operations, very high rationalisation effects have been achieved. As an example of this, the cost level for the above operational areas dropped by 35% over a
ten-year period. It should also be borne in mind that the complexity of the products has increased substantially, which has affected working procedures, methodologies and IT environments within the operation.

Description of the contents

  • The conditions for capability development depend on an understanding of certain simple basic principles of change management.
  • It is worth analysing the conditions that are required in order to manage long-term efficiency.
  • How is an analysis of capability needs and capability development performed, and what sets the requirements for organisational capabilities?
  • What requirements control the focus of organisational capabilities and capability development?
  • A focus directive provides instructions for how capability development will take place in the coming budget year.
  • Who will carry out the long-term change management?
  • What guidelines need to be kept to in capability development?

Preconditions for Capability Development

This chapter describes what Saab did to create long-term sustainable change management, and how work on long-term capability development was operated from 2005 to 2011 inclusive.

In the early 2000s, Saab had made a large number of important capability investments within various technical areas that produced good results. What was missing, however, was an overall perspective of where in the operation the investments produced the greatest effect and contributed to long-term capability development.

For change management to succeed, it is absolutely crucial that an operation’s maturity is understood. Furthermore, it is necessary to assess how long it takes for the changes to be accepted and adopted. It is very important to understand and accept this so that the potential of a change can be exploited, otherwise there will be no increase in capability, but only tiredness and apathy among the affected personnel.

It is a challenge to make changes in an operation and make these changes last over time, while also wanting the operation to develop continuously. This requires an ability to handle a number of important prerequisites in order to develop long-term organisational capabilities.

To this end, in 2005 work began on drawing up an operational development plan with a
seven-year perspective, updated annually. The purpose of this investment is to maintain unique development and production skills within the industry, which is furthermore undergoing constant change and development.

Over the years, the work of generating long-term sustainable change management has been continuously developed and driven via various management groups, characterised by a long-term and persistent approach.

Since work began on focused investment in capability development, a large number of change projects have been carried out. These have been change projects of various types and sizes. The focus of these projects has varied from streamlining and rationalisation to the development of completely new capabilities within all parts of the operation, with the greatest focus on technology and project operations.

The result of this investment has produced significant benefits, cost reductions and efficiency gains. Particularly for operations within development, production, logistics and test operations, very high rationalisation effects have been achieved. As an example of this, the cost level for the above operational areas dropped by 35% over a
ten-year period. It should also be borne in mind that the complexity of the products that have been developed has increased substantially, which has affected working procedures, methodologies and IT environments within the operation.

Basic principles and important factors

In order to increase organisational capabilities and to be able to manage and measure the results of capability investments, it is important to define how the work will be managed.

Over a long period, large amounts have been invested in new working procedures, new methodologies, and particularly in the development environments required to develop products. It must thus be ensured that values already invested are exploited before making new investments. It is very easy to get bogged down in complex calculations, which only lead to bureaucracy and confusion regarding the values that could result from a change.

It is therefore important to build up skills regarding understanding of what can be implemented and what leads to efficiency. This does not prevent it from always being necessary to produce a business case for all capability development of a more extensive nature. It is always worth producing a business case by simple means and along simple principles. It does not take long to do!

It is also necessary to see the implications for those who will be administering the result, the support and the methodological support that are needed. Furthermore, significant requirements will be placed on those who are responsible for training and maintaining skills over time.

Two overall questions with a broader perspective are:

  • What benefit and effect could the change lead to?
  • Can we afford to carry out a change or not?

Management groups at all levels must determine how to deal with and decide on these questions.

It is especially important to have carried out well thought-out information structuring where major changes are to be implemented; information that affects a large number of employees must be structured so that it has an intuitive structure with a good level of information security.

It is important to protect the values that exist in data and information, as these form a basis for the skills that are documented. It is always important to ensure that ownership is in place for all data and information, and that it is updated and correctly classified. All aspects of security and privacy must be able to be handled in an efficient manner.

It is necessary to ensure that all information management is adapted and designed for the relevant products and covers the entirety of their life cycles. This forces one to assess whether an adaptation of processes, methods, IT infrastructure, IT environments etc. is required.

