Systems Thinking – The LAMDA Process

We were having fun the other day. We were talking about the LAMDA process. For those of you that maybe haven’t heard of it, the LAMDA process (Look, Ask, Model, Discuss, Act) is an action based instructive form of PDCA devised by Allen Ward, a University of Michigan researcher. Ward developed LAMDA while looking for an action-based way of describing the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) process.

The closed loop feedback step in PDCA informs improvement ambitions and initiatives. It turns our product development into a closed loop system. Having fun we asked “what is the alternative in the current default Taylor based management system?”

First we looked at what happens when Taylorism is applied in product development. The first thing you get is a learning disability and a belief that “The problem is out there. Others impose their problems upon me.” This also leads to a blaming culture. The idea that “That organization is causing problems for me and my organization.” It also leads to positioning and assumptive leaps as well as a sense of helplessness in the face of problems.

When Taylorism is applied in product development it leads to a culture that embraces the idea that “The problem is out there.” A blaming culture that embodies the famous cross armed move that leads to assumptive leaps and helplessness.

So in counter point to LAMDA we came up with the LLAMA model. It stands for Look, Look, Assume, Maybe Act. And that’s the counterpoint between Deming and Taylor. Deming gives us an opportunity and methodology for solving our problems and continuously improving. The Taylor system puts us in a position where we blame others and find our selves helpless when facing the problems of our workplace.


Contact us to learn more about how Systems Thinking and the application of our Product Development Operating System can help your organization become more efficient, productive, innovative, and competitive.

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