Lean Principle – Runners, Repeaters and Strangers

Runners, Repeaters and Strangers (RRS) Analysis

As I am an ERP Specialist, it is a regular activity for me to conduct business requirement gathering workshops involving key stakeholders in order to design the right solution for the business.

We all know that every stakeholder participating the workshop will be passionate about their own activities, steps, processes etc. regardless of the effectivity; hence they would like the system to be designed without impacting their “AS-IS” processes much.

On the contrary, as a Consultant, Solution Architect and Subject Matter Expert our job is to suggest what’s right for the business while individual preferences need to be managed through effective Change Management processes.

Now the key question is – How to decide “What’s Right”?

I have been using this Lean tool, RRS analysis for a while now to determine “What’s right” for the business and it has been very effective for me not only to design an efficient solution for the business but to get the stakeholders buy-in to the design as well. Eventually the solution designed through RRS analysis promotes business improvement and positive cultural change to the organization.

Runners: The business processes or steps that we perform every day. Example: We electronically send purchase orders to suppliers upon approval.

Repeaters: The business process or steps that we don’t perform regularly but follow often. Example: We print the purchase order and fax it to suppliers with poor internet connectivity.

Strangers: The business processes or steps that we follow very rarely. Example: Due to contractual agreement, we need to get the purchase order signed (digitally or otherwise) by the approver prior to scanning and emailing to supplier.

Based on the above example, it’s very apparent that we shouldn’t recommend establishing a digital signature capability to address the “Stranger”, as approver can manually sign the document to comply with the requirement.

Finally, as a business advisor, we should try establishing “System-Control” for the “Runners” and “Repeaters” while “Process-Control” for the “Strangers”.