The introduction of changes must be adapted with regard to the affected operation or organisation’s maturity, otherwise difficulties arise with delivering new capabilities one time and in the right packaging. It is also important to ensure step-by-step development in order to secure results and benefits as soon as possible.

Conditions for Managing Long-Term Efficiency

At the group level within Saab AB, there is a business plan that is processed to adapt it to the conditions and objectives of the relevant business area – each business area thus has its own business plan. The business plan defines objectives and strategic directions with a perspective of five to ten years.

The business plan at the business area level is then implemented into an operational plan, which is intended to define the long-term organisational capabilities in order to provide increased competitiveness and good capabilities for conducting profitable business. The operational plan includes a number of objectives and strategies that form the basis for the management of objectives, over one to two years in the short term and over ten years in the long term.

In addition, there are business plans in the product areas, which can be said to constitute specialisations for long-term product planning. There are also strategic plans within research and development and for all technology areas.

The overall operational plan is then adapted into operational plans at the departmental and area levels. To define the operation’s total need for processes, methodology, IT environments and IT tools, operational plans are produced within various PM&T areas. There are PM&T areas for technology, projects, business deals and management & infrastructure. Each PM&T area is responsible for providing support to line operations and product development projects.

In order to make an overall assessment of the total need for capability development, it was decided in 2005 to produce an operational development plan.

Operational development plans are comprehensive assessments of all capabilities that are required in order to meet set long-term objectives, and to implement these objectives practically into concrete change projects and activities. The operational development plan also describes the focus and conditions for the organisational capabilities that are required in order to meet the objectives defined in the business plan.

The operational development plan is drawn up on the basis of an overall perspective of the business area’s need for capabilities in the short and long term. The plan contains a guide to how annual change management should be operated, which means that there are instructions and guidelines as to the more comprehensive investments that are required. This also includes guidance as to where more operational streamlining should be carried out, as well as guidelines for achieving stable management of existing working procedures and existing IT operations.

The operational development plan is based on an analysis of overall strategic plans with a top-down perspective, and an analysis of operational plans from a bottom-up perspective.

The strategic plans were composed of the business plan, business plans per product area, the operational plan including strategies, product plans and technical plans, and investment plans for IT environments. The operational plans consist in the first instance of operational plans at the departmental level and operational plans at the area level, and there are also project plans at various levels for product development projects to refer to.

The operational development plan was produced by analysing plans and interviews with managers in charge of business deals, technology, operational areas and product projects. The starting point for this work was to assess various types of change requirements, rationalisations and capability increases.

Requirements for capability development were defined by a large number of stakeholders, examples of which include various types of management group, project leaders, sub-project leaders, team leaders and experts in various operational and technology areas. Particularly important were the function-bearers responsible for design work or airworthiness issues or those with product responsibility.

The operational development plan has the following three time perspectives for the implementation of organisational capabilities.

  1. Operational requirements were integrated into directives and budgetary guides ahead of upcoming budget years. This also applies to prepared change projects that have a good business case with a well-founded requirement.
  2. Capability development with a planning horizon of 3–5 years. A particular type of capability development involves the need to carry out significant changes that can often have many dependencies with other changes and change projects. It is important here to examine the value streams and look at the big picture, meaning that business cases are assessed with regard to entire value streams or entire capabilities and not only individual change projects. This type of planning is defined in roadmaps at the area level.
  3. For long-term capability development with strong links to technology and product development, documentation in both roadmaps and strategies was done with a 5–10 year perspective. It is important here to have very good joint planning between product managers and the individual product development projects, as well as with administrative organisations. It is necessary to examine and then decide which capabilities really are strategic.

