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Results are not the point: what is a frame?

Gian Franco
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Joined: Dec 16, 2003
Posts: 977
Dear Mary & Tom,

I read that you use frames as mental constructs.

This reminds me of the triangle waste, inconsistencies, overload that I always remember
from your video 'Competing on the basis speed'...and that I loved by the way :-)

Is this the same idea?

Kind regards,


"Eppur si muove!"
Mary Poppendieck
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Joined: Oct 04, 2006
Posts: 62
Frames are mental constructs which shape our perspective of the world. Frames shape our mental models of cause & effect and place significant limits on our perspective. Everyone interprets their surroundings through frames, we do, you do, your manager does, your partners in another country do, and so on. Frames are neither good nor bad, they just are.

We usually see only what our frames tell us is meaningful and ignore what lies outside the boundaries of our frames. Just as we can't see what was outside the boundaries of a picture or a photograph, we can't see outside the boundaries of our frames. This book presents a series of specific frames - our way of looking at the world. We're not saying our frames are "right" and certainly they will not be right in every context. They are offered to give leaders and alternate perspective on the world - another way of thinking about things.

But it is true that our frames are shared by leaders in some very impressive companies. So they may be worth considering. In addition, if you are having a difficult time thinking about agile or lean in your organization, then it could easily be that there is a framing issue - different leaders have different frames - different levels in the hierarchy have different frames - different departments have different frames. It's probably a good idea to make the way you frame things explicit, so as to align frames. It makes it easier to get stuff done.

Mary Poppendieck
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Results are not the point: what is a frame?
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