August 24, 2014
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging of an uncompleted task.”
William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, often referred to as the “Father of American Psychology”.
This quote resonates quite vividly for me as it echoes one of the main lean principles : to get things done, reduce work in progress.Why is it so fatiguing ? My take is that until it is completely done a task uses some of your background cognitive power.
A principle also referred to as “Stop starting and start finishing“ or “Multitasking is the first step in multi-failing”. I sometimes feel multi-tasking could be considered as self-inflicting the Sisyphus curse : going back to an uncompleted task is somehow like having to roll the boulder all the way up the hill, again.
There is some sort of mythology about alleged millenials ability to multi-task but this is just wishful thinking. I am currently enjoying reading Brain Rules and the author John Medina makes it clear that the brain is not able to share attention on two different tasks.
On top of an expert newbie, I rate myself a rather productive person, able to achieve things. [humblebrag] As an example in 2013 : one massive project, one e-book, one new album with my band and a major change in my professional career all the while attempting to have my family not to hate me too much [/humblebrag].
This principle is my north star. I try my best not to keep tasks hanging around and to complete them before moving to something else. How about you ?
August 21, 2014
I have seen this situation happening quite a few times in my career in Information Technology. I am pretty confident that it can be generalized to other types of industry as well.
Here is the scene. The executive has a vision and strategy. But the teams just do not deliver : delay in delivery, quality problems requiring unplanned correction releases at an unforeseen costs, an eventually reduced scope of what is delivered etc… Executive is subsequently disappointed and struggles in adjusting the vision as she doesn’t have a clear understanding of the capacity of the teams : how to set a vision when the outputs are unpredictable ? The trouble with adjusting the vision then impact the teams : how to set clear priorities when a strategy is no longer clear enough?
The organization has entered the vision – execution deadlock : no clear strategy > no clear priorities for delivery > no predictable outputs > no clear strategy … and so on. As a result people feel overwhelmed with the issues and the problems they are facing, not knowing which one to start with as they all seem intricate.
How to break the deadlock ? I have seen Lean helping in fixing this while addressing both perspectives …
August 20, 2014
This has been a rather complicated post to write. I still feel there are some flaws and that may sound somehow clumsy. Yet, here it is : I have a problem with expertise.
During the 25 years of my professional career, I have changed jobs, mission, specialties and professional activities on a regular basis, every two or three years, often while remaining in the same company and without getting any pay rise.
One reason is that I love discovering new work culture and environment while meeting new co-workers. But I think the most important one is I am afraid of looking like sitting in my comfort zone while patronizing from my expert position.
Experts are seen as the super-heroes of today’s organization and, for one, I don’t buy into that assertion. Quite the opposite, actually : I tend to see expertise culture as an obstacle to setting up a healthy one. Which makes me comfortable being a newbie and becoming expert at it …
August 19, 2014
“Lead With Respect is a terrific book that puts the elements of genuine motivation into a broader context and helps leaders translate those principles into action.” (Daniel Pink)
Freddy & Michael Ballé have just published a new book : Lead With Respect. This is a business novel, a format which has already brought 2 Shingo prizes to the writing team so far with their previous books The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager. This time round, the focus is on one question : how to lead 21st century workers with respect ? From this blog perspective, it is a fascinating one indeed.
As an IT manager and Agile and Lean practitioner I have been using #hypertextual as a support to study extensively 21st century management : Agile methodologies, Enterprise 2.0, Lean, Free Enterprise etc … and this genuine Leadership question has been underlying ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
I had a second article published today on InfoQ : Seven changes to remove waste from your software process.The first one being quite popular (a few weeks in the site top articles) Ben asked me to write another one, which I gratefully did.
It can be seen as another technical (and, I hope, actionable) article on my journey towards Lean while scaling agility to a full organization.
Thanks to Ben Linders for editing and Ana Maria Ciobatoru for her work in making it look great.
I have been in charge of implementing Lean Software Development in a software vendor house for about 2 years. During this time I have been coaching a large team throughout the development of two successive versions (let’s call them V2 and V3) of our enterprise solution.
We have gradually implemented seven major changes in our organization that have helped our R&D department to remove waste from our software development process with encouraging results. This essay is about implementing these seven changes, the results we obtained and what we have learned during the journey.
Read the article here.
July 9, 2014
Jim Womack has co-authored two of the most important management books of the last thirty years : The Machine that changed the world (1990) and Lean Thinking 1995. In Gemba Walks, the Lean Expert has curated about 60 short essays he has written between 2001 and 2010. These were originally e-letters dedicated to the observations he made while visiting the shop floor (the Gemba) of companies on their way to become lean ones.
This is a very inspiring book and a strongly recommended read for anyone interested in the core mission of managament. Jim Womack defines it as fostering a creative tension between management two main axis : functional and vertical towards the CEO and horizontal and value stream driven towards the customer. Read on for enlightening thoughts …