About Joe Dager


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What do Customers Buy, Part 2 0

John Goodman’s new book, Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service takes John’s Customer Service expertise and puts it into a digital context.  John has managed more than 1,000 separate customer service studies, including the White House sponsored evaluation of complaint handling practices in government and business and studies of word of mouth and the bottom-line impact of consumer education sponsored by Coca-Cola USA. John Goodman

John has taught service quality and service re-engineering courses at Wharton Business School’s executive education program.  He has appeared on “Good Morning America”, the ABC Evening News, The Discovery Channel, National Public Radio and as a panelist on the PBS show, “The Editors.”John is the Vice Chairman of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting (CCMC).

Last week, I posted the first part of the podcast, What do Customers Buy: Experience or Product? This is Part 2 of 2.

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Corey Ladas, the Forgotten Person in Kanban 0

Co-author Maritza van den Heuvel co-author of Beyond Agile: Tales of Continuous Improvement, a publication of Modus Cooperandi discussed Scrum and Corey Ladas’s contributions to Kanban.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Tales of Continuous Improvement

Joe:  You’re still working in a Scrum discipline, I think. Is there still merit in that process or in using both?

Maritza:   Very certainly. I think, again, back to the point of no one size fits all, I think what you will see in the book as well that many of the stories reflect an approach where a team is evolving from Scrum to Kanban or sometimes using both at the same time. Each of the approaches has their merits. I personally have a specific tendency and preference towards Kanban for ongoing work, for work that is not easily time boxed and where a time box could create its own share of problems because it is an artificial boundary in many cases of how work is delivered to the customer. I think for me they don’t exclude each other. You can easily use Kanban and apply concepts and roles from Scrum in your environment. You can even have an organization-wide enterprise level Kanban with specific teams running Scrum because they’re working on specifically defined projects. I think it is about which one of those works best for you with Lean and Kanban potentially as an organizational wrapper that gives you the visibility and the workflow clarity that you need.

Joe:  I thought in the introduction that a lot of credit was given to Corey Ladas, who I always think is the forgotten person in Kanban. He seemed like he was the one that provided the Agile, Scrum Bridge over to Kanban in his book Scrumban. Is that book still worthwhile reading?

Maritza:  I think Corey Ladas’s Scrumban is certainly a seminal work that you should read if you are at all involved in using Scrum or Kanban. For a while we used Scrumban to, as the working title for this book, however, as it evolved we came to the conclusion that Scrumban in particular as a term, possibly become contaminated somewhat in the industry because people had interpreted it to mean a conflation, a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban and actually it was never intended that way. It was more about showing a migration, an evolution from Scrum to Kanban and how the one naturally could lead to the other, and I think we lent heavily on the principles that Corey wrote about.

Many of the principles that we write about in the book regarding encouraging craftsmanship, encouraging ownership of the work process, implementing visibility and a clear value chain approach to mapping your work. All of those concepts and principles are derived from Scrumban as written by Corey Ladas.

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The Tribe of Me, The Tribe of My Group 0

Before Personal Kanban was published, I had Jim Benson on the podcast talking about team work. During the podcast I asked, “I noticed, on your website, where you talk about if you optimize your team and not your people, you’re not really optimized. I really like that statement. We all realize we have to make the individuals work to make a team work, but I noticed that the gradual progression from personal to team, and maybe even Agile to Lean. Can you explain that progression and what you mean by that a little bit?”

Jim Benson: A hierarchy or a series of levels going from a personal level to a small team level to the group level and so forth up an organization. The personal or the individual level is, “I am here, I am part of this company and I want to do a good job, and I simultaneously belong to a couple of different tribes.” So I have the tribe of me, the tribe of my group, and I relate to all of those differently.

But the level of difference between them becomes more pronounced as I become more disenfranchised from that group. I’ve seen many teams that operate very cohesively as a team, but they are outside of the organization. The organization doesn’t value them and vice versa.

Any productive group that is inside an object that isn’t part of that object is basically a cancer. So I’ve seen extremely productive, thoughtful, wonderful groups that act contrary to the needs of their organization, because of their disenfranchisement from that organization.

