Understanding Your Process as Collaborative Knowledge Discovery

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Bob Hubbard:

Collaboration is a catchall buzzword that many leaders are adopting these days. They seem to understand that it is difficult for groups of people who are located all across the globe to work together as a highly effective team. Talking about the need to work collaboratively is great… but until the way work gets done changes, collaboration will remain a buzzword.

This post puts forth kanban as a way to facilitate collaboration. I am a huge advocate of kanban, having seen it first hand. I’m anxious to hear your take on this article. Sign in and comment!

Originally posted on Connected Knowledge:

There is a general trend and desire to make work more collaborative. Yet when I ask teams to draw a diagram of how they work, they often come up with something like this (I’m simplifying it):

Boxes and arrows. Functional specialists hand off work to each other back and forth as they try to deliver something.
In this view, the workers form an assembly line. But their work doesn’t really flow like an assembly line. For example, a Software Developer may find a logical inconsistency in a feature specification and send the work back to a Business Analyst. A Quality Assurance specialist may do the same when testing the implemented software. The BA will update the spec and send the work back to QA. QA may find a bug in it and send the work back to the Developer. The Deployment Specialist may find something in the code to be an impediment to deployment. The Developer then makes the necessary change. The code now needs retesting, so it goes back…

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‘Dirty Jobs’ Star Mike Rowe Says, ‘Safety …. Third’

Dirty_Jobs_Mike_Rowe.jpgOriginally posted by Kate O’Hare in November of 2009

Today’s cuppa: Mystic Monk Decaf Chocolate Mint Coffee (just for the flavor, then chased with full-caf office coffee)As any fan of Discovery Channel’s“Dirty Jobs” knows, Mike Rowe has his own view of the world and is not afraid to ruffle feathers (of course, he’s willing to do a lot more to farm animals than ruffle their feathers, but that’s a conversation for another time).

For example, the whole idea of green –specifically, the choice of that color to represent environmental awareness — irks him.

“Any fundamentally good idea,”he says, “is just a committee or two from being perverted into something that’s off-kilter.”

As a man who spends most of his working life caked in grime, Rowe always puts brown before green (he explains more about that at his website, www.mikeroweWORKS.com).

“We’re right with green,” Rowe says, “in terms of, obviously, what we’d like to see as an outcome — a healthy planet. No one’s opposed to that. But every single thing that ‘Jobs’ comes in touch with, I’m starting to realize, is essentially an opportunity to try to bring things back to a balance.

“So by putting brown before green, you know the whole argument, but it’s in a larger sense with work. If we’re disconnected from the environment, and we’re confused by the wrong choice of color, all of this pandemonium surrounding the issue makes sense.

“If our relationship with work is equally dysfunctional, and we’re confused by the definition of a good job, then that part of the DNA of the show starts to make sense.”

Read the entire post here:


John Shook on the Essence of Lean Thinking

This is a great overview of lean thinking brought to you by John Shook!

A Lean Transformation Model Everyone Can Use

 January 23, 2014 by Joshua Rapoza
Last week I had the good fortune to film John Shook explain LEI’s Transformation Model. This is the model LEI coaches use to guide lean transformations with our partner companies, large and small, across a wide range of industries.

About a year or so ago our mission here at LEI changed from “Advance lean thinking throughout the world” to “Make things better through lean thinking and practice”. I’m a huge fan of this change because so much of what we do here is about, quite simply, making things better. What better way to advance Lean than to show the difference it’s made in the world for people, organizations, and businesses? I firmly believe LEI’s Lean Transformation Model makes things better, whatever the industry. Or better yet, it helps people make things better for other people (employees and customers alike).

What I love about Shook’s explanation of LEI’s Transformation Model is that he makes it relatable without dumbing it down. Simplifying complex ideas is one of the hardest things to do.

In his recent e-letter Shook offers the same 5 key questions for transformation:

1) What is the purpose of the change–what true north and value are we providing, or simply: what problem are we trying to solve?

