Monday, April 30, 2018

Can Lean & Agile Help to Fix Our Courts? Part 1

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Number 1 daughter, Eleanor, is a first year Law student at McGill University. She spends a lot of time in court, and is appalled at the hassle & confusion.

“It’s awful, Dad! I spend hours trying to find and make sense of things – and I’m a Law student! How do regular folks feel?” We've had some fine discussions, the gist of which I'd like to share today and over the next several blogs.

As it happens, I have some personal experience. A few years ago, I spent several days on a jury panel, waiting to see if I'd be picked to serve.

A handful of countries including U.K., America, and Canada have been lucky enough to inherit the British system of law & order.

Let me begin by saying I strongly believe it's our civic duty to support it.

The judge was a learned, humane and articulate man, who spoke eloquently of this same duty, and contrasted our system with those of other, less lucky countries.

Nonetheless, despite his eloquence, my commitment & that of my fellow jury panel members, our three days felt largely wasted...

Wasted in the Toyota Production System sense -- we experienced unnecessary delay, errors, over-processing, transportation and motion waste.

In the end very few of us were called as jury members. Many were frustrated by all the waste, and unlikely to want to serve again.

Our experience was no exception. Across America and Canada, court back-logs are reaching two & three years, and bad guys are getting off.

As ever, the problem is in the system, and not the people, who I found to be courteous & capable.

Here’s our challenge: How to preserve the integrity of a humane & splendid 19th century system -- while satisfying the needs of a 21st century society?

Can the principles of Lean and Agile, (both ‘children’ of the Toyota Production System) help?

If so, how?

More to come.

Best regards,


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