What I’m trying to do with using the Personal Kanban as a personal Lean. And then the Agile methods, and then the Lean methods is create information flow throughout the organization so that the individual feels like he or she completely understands what’s going on at all the levels up and down from that person.

What’s been my experience is that organizations are very good at blocking information and knowledge from being transferred from place to place. When that happens, the cohesion of the organization starts to break down. The more it is pronounced the more of a breakdown there is. Until you finally get people who are just like, “I’m going to come here. I’m going to act like I’m working. I’m going to get my paycheck. And I’m going to go home.” Because they don’t feel like if even if they worked they wouldn’t be producing anything that anyone cared about.

We use these tools. We use the Personal Kanban on the personal side. This is what I’m doing and this is how I’m dealing with my day. Your team members can see that or if you have a team based Personal Kanban you see at a task level what everybody’s doing. The team then has clarity around what’s happening around the team. This can be augmented with Agile techniques of the daily stand up meetings or retrospectives or even in some cases time boxing, in order to give coherence around the product that they’re creating.

Agile is a strongly team based approach. It was developed, because it was reacting basically to the same forces that I just mentioned. Agile was developed because previously there was only a waterfall approaches. What would end up happening is people would come up and say, “Here’s 250, 000 functional requirements, I’ll see you in six months when you’ve completed my software.” And then they would get to the six-month point and they say, “This isn’t what I asked for?”

That wasn’t a very good way to manage things so Scrum, and XP and other Agile methods came along and said look we’re going to come and we’re going to talk to you much more quickly. We’re going to talk to you every month, or every week, or every couple of weeks, and we’re going to show you these little packets of value. The great benefit of that is that it greatly increased the amount of focus within the team.

Some of the issues that I’ve had with Agile methodologies, and I’ve been working with them for over 13 years now, is that they’re so focused on the team, that the team stops looking outside of the team for guidance. The assumption is that since it’s an Agile group, the rest of the organization is like “Oh, well they’re Agile, so they can get things done really quickly. That’s all we wanted in the first place, was for stuff to be done faster, so we can start ignoring them too.” That didn’t work very well. Agile supercharged the team, but it disconnected it at the same time.

Using the Kanban in the team, the big team, that’s an information radiator, not only to those people in the team saying “This is what we’re doing, and this is what’s blocked, and this is how things are going.” It’s an information radiator out to the rest of the organization, because anybody can come by and see it at any time. It says at every moment what people are doing and since you can see what’s coming up in the backlog, it shows everybody what’s coming up. If anybody up the management chain can come and see what’s going on, and they can make decisions based on that.

From the upper side, the C-level and VP’s and so forth, ideally, those should be the guys that are feeding information into the teams at a rate which they can afford. When the team is pulling their tasks, those tasks should be in a queue that’s not necessarily decided by the team, but by the people above them.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Jim Benson Talks About Personal Kanban

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Personal Kanban Forever 0

Tonianne DeMaria Barry and Jim Benson’s wrote Personal Kanban it seem like a decade ago. I asked Jim during a podcast, “Do you think that Personal Kanban and the book has identified the both of you as people from this time forward?”

Jim Benson: Yes. You know, process is all evolution. Living is, we’re always evolving into new ideas, new processes, and new thoughts. Tonianne and I have been becoming increasingly interested in the interplay between happiness and successful business. Some of the elements that drive happiness in business are clarity, respect, and the ability to actually act and make decisions. And, what we’ve been finding with our clients is that, if we come in and we help them build what ?? Lean guys are going to call it Kaizen culture, but if we just actually call it a healthy working environment, the people naturally solve issues and problems on their own. The people who were previously labeled as poor performers, underperformers, underachievers, wastes of space, suddenly step up and just start knocking balls out of the park.

It has been phenomenal for us to watch the clients that we have been blessed to have reacted so positively to these very lightweight techniques. Because it’s not like we’re coming in and saying, you guys have to do these five things, and you’ve got to do this, and you have to do that. We seriously are just coming in and instilling visualizing work, limiting work in progress and putting bugs in their ears too, you have this problem. How might you go about solving that? And then we will work through that.