Overall strategic plans

In order to produce the operational development plan, reviews of the overall strategic plan were carried out from a top-down perspective. Information was taken from these as follows:

  1. The business plan, which draws up the guidelines for the operation’s business deals, product portfolio, future direction, and financial, operational and strategic objectives.
  2. The operational plan, which defines the business concept, vision and values. The plan also includes the year’s most important objectives, and is a strategic map with an in-depth strategic view that defines overall and short-term objectives as well as success factors for carrying out business deals, product capabilities and various operational capacities. This plan also forms the basis for the operation’s management of objectives.
  3. Business plans per product area, with requirement assessments of organisational capabilities and resources. Assessments and analyses of the market, products, competitors and finances for the products within the product area are also carried out here. Business plans per product area relate to existing products in the product portfolio.
  4. Business development plans per product area, which are an assessment of potential opportunities for new products and new markets.
  5. Technical plans per technology area (of which there are 14), which include assessments of the technology area’s status, technical requirements in the product programme, activities relating to research projects, assessments of technological gaps and upcoming technological developments.
  6. Product plans, which identify technological trends, customer requirements, the development of operational capacities, financial requirements, development capabilities, production requirements, analyses of competition and development plans etc.
  7. Production plans, which define rates of product production on a yearly or several-year basis.
  8. Strategic plans for the planning of changes to IT architecture and IT environments; these plans set the direction for the coming years as well as change requirements with a three-year perspective. In addition, analyses have been carried out on the basis of a ten-year reinvestment need for the largest or most strategically important IT systems.

 

 

The figure shows the strategic plans based on a top-down perspective of capability development.

Operational plans

It is also absolutely necessary to carry out an analysis of the need for organisational capabilities from a bottom-up perspective. Here, the need for change, streamlining and increased capabilities is assessed on the basis of the existing operation within the line organisation and product project.

The plans that reflect the operational need from a bottom-up perspective are as follows:

  1. Various types of plan issued from product development projects, overall plans and plans at the sub-project level. These plans are primarily based on the need for new capabilities that exists with regard to PM&T (processes, methods and tools).
    A critical issue when assessing these plans is to define when new results from change projects need to be ready and fully functional in order to provide increased capabilities or greater efficiency in the product projects.
  2. Operational plans for the various departments in the line operation, which are designed to implement overall objectives and needs and to supply skills and resources.
  3. The operational plans for PM&T, which describe both the need for increased capabilities on the basis of requirements from line operations and product projects, and the provision of management of existing processes, methodologies, IT environments and IT tools.
  4. As a subset of the operational plans from various PM&Ts, roadmaps (which define a plan for major changes within the PM&T with a five-year perspective) are defined.
  5. In addition, needs from initiated job-holders in various parts of the operation are handled.

 

The figure shows which operational plans are based on a bottom-up perspective of capability development. Dashed boxes indicate that there are only requirements from job-holders, i.e. no written documentation.

Analysis of Capability Requirements And Capability Development – What Contributes To Profitability And Efficiency

In order to achieve the objectives defined in the business plan, it is necessary to analyse what needs to be affected or changed.

An analysis of business and product requirements for organisational capabilities is converted into directions for capability development. This direction is designed to ensure an efficient working procedure that contributes to profitability for the business unit’s current and future business deals.

Product life cycles control how organisational capabilities change over time. Processes for handling product life cycles form an important part of the planning of organisational capabilities.

All capability development must support overall objectives and the business portfolio described in the business plan, and must be operated in accordance with Saab’s Lean philosophy.

Business development projects set the requirements for product and technological development and act as the engine for operational changes. The requirements for organisational capabilities are also set by group directives.

The analysis of the strategic plans involves assessing which of the various types of requirement for organisational capabilities will need to be realised in order to achieve the overall strategic direction for the operation as a whole.

The analysis of the operational plans should make it possible to define the types of capability that the product projects and line organisations need in order to increase capabilities and efficiency in these operations.

Requirements for Organisational Capabilities

Each year that the operational development plan was issued, a vision was defined for the long-term direction of capability development. The vision defined in 2011 is described below.

“Long-term organisational capabilities are increasing markedly, providing increased competitiveness and good capabilities for carrying out profitable business deals. We are running business-oriented change management with a comprehensive perspective in order both to rationalise and to generate new capabilities. This is done by the following means:

  • Our products and our product development control the requirements for organisational capabilities from a life-cycle perspective and must be adapted to the products’ complexity and financial viability.
  • The overall view of the value stream is a natural viewpoint. We are implementing this in practical terms by working on constant improvement and continuous learning in all work.
  • Everybody takes part and is constantly improving our organisational capabilities. Our “Lean house” encapsulates the focus of our improvement work.
  • Our working procedure is based on a standardised and secure working procedure. This working procedure is built on best practice and a “normal mode” that is based on visual control and CMMI, among other things.
  • The total organisational capabilities are easily accessible and described in rational terms in our operational management system, which forms the basis for the documented organisational capabilities.
  • Our corporate culture and values are adapted to business in an international environment, where aeronautics is one of “Sweden’s most attractive jobs”.

