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Drowning in Work? 0

Jim Benson’s new work, Why Limit WIP: We are Drowning in Work (MemeMachine Series) (Volume 2), was at the center of our conversation in this podcast. Jim’s company Modus Cooperandi combines Lean principles with Agile methodologies from software design, and the communications revolutions of social media, as a process and tool infrastructure. Jim is best known for his seminal work, Personal Kanban. He is @ourfounder on Twitter.


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Go See How The Job Is Getting Done 0

I asked Ken Rolfes a few questions about Lean 3P in a podcast, Rolfes on Lean, and we ended up discussing the Customer’s Job to be Done.  Ken can be found at KDR Associates.

An Excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe Dager: Clayton Christensen used the words “jobs to done”. You got to look at what jobs need to be done for the customer and how your product or service plays a role in getting that job done.

Ken Rolfes: Exactly. 3M was notorious, and I hope they still are for this in that they used to say, ‘We don’t go ask the customer what he wants we go look and walk in his shoes and see the job he’s trying to get done. And that’s how we create our solutions.’

Joe Dager: I think it’s interesting that you bring that up Ken because so many times when we look at a value stream, or we look at some process flow thing the customer is all the way over there on the right side where you’ve run out of paper. He really should be over in the center of the paper shouldn’t he?

Ken Rolfes: We’ve gotten tool happy if you will in this and I think that’s part of the problem. We’re always in search or another tool if you will. For a while, we were doing Kaizen events and that sort of thing, and then we decided that maybe we ought to map the process and do some value stream mapping. Easy ways to do this stuff by saying well okay what’s the value?

When we’re doing the fulfillment side, you’ve got a lot of things that are defined. When you’re out there trying to develop a customer and develop some business, it’s not nearly as defined. It’s much more complex, and it’s harder to do. It’s harder to define the value, and you can’t do it in a conference room you’ve got to go out there to the customer.

That’s why what you see on the map is all the way on the right-hand side. They probably spend 2% of the time talking about that and the rest of the time wanting to put post-it notes up for the process. I think you got to talk, do a lot more time around that customer value.

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Chesbrough on Open Services Innovation 0

Henry Chesbrough is a Professor at ESADE and father of the term ‘open innovation’, one of the concepts behind the creation of ESADE Creapolis. He is currently Adjunct Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.His research topics include: innovation in organizations; the structuring and management of research and its development; management of intellectual property; technology based on benefits of venture capital companies; the comparative evolution of high-tech industries in the United States, Japan and Western Europe.

Chesbrough is one of my favorite authors. I hang on most of his statements. The attached video covers these points.   

Open Services Innovation

  • Open Services Innovation
  • Rethinking your business as a service company
  • Co-create with customers
  • The value of openness
  • New business platforms and business models

About TEDx, x = independently organized event: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

Intuition, Do You Have It? Can You Learn It? 0

Discover the power of intuition & unleash an entirely new realm of possibilities for career, relationships & health. When you sleep, your brainwaves slow down to 7 – 14 cycles per second, and then to 4 – 7 cycles per second. This is when your capacity for creativity, problem-solving and empathy increases by leaps and bounds.“SLS4.jpg

But it all goes away the moment you wake up. However, you can choose not to let your valuable instincts go to waste. You can easily tap into this remarkable reservoir of unlimited ESP potential in your waking hours, with Intuition Enhancement Technology, which comprises of powerful mind training which includes:

