February 10: Mechanisms at Amazon

The three components of a mechanism are the tool, the adoption, and the inspection.

Source: Amazon (slide 17)
Published: September 2019

Mechanisms at Amazon

A mechanism is a process that converts inputs into desired outputs on an ongoing basis. 

Mechanisms allow us to learn and improve from mistakes/defects, enable scalable process-based solutions, and prevent institutional knowledge through documentation.

The three components of a mechanism are the tool, the adoption, and the inspection. The tool transforms inputs to outputs, the adoption sets incentives for stakeholders, and the inspection ensures continuous delivery of desired outputs.

Example

Leaders without a way to monitor their progress toward goals may implement a monthly business review (MBR) mechanism. Inputs include monthly meetings, attendance from team members, and key performance indicators from the business. The output is a cadence for monitoring goal progress.

In an MBR, the tool is a monthly meeting for updates on the progress towards goals. Adoption takes place as leaders attend with the expectation that their team is prepared. Finally, the inspection could be the team realizing they need more time and extending the meeting from 45 to 60 minutes.

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