This is a good question that we ask ourselves as we look at our busy schedules and deadlines.  Can we find the time to squeeze in a few days at a conference when fires continue to rage back in the office? 

Let’s analyze this using the 5 Whys.

Why should you attend LPPDE North America 2017?

Because I know we need to improve.

Why do you need to improve?

Because competition is fierce and gaining on us.

Why is the competition gaining on you?

They are releasing better products that reach the market faster.

Why do they have better products and reach the market faster?

They always seem to match the customer interest and they work the first time without any design loopbacks.

Why don’t they have loopbacks?

I wish I knew?

No company is perfect, but the ones striving for improvement have the best chance.  The principles of lean or knowledge-based focus on upfront learning.  But even if you already practice those principles there is always room for improvement.  And how do you find ideas? By attending conferences like LPPDE!  I have been going to yearly conferences for nearly a decade and I always bring back one or two techniques to try.  In Paris in  spring 2017 I attended an LPPDE workshop by Suzanne van Egmond on Lean Scheduling.  It just made sense. Focus on the decisions during a project, how they relate to each other chronologically, and what knowledge is needed to make those decisions.  I immediately went back to the office and used it to report status on a project.

I have brought back many initiatives; some that last, some that don’t.  Yellow stickers in each cube with your top three tasks, visual management whiteboards on wheels, and Agile are just a few.  You can do the same.