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 …
June 29, 2014
Scott Berkun was in Paris for a few days as he was invited to speak at USI 2014. That was a great opportunity to meet him and to discuss about his books, his time at Microsoft and WordPress, how and where he grew up and how it feels to be a writer in the 21st Century. Scott has been kind enough to allow us some of his time, the most important thing he can give as he wisely writes in Mindfire.
A great dinner at the terrace of La Mauvaise Réputation, in Montorgueil neighborhood. And a few drinks as well : champagne, Armagnac, beers and a bottle of St Estephe 2011 for good measure: a bit young, but we still managed to work it out. It was so inspiring, I’ve still managed to remember just about everything despite the drinks. Yet, if I remember well the ideas, the transcript may not gives good justice to Scott verbal skills and precision in the words he uses.
There are not so many opportunities to meet one of #hypertextual heroes and that evening has been a milestone in the history of this blog. This is how the conversation went … Read the rest of this entry »
June 4, 2014
Ed Catmull is co-founder and president of Pixar. After having reached his life long goal (creating the first computer animated feature film) with Toy Story in 1996, Ed faced a terrible dilemma : what should be his next goal ? Looking at smart leaders and once successful companies stumbling and collapsing, Ed soon identified this new goal : overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration.
This is what this book is all about. Sure there are some delightful back stories of some of the most inspiring animated movies of all time. There also are the little secrets of working closely with Steve Jobs. But the most valuable takeaways of this book are elsewhere.
They are in the way Ed Catmull (with the helped of Amy Wallace) describes the path that a rather successful leader in a creative industry followed to protect Pixar and then Disney Animation from these unseen forces and to make both company strive. Interestingly enough, the core of his management and leadership practices lies in Deming principles and Japanese management : a book hypertextual could not miss … Read the rest of this entry »
Alors que l’édition 2014 de l’USI approche à grands pas, un petit retour sur une des sessions les plus marquantes selon Guillaume Plouin (cf l’entretien qu’il a accordé pour #hypertextual) avec Luc de Brabandère, intervenant que nous retrouverons dans l’édition 2014.
Une présentation essentielle en ce qu’elle donne des définitions claires et précises de ce que sont la creativité et l’innovation. Avec ces définitions et un humour absurde et tongue-in-cheek, le conférencier apporte un éclairage sur les approches qui permettent (et empêchent) de faire advenir ces deux carburants de l’économie du 21ème siècle.
Quelques extraits retranscrits ce dessous … Read the rest of this entry »
Our decision making is better when we draw on the collective knowledge and unvarnished opinions of the group. Candor is the key to collaborating effectively. Lack of candor leads to dysfunctional environments. So how can a manager ensure that his or her working group, department, or company embraces candor? By putting mechanisms in place that explicitly say it is valuable. One of Pixar’s key mechanisms is the Braintrust, which we rely on to push us toward excellence and to root out mediocrity. It is our primary delivery system for straight talk. (…)
April 9, 2014
I was doing an Enterprise 2.0 Masterclass to a group of technical national directors at INSEP (French national institute of sports) and one of the attendee asked me this question : “How can I quickly assess my organization culture ?”
It has just occurred to me that this can be carried out very easily, asking just one question, so I asked them :
April 8, 2014
Un petit retour sur une conférence Lean Summit 2014 qui s’est déroulée à la cité internationale de Lyon les 2 et 3 Avril. Plutôt passionné par les technologies et tendances du numérique, il s’agissait d’uns conférence de laquelle j’attendais peu. La surprise ne fût que plus belle, avec un évènement qui s’est avéré être un des plus marquants auxquels j’ai assisté, et pas seulement en raison de la fontaine de chocolat.
La raison en est toute simple : il ne s’agit pas d’une autoroute pour consultants, experts ou éditeurs mais d’un espace dans lequel des dirigeants racontent leur histoire, celle de leur entreprise et expliquent comment le lean leur a permis non seulement de survivre mais d’obtenir des résultats exceptionnels tout en impliquant leurs équipes.