Business requirements for organisational capabilities are defined in the first instance for each business plan per product area; these also define product requirements for organisational capabilities that may affect business requirements.

For each product, the specific challenges to be dealt with or capacities to be developed are defined, as are the requirements behind them. A time perspective and estimated level of ambition are also specified with regard to technology, finances or function. Other external requirements may also exist here, such as various types of regulatory or customer requirements; this is done so that sufficient facts and relevant information on finances and resources are available at a later stage, allowing the most important investments to be selected.

In the work of selecting a direction for capability development, an assessment is made of the business requirements that exist and which of them create a need for changes to be made. All aspects are assessed here.

The managers per product define product requirements for organisational capabilities; these requirements may also affect business requirements. The managers per production plan define product volumes on the basis of the relevant business plan, which may impose requirements for changes in the value stream for structural development, industrialisation and production.

There are requirements that are specific to each product, but there are also many general requirements, which are often linked to profitability and financial standpoints.

General requirements may, for example, be linked to information management, the development of new technology that affects development environments and working procedures, new methods and new IT environments and IT tools that can be used for several products. Specific areas may, for example, affect product development, skills retention within a particular technology area, and specific development environments.

Examples of other types of issues that often recur when setting requirements for organisational capabilities:

  • Are the information flows effective?
  • Are production capabilities adapted to the appropriate production volumes?
  • Are the development environments adapted to new methods and working procedures?

There are also general needs and requirements that need to be handled independently of the business deal and product. These requirements may be various types of legal, environmental or other regulatory requirement, customer requirement, financial requirement, contractual requirement, shareholder requirement or any of countless other operational requirements. These requirements must also be observed and weighed against other requirements when choosing what to invest in, as the financial and resource assets always place a sharp limit on what it is possible to carry out.

Specifically, there is always some form of targeted investment to broaden and deepen the skills of engineers in order to take greater responsibility and carry out more complicated tasks within various areas of expertise.

When working on assessing which requirements and needs are the most central and produce the greatest effect and benefit, this assessment is carried out according to specific guidelines and evaluation principles.

For continuous improvement within all operations and all projects, the criteria in Saab’s “Lean house” are applied and management is exercised according to Lean principles. All major capability investments are based on a business case which is judged according to the best return on investment (ROI).

When analysing change requirements, the following questions are always examined:

  • Does the result of the change project affect the business unit’s results?
  • Is the capability to work more efficiently in product projects and operations affected?
  • Are synergies created or are there any indirect effects on quality, the environment, working atmosphere, exchanges of skills etc.?

Examples of general requirements that are assessed annually are:

  • The capability to secure functional content when delivering support systems for the product. Support systems must have the same function as the primary product (e.g. aircraft).
  • The capability to handle customer-specific, secure information.
  • Are there sufficiently efficient forms of collaboration with international partners in place?
  • Do we have the industrialisation capability required to go from development to series production in our own operations as well as those of our partners?
  • What capability is there to identify and deal with cultural differences with regard to working procedures, and when working with different partners?

In general, international collaboration with different types of partner is highly significant in terms of working procedures and the IT infrastructure required.

Another important check-off and verification needs to be done against the level of ambition and the scope that the change may entail. Is it possible to implement a change, and will the implementation itself be manageable enough and have acceptable risks? A particularly important factor tends to be whether the timing is right for implementation with regard to resource situation, project situation, expertise and training needs.

When assessing capability investments, it is always important to check whether the investments contribute to the achievement of overall long-term objectives; they should be checked against both strategic and operational plans. If this is not the case, implementation should be called into question.

All organisational capability requirements must be coordinated with the business managers per product area, product owners per product area and strategy owners and process area managers.

Focus Directive for Upcoming Budget Years

Business, product and technical plans form the basis for assessing the focus for organisational capabilities that is required in order to carry out the strategic business plan.

