In this episode:
00:18 – The concept of small batch sizes
01:00 – The mistake that inspired this video
02:07 – What can you do in small batches?
James Schramko here and I have a question for you. Have you ever done up the buttons of your shirt and found when you get to the top, that you’ve missed one somewhere and it’s all out? Or perhaps you put laces in a shoe and you found that when you get to the end, one of the little loops has been missed?
Small Batches Strategy
Now here’s a thought for your business. I want to talk about the concept of small batch sizes. What does that mean? It simply means doing the smallest batch you can and then checking your work. This is 101 process optimization. Edwards Demming did this in Japan to help them revolutionize the car industry.
If you are a baker and you’re going to bake a cake, you could have all of the ingredients mixed and bake the cake. But if you slightly over cooked it or the ingredients are wrong, the whole cake gets chucked out. Instead, if you make a little test batch, put in little small cupcakes – maybe put five or six – put them in there, check them. Once they’re good then roll out the rest of the batch.
The Test Cakes In Your Business
So how does this apply in your business? Well just before this video, I made a fantastic video. It was amazing! It was a one-take. Everything was spot on. And when I went to check it, guess what? I forgot to plug the microphone in. I’m using a boom mic, right here.
And it was all sitting there, everything was great, the screenshot was in focus, everything was perfect, except that little plug wasn’t plugged into the camera, and there was no sound at all.
Now I could have had backup. I could have had a second recorder which is probably a smart thing to do. But instead I recorded this whole thing and then I went to check the video. And when I checked, there was no sound. So what did I do? I went back, I plugged in my cable and I thought, I’m going to make you a video about small batch sizes.
Now here’s the thing, imagine if I had sat down and recorded 10 videos in one big batch. We’ve been taught to batch our tasks from our time management training. Now here’s the thing, I would have 10 videos with no audio. The cost of redoing that is significantly more than one video.
So think about this: What can you do in small batches or test sizes or sample sizes, or how early can you check your work to make sure that it’s on track?
If you’re a web developer, test the site early with the customer. Make sure that you get the feedback before you build it. And if you got a great idea, make sure you validate it. Get someone to pay you first before you roll it out. Before you go on develop it.
I get phone calls from people saying they’ve invested a million dollars in software because they have a great idea and “nobody’s doing it” and they’d like me to help them market it. Well that’s all backwards. It’s wrong.
Soon we’re getting a guest on the show who’s going to talk about that stuff. But in the meantime, think about how you can get a smaller batch size, a smaller cycle. You can read about this in a book called “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. There’s also a similar book by Ash that I’ll link to in this video notes.
I’m interested if you can tell me about the worst big batch you’ve ever done. What was the thing you did a lot of and then found out it was useless? I’m sure there’ll be plenty of war stories. I know I’ve got a few. I’ll look for your comments before this video.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Hope the sound came through. I’m James Schramko.