Posts Categorized: Productivity

Overtime Hurts the Everyone

Posted by & filed under Employee Relationship, Productivity, Work.

Late last week, a client and I were discussing a struggling project. The client mentioned his project team regularly works nights and weekends to meet the deadlines he had scheduled. I was stunned. This was months into a years longs project. There are 3 things fatally wrong with this management strategy: It devalues both the […]

More Slack Keeps Projects on Track

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Bookshelf, Productivity.

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of ‘emergency’ is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning. – Dwight D. Eisenhower Swap […]

Success Comes in Small, Cheap Projects

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Lean Thinking, Productivity.

Instead of spending milions of dollars on “The Superbowl Ad”, why not spend that money cranking out beermat campaigns, till you find one that really works? Using beermats in small, test markets, you could easily create 50, 100 (500? Who knows?) campaigns for the price of one decent Superbowl/TV commercial. It would be a simple, […]

Once More, In Half the Time

Posted by & filed under Innovation, Process, Productivity.

I apologize for the length of this letter, but I didn’t have time to make it shorter. – Mark Twain Twain was referring to the fact that refining something down to it’s essence takes iteration. Each iteration abbreviates the time necessary to produce and consume the item. I offer the Van Buren Law of Iteration: […]

Yes, and – not But

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Productivity, Teams, Work.

Improvisational comedy, like all team sports is about effective, high-energy, spontaneous collaboration. One of the seven major tenets of Improv is building off each person’s comment and suggestion with “Yes, and…” rather than dismissing it with a “but…”. “Yes, and…” extends, explores, and enhances the previous suggestion – building trust among all the team members, […]

Stop Doing Dumb Stuff

Posted by & filed under Innovation, Productivity.

When I need a quick kick in the pants, I reach for Tom Peters’ Brand You 50. Each one of his 50 tips are tow trucks pulling me out of what ever rut I find myself in. This is why I’m so excited about his new manifesto from Seth Godin’s ChangeThis project. This I Believe! […]

Want Better Collaboration – Stop Asking Questions

Posted by & filed under Employee Relationship, Productivity, Teams.

The first step to a collaborative environment is to banish questions. Yes, banish the question mark from all conversation. Questions reinforce heirarchial relationships rather than build the peer-to-peer relationships necessary for innovative, effective collaboration. Step #1. Everyone is smart and everyone’s knowledge is of equal value. A question forces someone else to make something for […]

Only Pigs Can Talk

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Productivity, Teams, Work.

I’m reviewing an excellent presentation [pdf] on the agile software development landscape when two bullet points on Scrum’s daily meetings stopped me: Chickens and Pigs are invited. Only Pigs can talk. It took Googling to decipher the metaphor. Though it goes against my earlier stifling team work post, identifying who’s involved and who’s committed is […]

Usability Not Usable? – Part 2

Posted by & filed under Employee Relationship, Productivity, Teams, Usability.

“People are usually not receptive to a newcomer waltzing in and telling them they’ve been doing their jobs wrong.” Usability departments exist in a number of our client organizations. Unfortunately, their organizational structural frequently instills an adversarial relationship between the project teams and usability group. The usability group is considered an outside agency – ony […]

Instructions not Inventory

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Productivity, Work.

To create a to-do list reflecting your ultimate goal, we highly recommend taking the advice descibed in Recipes Instead of Lists from Nerdherding for Beginners: “A recipe will include infrastructure work and ‘planned re-work’ that might otherwise be forgotten the alternative is simpliy a list of ingredients.”

Daily Productivity Tips

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Innovation, Productivity, Work.

We’re working with a number of clients to make their days more effective. One of the smallest, yet most profound changes is making each meeting a working meeting. Though powerful and effective, this technique does go against more than 96 years of conventional wisdom This technique works especially well for document review meetings – have […]

The 30 Second Rule

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Productivity, Work.

If it takes you or your collegues longer than 30 seconds to find a piece of information, then your workplace organization needs drastic improvement. I recently attended Minnesota Technology’s overview on Lean for the Office. The 30 second rule is a great yardstick to measure your day against. Extend the principal a bit..if no one […]

Do As Little As Possible

Posted by & filed under Best Practices, Designing for Wear, Innovation, Productivity.

How little can I do to successfully reach this goal? Continually asking youreself that questions is the best ways to minimize rework, reach goals quickly, guarantee sustainable solutions, and design for wear. This approach creates a functional prototype quickly, keeps stress levels down, and keeps product teams lean. Johanna Rothman has an excellent post highlighting […]

A Best-ter Buy. Part 2

Posted by & filed under Employee Relationship, Lean Thinking, Productivity, Retail.

Updating the stores to appeal to a specific customer segment is great, Best Buy goes the extra mile in this renovation and makes sales more visible to staff. Employees begin their day by reviewing the previous day’s figures, which are written on a dry-erase board and compared to the previous month. At a Westminster store […]

Outsourcing to Nebraska

Posted by & filed under Employee Relationship, Productivity.

Sending those jobs to India would cut the costs even more, to maybe $10 an hour in wages and overhead. But JetBlue thinks the better service from home agents offsets that price advantage, notwithstanding the occasional barking dog in the background. His [David Neeleman, the discount carrier’s chief] motivation was mainly to make agents happy, […]

The Zone vs the Clock

Posted by & filed under Productivity, Work.

This weekend, we worked on the home renovation – continuously – tiling until we ran out of tile, tweaking the bathroom sink until it stopped leaking. There were no phones, no radios, no email, no meetings pulling us away. We were able to focus on the task at hand until it was complete….really focus. I’m […]

Veen’s Presentation Tips

Posted by & filed under Productivity, Work.

I highly recommend Jeffrey Veen’s Seven Steps to Better Presentations My personal favorites: #3 Don’t Apologize. Apologizing for your own performance so directly and swiftly weakens. #4 Start Strong and #5 End Strong. I was in a sales presentation recently where the main presenter apologized 5 times in as many minutes. From the audience’s perspective […]