  • The Holo-Viewing Technique: This Alpha level exercise provides you with a mental ‘compass’ to set you on the right path towards your deeper purpose. When your goals in life are aligned with your deeper purpose, you start to find all manner of coincidences, chance encounters and sheer luck appearing to help you get around roadblocks and obstacles.
  • The Mirror of the Mind Technique: This Theta level exercise helps you carve a path towards the goals you have set, eliminating all obstacles in the way. This is a powerful version of creative visualization, but done at deeper levels of mind and using all your senses.
  • The 5-Step Projection Exercise: Projection exercises are designed to train your mind to project your awareness across time and space, to different locations. You’ll be able to visualize people, places, animals and objects with pinpoint clarity, solve even the trickiest of problems, and gain a deep understanding of your surroundings. You will projecting yourself into a familiar environment, different types of metals, plants, animals and finally, another person.
  • Advanced Theta and Delta Level techniques: Further advanced techniques such as the Delta Doorway will teach you how to tap into higher guidance while at the ‘near-sleep’ Delta levels of mind.
  • Caseworking: This is the absolute pinnacle of a human being’s intuitive abilities. You will be able to accurately visualize, diagnose and help other people — from a distance. In our live classes, we end in the following way. Students are paired up, the guide provides age, gender.

Silva Intuition System

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Interview Questions on Lean Marketing 0

I answered these questions a while back for José Miguel Vives Martínez on for his blog, ALTACUNCTA.  I thought I would share the English version.

Where did you learn about Lean for the first time?

I have always been an avid reader and on a journey of personal continuous improvement. I learned about Lean during the time I was president of a company that manufactured construction equipment. After reading Lean Thinking by Womack and Jones, I realized that my mentor had been practicing these very same principles. He did not call it Lean, nor was it Lean – but in essence it was without many of the tools. I was extremely fortunate because the culture was already established. I did not know how difficult it was to create the atmosphere (Culture) till after I left.

Which are their key points of Lean Marketing?

Lean marketing is about installing a continuous improvement methodology to your sales and marketing process. It‘s about constantly improving every step up the way. In the smaller scheme of things it is about improving a launch, an advertising campaign and even a sales call. However, in the bigger scheme of things it is about building a structure that creates a learning organization based on an ever?increasing knowledge of what the customer values.

The Lean practice of PDCA is ideal for learning and creating knowledge activities. Following this process it allows individuals and teams to recognize and take advantage of opportunities, make decisions faster, and be more responsive to customers. As part of the PDCA cycle you get feedback on the action from listening to customers and the companies’ measurement systems. Having information, taking informed action and getting feedback is part of the natural PDCA cycle. And effectiveness comes from using and taking advantage of all your resources.

What is the roll of the technologies in Lean Marketing?

The new wave of marketing has seen an entirely new set of tools being used with the components of social media leading the way. No longer do we trust print media, radio, television and other forms of traditional media. The tools have all become a commodity. Why? What has happened is that we have innovated many of the same push marketing practices into today‘s nomenclature. Not really changing much except for the tools. Lean Sales and Marketing is not dependent or divorced from the tools. The feedback mechanisms and social media practices of today is what has finally allowed Lean to be applied to the Sales and Marketing arena.

Which are the benefits for a company adopting Lean Marketing?

Why won’t Lean commit to the Demand Chain the way it committed to the Supply chain? I have been addressed this issue in blog posts (Can Service Design increase Customer demand? and Is Lean and Six Sigma a waste of time?) and in many discussion groups and have found it baffling to me that most Lean practitioners resist this thought and either ignore it or try to tie sales and marketing to internal improvements. You would think most practitioners would be eager to apply their skills and Lean to the demand side. Unleashing the power of continuous improvement to the field of sales and marketing should not frighten anyone, it should inspire them. Addressing the demand side of the equation is the single most important improvement effort and game changer that can take place at a company today.

How Lean Marketing is received by the companies and which are the main barriers in order to be adopted and how we can to overcome it?

It stems back from the fundamental way that continuous improvement and quality has been developed. It has developed from the field of engineering which is laden with logical, step by step thinking processes. We find a problem define the solution and so on. It has worked very well on the supply chain side but the demand side is anything but logical and seldom follows any pattern. Value Stream Mapping on the demand side may identify numerous waste opportunities but which one would you remove? Why should 50% of your marketing fail? is not folklore, rather for most a true statement. It just does not match up to the logical thinker. Getting out of the office and interacting in the way your customer uses the product is foreign to most companies but is the predominate thought in Lean Sales and Marketing.

Why do you believe that Lean can be the future of marketing?