What’s most gratifying is, when we leave and then we come back three months later, people are seriously running up to us in the halls saying, you’ve got see what I did after you left, because it’s made such a difference.  We just go and we see what they did, on their own..not the experts telling them to, but just what they did, because they’re conscientious, wonderful human beings, because they were just given the permission to act. That’s where I think that, for us, is the investigation of how people work and how people live.

Read or listen to the entire podcast/transcription: Interview with Personal Kanban Co-Authors

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Is your Backlog Stale? 0

I was re-reading the transcription of a podcast on Personal Kanban and this topic of backlog jumped out at me. How do you deal with your backlog? How long does something get to stay in it? Youmay want to skip the blog post and read the entire transcription or listen to the podcast: Pascal Pinck Speaks on Personal Kanban.

Podcast Excerpt:

Joe:  I always think what is interesting when you have a backlog, some of these things just sit there and they never get done and it is why they are backlogged, maybe they never needed to be done.

Pascal:  That is a really interesting topic because lately I have been part of, we had a lead Kanban meet up here in Los Angeles, that I am fortunate to be a part of. We had a conversation at one of the recent meetups about the differences and also, in a way, some of the overlaps between GTD, you know, “Getting Things Done,” David Allen’s work.

And personal Kanban because some of the folks there were using it like I do what we started to think about there is, what happens to the stuff that isn’t a high priority. Because if you look at the objective, I will make an argument, I mean I am no GTD expert and so I am not trying to say something definitive. From where I sit the objectives for me if I am using personal comment verses if I might be using GTD around the most important issues, the stuff I am going to do, you know, today, in the next couple of hours, tomorrow, that kind of high priority stuff.

I think probably the objectives in some of the basic kind of way that the flow works is pretty similar. I don’t see huge significant earth-shattering differences around the areas of the most important stuff. Where I think there are some interesting philosophical differences, this doesn’t come from Kanban per se, but more from the lean philosophy, is how we treat things that are at a relatively or very low priority. You talked about this issue of I put stuff in my backlog and it stinks. I think GTD has the tickler file if I may be using the wrong word, but stuff that is not important, but it is something you want to hold on to in your system because you do not want it stuck in your head. Certainly I am all in favor of taking stuff out of your head and putting it down. You know if the best place for you to put it down to feel OK about is your backlog or your GTD tickler file or a shoe box full of post-its. It does matter that we all know that you have got to get it out of your head. I mean, otherwise you’re banned with your work in progress cognitively is just going to suffer dramatically and you are not going to be able to perform.

The question that really interests me is once I put it on paper, I got it out of my head or I put it in some kind of electronic form, what happens to it then? GTD is very clear on this. It is like you put it in a setting where it is contained, but where periodically, maybe over a period of months or even years, you can come back to it. I think the lean philosophy that we are working from when we use Kanban, personal Kanban, is a little different. My feeling is that what I have been able to see as a result of working with personal Kanban for some time now is that I have been able to understand in a way that I did not before that having something that I keep track of that is something that I might do some day, that no matter how small it is, it has a cost. That there is an inventory cost to holding on to something as something that I might, a particular task, activity, objective or whatever it is that I might do someday.

In thinking about that inventory and the desire, that I kind of come back with from coming from my infinite to lean thinking is, I want to reduce my inventory and the desire to reduce my inventory and the recognition that that inventory has a cost has helped me give myself permission to drop stuff out of the long-term backlog. As a result of practicing this, I delete stuff all of the time that has been there for three, two weeks, three weeks, a month. More and more I am coming to the opinion that if I have something in the board and it has not moved in a couple weeks, then you know what, it is not important enough to pay interest on. Pay the rent. I think that is probably the best way that I would describe it. If I have something on my board somewhere, whether the board is virtual or whatever form it is, to have it take up that space on the board, I am paying rent because something else could be there or better nothing could be there.