A une époque où, à grands renforts de propagande, le Lean est dépeint comme un outil d’assujetissement à la productivité et où le Made in France évoque plutôt une résignation désuète ou un pleurnichage institutionnel, cette conférence rafraîchissante et tonique a clairement rappelé qu’il s’agissait surtout d’une alternative crédible pour continuer à créer de la richesse de façon soutenable dans notre beau pays …
March 27, 2014
This is an excerpt from Time article about “How an unlikely group of high-tech wizards revived Obama’s troubles HealthCare.gov website”.
This excerpt focus on the three rules theses wizards apply when rescuing the project a set of IT services companies has lead to disaster. All Agile principles : stand-up meetings, developers get the call, get managers out of the way, solving problems completely, reduce work in progress etc …). An awesome story.
Rule 1: “The war room and the meetings are for solving problems. There are plenty of other venues where people devote their creative energies to shifting blame.”
Rule 2: “The ones who should be doing the talking are the people who know the most about an issue, not the ones with the highest rank. If anyone finds themselves sitting passively while managers and executives talk over them with less accurate information, we have gone off the rails, and I would like to know about it.” (Explained Dickerson later: “If you can get the managers out of the way, the engineers will want to solve things.”)
Rule 3: “We need to stay focused on the most urgent issues, like things that will hurt us in the next 24–48 hours.”
February 5, 2014
Robert Sutton is one of the business writers this blog discusses the most. A professor at Stanford Management School he made himself famous in the business literature with his best seller No Asshole Rule. Though an excellent book and provocative read, #Hypertextual still prefers The Knowing Doing Gap he wrote together with Jeffrey Pfeiffer which, in my view, really nails down what management success is all about.
Another key question for leaders is being dealt with in Scaling Up Excellence (“spreading constructive beliefs and behavior from the few to the many”) an essay he wrote with Huggy Rao. A very interesting read with a spectacular amount of examples from all different types of industries and professional activities (hospital, education) you may think of, and many inspirational thoughts from psychologist and behavior researchers … Read the rest of this entry »
I am fortunate enough to count Antoine Contal and Régis Médina as my colleagues. We have been discussing this extensively, especially following Régis breakthrough on the topic (check his enlightening interview on InfoQ) and the dedicated panel Antoine moderated during the last Lean IT Summit in Paris.
Interestingly enough, we have somehow followed a similar path, though they were ahead of me by a few years. We found with Agile Methodologies a way to solve the same vexing issues while managing software development projects. How to better align software development with business value, how to release on a regular basis, how to build-in quality, how to engage development teams, how to embrace change : agile has helped us a big deal in answering these questions.
But still, we all bumped into some roadblocks that Agile alone can not tackle. We needed to go beyond and extend the reach of our improvement to include management, leaders, operations, marketing, problem solving and make continuous improvement a daily issue. And this is how Lean extends Agile reach in the enterprise …
December 17, 2013
“The preponderance of what is written for managers about management is bad theory and should not be trusted (…) But this is probably the most insightful book about quality and process that has ever been written” (Clayton Christensen)
When professor Christensen states that a management book is insightful, it might be difficult to argue with him : it actually is a wonderful book, the first that abstracts Lean management out into 4 four core principles that can be found in other thriving companies, which are not actual Lean companies (Alcoa, Southwest Airlines …). However, rather than defining it as a book about quality and processes, I would rather position it at the intersection of processes and organizational learning.
Beyond the great academic work, what separates Chasing the Rabbit (How Market Leaders Outdistance the Competition and How Great Companies Can Catch Up and Win) from the rest is that the author, Steven J. Spear, has been working on the shop floor in different companies during the preparation of this book. This in order to make to make sure he fully understands what he writes about and he asks himself the real questions : what is the job ? what is the product ? what is the process ? how does the company practically deal with problems ?
This approach protects his perspective from preconceptions and the Halo Effect : this is the whole point of going to see on the Gemba to make sure he writes about actual facts. (A virtuous approach Scott Berkun has also put in practice while preparing his latest best seller The Year Without Pants …)
An essay #hypertextual could not help but writing about …