The ever increasing platforms of co?producing, open?innovation, co?creation is moving innovation from an exclusive internal platform to a more external platform. True innovation is not happening inside the 4 walls of an organization but out in the customers’ playground. As Voice of Customer tools get more sophisticated, we are not reacting and thinking of the next step needed to delight our customers, we are allowing them to show us the way. Organizations may lead in “design” but in use it is the customer and in use is where the value is derived. Marketing is no longer just about getting the message out. It is about bringing the message in. The Lean model builds a bridge for better communication and collaboration between your organization and the customer.

If you want to share any specific thoughts, you can do it right here completely free. Final thoughts, etc.

Many would argue the Lean is about incremental improvement. It does not allow for breakthrough thinking. I agree that SDCA and PDCA and even the continuous mindset may not deliver breakthrough thinking. However, like most things you start one step at a time. The culture of Innovation starts with culture of continuous improvement. To start with breakthrough thinking is very difficult and typically not successful. You cannot just turn it on. So starting with PDCA and a continuous improvement is the only successful way, to create this “i (little i) culture.

Ramping it up and truly doing breakthrough thinking, the big ‘I” is when you must engage and understand your customer/market extremely well. I like to use the term EDCA learned from Graham Hill to designate the Explore aspect of Lean. I view it as more of Design Type thinking content that allows for that collaborative learning cycle with a customer. This is a link to my blog post on the tools of SDCA, PDCA, EDCA: http://business901.com/?p=8490.

Why Lean? Design and Innovation takes place outside the four walls and Lean can be the methodology of choice. It drives both the Little i and the Big I. The first and foremost reason is that it allows the 1st step for innovation. Lean is the primary driver for the little i DNA. As a result, it allows for that culture to spread and create the DNA for the BIG I. Without Lean and the little i, you may never start!

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How Agile is Your Resource and Capacity Planning 0

I asked Jerry Manas, author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook: A Guide to Maximizing the Value of Your Limited People Resources, that question in a recent podcast. The podcast and entire transcription can be found at Resource & Capacity Planning.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:   Resource capacity and planning seems kind of very disciplined and very structured; is it?

Jerry: Well it’s structured in a way. It’s disciplined in that if you look at it contextually, with any organization, you have work coming in and there’s some kind of a brief step or to assess the work that’s coming in, if it’s bigger than a red box, where it should go, something like that, some kind of scoring or scoping or something with the work coming in. But then instead of just sending it into project execution and saying, okay let’s go – which a lot of companies do, they say okay let’s go and then resources aren’t available. Usually, you find that out when a project gets delayed or things like that.

It’s structured in the sense of as this work comes in, ideally it should hop over into some sort of investment planning or portfolio planning mode where the work can come in and you can assess it in the context of all the work in the portfolio. When you assess that, to whatever even if it’s a thinking step, whatever method you use, the idea is to bring it into the portfolio, assess where can this fit in, how does it fit in in terms of importance, what’s the available capacity to do this work and this is the part everybody leaves out, when can I do the work based on my capacity or do I need to start looking at alternative sourcing strategies and start using contractors. Contractors don’t always work for everything but if you have a strategy for it, some kind of strategy to say here are the cases where we’re going to consider bringing in contractors where it makes sense and then have those as an option, otherwise the work has to slip or really you just have limited options, either you reduce the scope and you slip the work or you bring in help. So even at that high level helps an organization.

When you plan when you can do the work, then you come over, and that’s when you can get into execution and then assigning your resources and things like that. But that missing piece, that whole capacity planning piece is what a lot of organizations skip and they don’t have the process to do that.

Joe:   I think one of the buzz words for a long time now is agile and in a lot of company, you asked anybody in any company, “Oh, we’re agile…” Does this conflict with an agile mentality or does it help it?