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What Prevents Organizations From Growing? 0

The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools. The author Dave Powers offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Dave Powers on Business Growth

Excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: What have you seen is the biggest thing that prevents people from understanding and taking that next step (Business Growth/Innovation)?

Dave: What happens is, even if you intellectually understand everything that I’ve been saying, when you’re running a growth company, you’re running like mad making the next quarter, hiring more people, figuring out what’s the next way to execute on the operating plan of your fast growing company. It doesn’t give you any time to think about what’s next.

On the other hand, if you let that happen to you, what will happen is, your business model will mature faster than you expect and you haven’t done anything to lay the groundwork for your next step’s curve.

If you or any of your listeners have read Stephen Covey, who talks about the importance of paying attention to things that are important, but not urgent; we pay a lot of attention to things that are unimportant but urgent like email. But things that are important and not urgent are things like strategic planning. They’re like doing research with your customers to uncover a problem worth solving. Spending time with R&D and looking at potential new technologies. Those slow processes that builds you your future.

If you want six pack abs and you don’t do your sit-ups today, no problem. In fact, if you don’t do your sit-ups tomorrow, no problem either. But at some point, if you don’t start doing your sit-ups, you’re never going to have six pack abs.

Let me bring it back to this sustainable growth energy. If you didn’t get out to see your customers and find out some problem they have to solve today or tomorrow, no big deal. But if you don’t look at your calendar every month and say, “These three days, I’m going to be out of the office talking to my customers and understanding how their world is changing, the new problems they’re going to be dealing with and what are the new problems that are going to be the basis for growing my business in the future,” then I don’t think you’re going to sustain the growth of your company over the long run.

Lean Service Design Program Offer 0

Lean Service Design changes the way you think about business. No longer can companies focus their efforts on process improvements. Instead, they must engage the customer in use of their product/service rather than analyzing tasks for improvement. We no longer build and hope that there is a demand. We must create demand through the services that we offer and Lean Service Design is the enabler of this process. It changes our mindset of thinking about design at the end of the supply chain to make it look good and add a few appealing features.Lean Service Design Instead, it moves Design and the user themselves to co-create or co-produce the desired experience to the beginning of the supply chain.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

The umbrella of Lean offers Service Design a method of entry into a well-established market. Lean has been very successful in Services and Design through traditional practices. However, we must move away from these traditions and institute a wider scope of Design to Services. This download contains a 130-page PDF book, workbook with forms, PDFs and training videos.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 – Lean (SDCA)
  • Chapter 2 – Service (PDCA)
  • Chapter 3 – Design (EDCA)
  • Chapter 4 – Trilogy

In addition, for a limited time, I have included 2 popular eBooks from the Marketing with Lean Series:

  1. Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.
  2. CAP-Do (More Info): What makes CAP-Do so attractive is that it assumes we do not have the answers. It allows us to create a systematic way to address the problems (pain) or opportunities (gain) from the use of our products and services.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

Connect with Me on LinkedIn and Mention the Date of the Blog Post

I will send you a Free PDF of The Lean Marketing House

A few reasons to consider the Lean Marketing House book:

  1. Is there a reason to use Lean in Sales and Marketing?
  2. Do you have to be practicing Lean in the rest of the company?
  3. Is Lean Marketing the same as Agile Marketing?
  4. How does A3 problem solving relate to Marketing?
  5. Why is Social Media so Lean?
  6. Can your company ever complete a Lean Transformation without Sales on board?
  7. What does Knowledge Creation have to do with Lean?
  8. Develop stronger partnerships with your customers?
  9. Provide a methodology to become more precise in your sales and marketing?
  10. Begin a continuous improvement program in your sales and marketing?

Book Description: When you first hear the terms Lean and Value Stream most of our minds think about manufacturing processes and waste. Putting the words marketing behind both of them is hardly creative. Whether Marketing meets Lean under this name or another it will be very close to the Lean methodologies develop in software primarily under the Agile connotation. This book is about bridging that gap. It may not bring all the pieces in place, but it is a starting point for creating true iterative marketing cycles based on not only Lean principles but more importantly Customer Value.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design