When you hear about rock musicians having a clause in their contract that they must have a bowl of M&Ms in their dressing room with all the brown M&Ms removed you could be excused for thinking: what will these crazy celebrities do next. Well it might just be those crazy celebrities are using visual management (granted I think there could be better methods [a bit more mistake proofing where the real problems would be manifest] but it is an interesting idea). Basically if they didn’t have the bowl of M&Ms, or if the brown M&Ms were not removed, they could distrust the thoroughness of the contractors. And they would check to see what other, actually important, contractual requirements were not followed.
Righting The Wrongs: Van Halen and M&Ms
“So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl . . . well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error. They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening.”
Related: The Importance of Making Problems Visible – Visual Work Instructions – Good Process Improvement Practices – Great Visual Instruction Example
I have heard this story many times. Smart and simple. I wonder how many errors they found when there were Brown M&Ms? How many errors did they find when there were no M&Ms?
There’s was a great discussion of this on This American Life here:
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