A focus directive is therefore created annually in order to provide directions regarding which areas capability development should focus on.

The focus directive also constitutes a planning condition for process areas and departments, with regard to which investments in improved organisational capabilities should be carried out for the upcoming budget year. The directive also describes the conditions that apply to the upcoming budget year, and there are also directions regarding which operational areas are in focus and which measures need to be implemented in order to realise the operational plan, business plan and product plan.

The directive also provides guidance as to how objectives, strategies and activities from the operational plan should be synchronised and coordinated with the operational plans for the various process areas. The directive provides instructions on which areas are the 7–10 more important to invest in for the upcoming budget year; the directive also describes the focus for capability development per strategy.

In the excerpt from the conditions applicable to the 2012 focus directive, the following statement is exemplified.

“Activities begun in previous years are to be implemented so that the defined value creation is achieved. Existing capability investments and introduction in large-scale form take priority over new investments.”

Before each new budget year, a distribution of funds is carried out, which is treated as a planning condition. The distribution of funds is set by the business area’s management group for capability development.

Using the focus directive as a basis, each PM&T area is tasked with producing proposals for project portfolios for the upcoming budget year, for the capability investments that are in line with the operational development plan and the various strategic objectives. The proposals are decided upon in one of the business area’s management groups for capability development.

Long-Term Strategic Capability Development

In order to carry out the long-term change management, there is collaboration between the persons with overall responsibility for capability development. There are two key groups for the management of long-term capability development. It is the various strategy owners who have the long-term perspective. Those responsible for the process areas are responsible for planning both the year’s capability development projects and the capability development projects that need to be carried out over a three to five-year perspective.

The operational development plan forms the basis for how strategy owners and PM&T area managers draw up guidelines for how to implement long-term capability development.

The result is a roadmap which covers at least five years and which provides the focus for the long-term capability development for each process area. This roadmap is included in each process area’s operational plan.

Within the various process areas, forecasts are made for different types of resource requirements. Of particular importance are forecasts for investment requirements with regard to equipment, software and IT systems, so that long-term investment plans can be kept up to date. Planning and check-offs against group-wide initiatives also take place as part of the annual budget process.

Guidelines for Capability Development

Guidelines are given annually to the line operations, product projects and PM&T areas. Examples of such guidelines are:

  1. Control – evaluation principles and assessments
  • That improvements within all operations are managed according to Lean principles.
  • That all major investments should have a business case that is assessed according to the best return on investment (ROI).
  1. The assessment of benefit and implementability should be based on the following criteria:
  • That the development of a new capability should contribute positively to a value stream.
  • That work can be done more effectively in projects and operations.
  • That investments are reviewed for any indirect effects on quality, the environment, working atmosphere, exchanges of skills etc.

In order to see whether this is compliant with the objectives of the business unit, it must be checked off against the business plan and management of objectives and the change project must be assessed to see whether it has the relevant level of ambition and scope, which must be manageable and have acceptable risks.

The successful implementation of a change project depends on the following:

  • That the timing is right for implementation.
  • That the resource situation has been handled for the persons affected in one way or the other by the change.
  • That the project situation for the affected product projects allows for changes to e.g. working procedures at the proposed time.
  • That the right skills have been allocated in order to carry out the change.
  • That training needs have been clarified.
  • That the necessary methodological support is available throughout the change process.

It is important to remember that time is needed to adjust to a new working procedure. This means that account must be taken of the time required to unlearn the old working procedure. It will also take time for all affected persons have accepted and assimilated all the changes brought in by the new working procedure. Time is also needed to develop new skills within new working procedures.

Actual day-to-day life comes into play when assessing values; these can be measured or assessed in various different ways.

In order to achieve manageability and to get distance from various points of view and opinions, a distinction must be drawn between two different types of benefit. These can be divided up as follows:

Monetary benefits:

  1. Balance sheet – by taking away values from e.g. storage.
  2. Product projects – taking measures to reduce risk.
  3. Contracts – by changing customer conditions.
  4. Budget – by reducing costs or resources or increasing efficiency.

Benefits from achieving target effects:

  1. Measurable effects in projects and operations that cannot be expressed in monetary terms.
  2. Contributes to significantly increased organisational capabilities.
  3. Affects an entire value stream.
  4. Opportunities for step-by-step introduction.

