Lean Tea Making

Every morning after the run around with a 2 year old I come into work and make a cup of tea and I‘ve had some ideas bubbling in my head about how I can apply this to lean principles.
Tea making is an activity that all of us partake in pretty often.  Its a social activity as well as a great way to make friends (see Dan Ashbys blog Why tea is a great tool for a tester).
It got me thinking about the different ways I made tea, based on what criteria I set for it.

  • Sometimes I want a cup of tea FAST.  I have work to get on with (and blogs to write).
  • Sometimes QUALITY is the most important.  I am making tea for others.  I want them to enjoy my tea and commend me on my tea making skills.
  • Sometimes the SCOPE of tea making might increase. I might have a mini meeting with someone while making the tea.
For speed I want the fastest cup of tea, with no waiting for the kettle to boil so I can get back to my desk and start my day.  My steps are:
  1.  Fill kettle
  2. Put it on boil
  3. Wash cup (optional)
  4. Put tea bag in
  5. While kettle is boiling grab a glass of water and take it to my desk
  6. Back to kitchen and tea bag in cup
  7. Add the milk (controversial I know but for speed this is the key!)
  8. By the time the milk has finished the kettle has finished
  9. Pour the water into the cup
  10. Let it brew quickly then squeeze the bag a lot to get strong tea flavour.
  11. Take bag out and all done within 90 seconds I have a cup of tea.
Quality is a bit different:
  • Brew time would be higher.
  • Milk will go in last, which impacts speed.
  • I might have a lot of cups to wash which will increase the time, also impacting speed.
  • I wouldn’t be running around the office sorting my water out, I would have to do that later.
Scope is different too:
  • If a discussion happens while I am making tea for myself, I will straight away increase the quality by brewing more.  Speed isn’t too much a factor in this situation.
  • No time here for water either, so it would happen later
Let me know about any other daily tasks you do that gets your brain bubbling like this.
Oops – almost forgot to drink my morning tea!