Jerry: Actually it helps it. In fact, I speak quite heavily about agile. The thing is with agile; it is a bit of a different animal; it really turns everything on its head. So if you look at a wonderful project, really it starts out with a plan and then you’re estimating the cost and the schedules. You’re saying, okay here’s my requirement, here’s my scope and then I’m saying, okay what’s this going to cost me to do and when can we get done? Agile literally turns that upside down. It says, okay here are the features that I like but what I’m going to do is I’m going to fix the cost and the schedule so I’m going to have a…here’s my release period or my sprints during a certain time period and now I’m going to estimate, these are the features that I think I can deliver within that schedule. So really, it’s a completely different animal that literally turns a waterfall model on its head.

But from a resource planning perspective, people say, okay well since we’re agile well does that mean we can’t plan resources? Well, with a lot of agile organizations, what I suggest is at least reserving your resources at a high level. Even if it’s at a sprint level, saying okay we’re going to reserve our resources, so you can get some kind of sense of demand because those projects consume resources too and if you’re not tracking that work at all, if those resources are isolated to a specific project, it’s not as much of an issue but if they’re shared with the rest of the organization or they’re doing other things, then you really need to at least keep track at a high level of what the resources are doing. I don’t think you need to get into detailed resource allocations like test level things because that would be a fruitless effort on an agile project but at least at a high level to be able to get a sense of demand and that way you can mix that demand in with waterfall projects or whatever other kind of projects are going on in the company.

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Can’t solve A Problem Without A Well Rounded Idea Of The Problem 0

Jim Benson is best known for his seminal work, Personal Kanban.  Our conversation tomorrow centers on his new work, Why Limit WIP: We are Drowning in Work (MemeMachine Series) (Volume 2). This is an excerpt from one of my favorite podcast (Related Podcast and Transcription:  Quality & Collaboration = Quallaboration

An excerpt from the past podcast:

Joe:  I like the way you said that: you supplied the visual aspect that maybe they didn’t have before, is that a fair assumption?

Jim:  Well, not only the visual aspect but the permission to do a few key things. One is the permission to effectively complain. Previously, they felt like, “OK, I have this complaint and I’m going to go talk to somebody about it but when I do they’re just going to say that’s nice, and send me back to my desk.” Now the reason that that was happening was the person they were complaining to was sending back to their desks with, “Go back to your desk and bring me back proof.” To the complainer, that felt like they were being written off. But to the person that they were complaining to, they’re like, “I can’t, I can’t solve your problem if I don’t have a well-rounded idea of what that problem is.

The visualization helped them do that, helped them make that argument. It also allowed them to make that argument in the first place. The other thing was permission and respect to make immediate changes on the floor.

So whether it’s visualized or not, if they get together with their team and they think that something is going to make things better, their solution doesn’t greatly disrupt the operations of the company. So, for example, they could not say, “We think a hot tub in the middle of this room would make things better.” They can say, “We think that if we rearrange how we are answering phones slightly, that might make things better.”

They can do the latter then the third better permission there is to help your friends. So before, when it was every man for himself, if somebody else ran into problems or if somebody else pulled a task or a client that somebody knew something about, they’re just like, “Oh, I hope they do a good job with that.” But now, we’re actively encouraging them to stand up, walk over, sit down and actually pair with them or even just offer a small advice to move that ticket along more quickly and make sure that that trouble ticket, when it’s resolved, doesn’t come back again.

Joe:  If someone was spending too long on the phone or was just struggling a little bit, they could kind of put a yellow light on, and someone would come over and help them?

Jim:  There is that but then also setting policies. So if you get a call and it’s something that you don’t know anything about, you have a couple of choices. One is you can find somebody who does and then bring them onto the call with you. The second is you can transfer it to somebody else. The third is you can say, “One of us will call you back.” End the call, go on to a call you can do something about and then add that call with notation back into the call queue so that somebody can pick it up next time who does have experience.

What tends to happen otherwise is, the person will sit on the phone for a very long time trying to slog through the problem while they’re sitting on the phone for two or three hours trying to slog through this problem while there’s a large number of five or ten minute calls that have all bounced off and become tickets that somebody needs to pull in the future that they could have solved during that.

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