Assessment of operational benefit

The figure shows which aspects are taken into consideration when assessing operational benefit.

All larger-scale capability investments that are judged to be worth examining must have a well thought-out business case.

Answering a few important questions makes it easier to choose the right investments. In order to specify the above in concrete terms, it is necessary to assess which factors help to form efficient and rational working procedures. The aim is to find the attributes that produce measurable and manageable results.

The following questions have been used for a long time to assist in making this decision.

  1. Does the change lead to efficient value streams?
  2. Does it contribute to continuous improvement?
  3. Does it increase customer value?
  4. Does it reduce costs?
  5. Does it reduce the number of errors and discrepancies?
  6. Does it produce a better flow of information and can the information required to resolve a task be found?
  7. Can an overall balanced benefit for the core business be seen?

 

Guidance for selecting action programmes

The section below provides a number of examples and reasoning that are intended to provide change management leaders with guidance and focus for selecting an action programme in order to streamline an operation.

What is it that produces efficient work flows?

In order to produce a seamless work flow without manual handovers or duplication of work, the affected IT systems must have been adapted to the flow. For this purpose, it is essential for the IT systems in the value stream to have well defined interfaces, well designed information models and a modular, flexible structure. If possible, standardised IT solutions should be used if they are available and suitable. High operational security for IT solutions is key to meeting the necessary accessibility requirements.

If this has not been done, the costs will be unreasonably high for the system solution. This is especially important when establishing information solutions with different types of partner for the specification of work packages, for example.

What measures can reduce costs?

Normally, the level and focus of the working procedures to be used for many years are set when business and product decisions are made. It is therefore important to ensure that cross-functional work takes place between all involved disciplines in the operation when developing functions for products and systems of products.

It is important to focus on the big picture when defining architecture, both for a product and for the value streams that the information systems are intended to work in. It is therefore crucial to ensure fact-based decisions and carry out reasonable risk analyses at all major decision points in order to reduce errors and discrepancies in a broader perspective.

Using model-based working procedures in earlier phases to identify errors and faults and reduce risks in possible solutions has been shown to produce long-term gains. The investments that have been made in long-term training and development within development operations with particular focus on technical leaders are an example of investments that provide advantages in terms of quality.

It is necessary to ensure that the upcoming capability development programmes and projects are incorporated into an overall resource requirement plan. Such a resource requirement plan produces lower total costs for the operation, as resource requirements in the line organisation and product development projects can be balanced against requirements for specific skills that are needed for change management.

It is advisable to structure the work and plan the change projects such that partial solutions can be delivered. It is good to be able to start testing parts of new working procedures before a change project has progressed too far. If it proves necessary to make changes to working procedures, this can end up being very costly. Working with so-called incremental deliveries increases delivery precision and thereby makes costs predictable.

Methods that lead to continuous improvement

How can the organisation be made to work on changes that lead to continuous improvement?

Saab’s core values, with the motto “knowledge, confidence and will”, have made their way into our working culture so that all employees are constantly striving for improvement. With the core values as a basis, it is easy to accept good, sound methods. Lean is one of these methods, and in many ways is simply a matter of common sense. It is important for everyone to think and act in a way that avoids carrying out activities that do not create or increase value. Lean is a tool for all day-to-day work, as well as an excellent way to determine when to change an operation.

For a number of years, the work of increasing understanding of Lean has been carried out by means of various leadership courses. The first line’s leaders gained knowledge of Lean thinking in parallel with the use of various Lean tools within their own area of responsibility. Common Lean tools for identifying and fixing faults have included visual management in projects that have had a developed use of visual planning, scrum and pulse control.

By carrying out value stream analyses, it has been possible to identify obstacles or non-value-increasing activities; this has proved to be particularly important at the start of development work and change management. This is supported by efficient leadership and standardised working procedures.

In product development, project and product teams have to a greater and greater extent established regular “lessons learned”. Learning from experience is entirely in keeping with the Lean spirit. Where this has been particularly successful, focus has been placed on identifying and creating repetitive processes that can also be improved continuously.

The author´s reflections