2) How are we improving the actual work?

3) How are we building capability?

4) What leadership behaviors and management systems are required to support this new way of working?

5) What basic thinking, mindset, or assumptions comprise the existing culture, and are we driving this transformation?

Interestingly, these are all questions we asked ourselves at LEI when developing our new mission.

Here’s a link to the e-letter by John Shook, and I highly recommend viewing the video below on the transformation model we use here at LEI. Its about 9 minutes long, so you may want to set aside some time to watch it, but it’s something I suspect the lean community will be learning from and sharing with each other (and making their own?) for years to come.

Shook will be delivering a more detailed Lean Transformation Model presentation at this year’s Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando on March 5 & 6.

Original posting on Lean.org <http://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=135&gt;

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

YouTube is Making Data Analytics More Accessible

There are lots of improvements coming to YouTube. The one that caught my eye related to improved data analytics.

This is a good article on Mashable about this subject too.


Historical Healthcare Statistics: Florence Nightingale

Statistics permeates every aspect of 21st Century society. I’m thankful for statistical pioneers! I hope you enjoy this article from Julie Rehmeyer at Science News.
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Florence Nightingale: The passionate statistician

She pioneered the use of applied statistics to develop policy and developed novel ways of displaying them.

By Julie Rehmeyer | 3:13pm, November 26, 2008
When Florence Nightingale arrived at a British hospital in Turkey during the Crimean War, she found a nightmare of misery and chaos. Men lay crowded next to each other in endless corridors. The air reeked from the cesspool that lay just beneath the hospital floor. There was little food and fewer basic supplies.
COXCOMB Nightingale created many novel graphics to present statistics that would persuade Queen Victoria of the need to improve sanitary conditions in military hospitals. The area of each region shows the number of soldiers who died of wounds, disease, or other causes, during each month of the Crimean War. Credit: Public domain.
COXCOMB Nightingale created many novel graphics to present statistics that would persuade Queen Victoria of the need to improve sanitary conditions in military hospitals. The area of each region shows the number of soldiers who died of wounds, disease, or other causes, during each month of the Crimean War. Credit: Public domain.

By the time Nightingale left Turkey after the war ended in July 1856, the hospitals were well-run and efficient, with mortality rates no greater than civilian hospitals in England, and Nightingale had earned a reputation as an icon of Victorian women. Her later and less well-known work, however, saved far more lives. She brought about fundamental change in the British military medical system, preventing any such future calamities. To do it, she pioneered a brand-new method for bringing about social change: applied statistics.

When Nightingale returned from the war, she was obsessed with a sense of failure, even though the public adored her. Despite her efforts, thousands of men had died needlessly during the war from illnesses they acquired in the hospital. “Oh, my poor men who endured so patiently,” she wrote to a friend, “I feel I have been such a bad mother to you, to come home and leave you lying in your Crimean graves, 73 percent in eight regiments during six months from disease alone.” Without widespread changes in Army procedures, the same disaster could occur again, she worried.

So she began a campaign for reform. She persuaded Queen Victoria to appoint a Royal Commission on the Army medical department, and she herself wrote an 830-page report. Her stories, she decided, weren’t enough. She turned to William Farr, who had recently invented the field of medical statistics, to help her identify the reasons for the calamity and the necessary policy changes. He advised her, “We do not want impressions, we want facts.”


Continue reading Historical Healthcare Statistics: Florence Nightingale

Agile Programming for Your Family? Bruce Feiler says Yes!

I became an advocate for continuous improvement when I discovered that when we improve processes, we also improve people’s lives. Bruce Feiler’s TED Talk on agile families is well worth your time. I regret that I did not use these techniques when my daughters were younger, but I can certainly spread the message, starting NOW!
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Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments.

Bruce Feiler: Agile programming — for your family 

Bruce Feiler, Writer
Bruce Feiler is the author of “The Secrets of Happy Families,” and the writer/presenter of the PBS miniseries “Walking the Bible.” Full bio