Quallaboration with Personal Kanban Author


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Joe Dager, the Host of the podcast said, “I look at the knowledge sharing, the cross training and what you’re doing with pairing. You’re taking all the different things of collaboration, all the things that you spell out and you’re making it immediate. You’re making it something that happens in real time and you’re not doing it individually, you’re doing it with a group and that’s a huge key here, is that constant feedback really does make work continuous.

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Quallaboration with Personal Kanban Author

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing SystemsQuallaboration Guest was Jim Benson founder of Modus Cooperandi Related Podcast: Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJim Benson incorporates his background in cognitive psychology,government, and management to build community through policyand technology. His company, Modus Cooperandi, helpsorganizations change through the application of Lean principles,Agile methodologies, and social media. He is also the developer ofthe productivity tool Personal Kanban, an adaptation of IndustrialKanban which helps individuals andsmall teams actualize. His book onPersonal Kanban, which applies Leanthinking to daily living, will be out inNovember 2010.Jim’s career path has taken himthrough government agencies,Fortune 10 corporations, and start-ups. Through them all his passionremained consistent – applying newtechnologies to work groups – in eachcase asking how they can be leveraged to collaborate andcooperate more effectively.His goal with all technologies is to increase beneficial contactbetween people and reduce the bureaucratic noise which so oftentends to increase costs and destroy creativity.Jim Benson said: “Personal kanban is an idea that arose fromnecessity. He began a Personal Kanban prior to starting ModusCooperandi, but it didn’t translate as cleanly from theprogramming and industrial world as I would have liked. Itwasn’t until one day when Corey Ladas and I sat down and reallystarted to talk about the differences between Industrial Kanbanand Personal Kanban that things really started to gel.” Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe Dager: Thanks everyone for joining us. This is Joe Dager,the host of Business901 Podcast. Participating in the programtoday is Jim Benson. Jim is the principal of "Modus Cooperandi"and the author of the upcoming book, "Personal Kanban". Hiscompany helps individuals, teams and organizations to be moreeffective. Their primary weapons are increasing the level andquality of communication in an organization, a team, or even anindividual. They use lean techniques, agile methodologies andsocial media to achieve these goals.And, this is what has led us to this podcast: Quallaboration. Jim,now if you can straighten that word out for me and introduceyourself and start, Id love to hear how that melted together?Jim Benson: Quallaboration came up one morning when afriend of mine called and said, "Would you be part of a series oflighting talks?" And I said, "Sure" And he said, "Well, theyre onquality?" And since I bring everything back to collaboration, Isaid, "Well, then my talk is on Quallaboration, " And he said,"Great" and then he left. And then, I had to figure out whatexactly that meant. So thats the genesis of the word, at anyrate.Joe: Quality in communication or quality in collaboration, prettydifficult to get them two together, isnt it?Jim: Well, for me, what I found is that quality can be achievedby one or two methods, and theyre both equally... well, theyreboth equally effective up front. The first one is collaboration, andthats kind of the one that I like. Its alternative is fascism.Fascism works really well for quality control, at least at thebeginning. What ends up happening is, somebody who has astrong position in the company dictates a certain set of steps orprocedure or a process by which the item that theyre making iscreated with quality, a quality object is created. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSo, they say, "You do a, b, c, d and e, then youll end up withquality." The teams’ starts doing that, they do a, b, c, d, and eand they say, "Wow, this is really high quality. I love mybenevolent dictator." They go through that after a while, a, b, c,d, e, and they get quality, quality, quality, quality.Then after a while, something in that chain stops working quite aswell, so d stops working quite as well. What ends up happeningat that point is, nobody is empowered to change it. Thats why Iprefer the collaborative elements of quality over the dictatorialelements of quality, because when you collaborate, people havethe permission to actually change the processes by which thingsare created.Joe: So youre saying that... Well, isnt the dictator still there?Jim: The dictator may still be there, because most companiesare run in a hierarchy. But if you can instill managementprocesses that push decision making down to the lowest possiblelevel, so you distribute that decision making, then you givepeople the ability, the authority, the capability to make decisionson their own and act on them. So you start to distinguishbetween leadership and control. That previous dictator nowbecomes a leader, and a leader is someone who sets the tone forthe company, sets a vision, watches out to make sure that yourenot being chased by the IRS or the FTC - does those things at ahigh level a leader is actually supposed to do, as opposed todictating the day-to-day operations of the company.Joe: Do you separate the two when you go to explain it topeople the first time? Or did you take it and say, "Heres whatQuallaboration really is?"Jim: In the original lightning talk what I did was I used one ofour recent engagements as an example. In that example therewas a group of people in a customer services branch of a smallcompany. They were buried in work. They were being managed Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsas if they were all individuals. They did not have any open pathsto collaborate. These guys were pretty much naturallycollaborative. These were team sports kind of people. So, on theweekends they went out and played softball and baseball andfootball, they were used to operating as a team. But then whenthey got to work, they had their individual little piles of work thatthey needed to get done.What I found was that, or what we found was that it wasextremely easy to get them to start collaborating because theywerent waiting for someone to force them to collaborate. Theywere waiting for somebody to allow them to stop notcollaborating.Joe: So if they were already collaborating, what was theproblem?Jim: The problem was the way that the company wasstructured, and more to a point, the way the group wasstructured. So that specific group, they had a goal which was toprocess as many trouble tickets as they could through theircustomer service system. They had fallen behind simply becausethere were too many tickets being produced and they could notprocess them all. As they fell behind there became this hugebacklog. They couldnt catch up with the backlog and theresponse of everybody was the obvious response. They saw thisproblem and they wanted to attack it and they wanted to attack itby brute force.They wanted to process as many tickets as they possibly could.So in order to do that, they set up a competitive system whereeverybody was ranked by the number of tickets they processed ina given day. What ended up happening was it ended up there wasno cross training, there was no communication between people inthe group. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSome tickets would languish because the expertise necessary washeld only by a few people. Very difficult tickets would be glancedover or could potentially be glanced over because people didntwant to be mired down with those particular tasks. That was ahighly individualistic system.But since they were trying to solve the symptom and not theproblem, it was a logical system for everybody so nobody evensaw that there was an alternative.Joe: Then when you went in there and saw that, what was yourfirst step? What did you try to create with them, or did you justsit down and talk to them?Jim: What we did initially was we explored the problem thatthey were having. We have this huge backlog, we have this needto get rid of this backlog. How can we get rid of this backlogquickly? We started saying, "OK. Well, how are you going about itnow?" "Well, were doing these metrics, were trying to processtickets faster and faster." I said, "OK. Why are the tickets thereto begin with?" That led to an answer. "OK. Do you think thereare more tickets in there than should be?" That led to an answer.We started to explore and not necessarily attacking the problemhead on but how can we do some end runs around it to actuallyget to the root cause. So, what were the root causes of thatmassive backlog and why was that backlog growing? Why werethere people that werent trained?Why were there people who were hoarding information, not evenintentionally. They were just hoarding information because theydidnt have time to train anybody else.So, we started to discuss ways, say, "OK. Well, if that metric isntthe best metric to use, what other metrics can we use? If peoplearent being trained and we dont have time to train them, howcan we invent opportunities to train them?" The more that we Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstalked about that, the more not only a collaborative systemdeveloped, but a collaborative system that they were activelydeveloping themselves developed.Joe: Did you map out the process that they had or was it moreof a Kaizen event or what was the actual, I mean did you usesome of the... I think of some of the lean tools, how did youstart?Jim: I would say yes to all of the above. We mapped out a valuestream early on. So we did this over the course of four days.Then every time we discussed things in the preceding days, wentback and revisited that value stream. Not explicitly, but we wouldwrite all over our notes around the value stream and as we didthat people would find changes that they wanted to make to it.Then we would have other times where we were focusing onmetrics. So we would talk about not only the metric as a numberor a designation for status but also how that would impact thevalue stream.Then we also talk a lot about, which I dont think anybody therewas expecting about what upset them. Customer service tends tobe non-billable feature of organizations and therefore theirimportance is often downplayed. When that happens everybodynotices it especially the people in that group.They internalize that, it becomes part of how they feel aboutthemselves. So they begin to feel like their concerns are going toalways be the last that are dealt with in the organization, whetherthats true or not. They had a lot of valuable or vital concerns,valid concerns.Their concerns came about because theyre trained professionalsand they knew what they were doing and they were waiting forsomeone to come along and respect them and allow them tovoice those concerns. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWe expressly delved into not just their concerns but then how toprove their concerns in the future using the lean tools that wewere giving them. So how to show in your value stream thatsomething is slowing your team down?Once it became clear that these tools were things that they canuse after Tony, Anne and I left their office to affect positivechange, the level of buy-in shot through the roof. People startedcoming to meetings and this is like only on the second day. Butpeople started coming to meetings with an agenda already intheir heads. So it really didnt matter what we wanted to talkabout, they already knew what they wanted to work on, whichalso was a collaborative environment.Joe: I like the way you said that: you supplied the visual aspectthat maybe they didnt have before, is that a fair assumption?Jim: Well, not only the visual aspect but the permission to do afew key things. One is the permission to effectively complain.Previously, they felt like, "OK, I have this complaint and Im goingto go talk to somebody about it but when I do theyre just goingto say thats nice, and send me back to my desk." Now thereason that that was happening was the person they werecomplaining to was sending back to their desks with, "Go back toyour desk and bring me back proof." To the complainer, that feltlike they were being written off. But to the person that they werecomplaining to, theyre like, "I cant, I cant solve your problem ifI dont have a well-rounded idea of what that problem is.The visualization helped them do that, helped them make thatargument. It also allowed them to make that argument in thefirst place. The other thing was permission and respect to makeimmediate changes on the floor.So whether its visualized or not, if they get together with theirteam and they think that something is going to make thingsbetter, their solution doesnt greatly disrupt the operations of the Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscompany. So for example, they could not say, "We think a hottub in the middle of this room would make things better." Theycan say, "We think that if we rearrange how we are answeringphones slightly, that might make things better."They can do the latter then the third better permission there is tohelp your friends. So before, when it was every man for himself,if somebody else ran into problems or if somebody else pulled atask or a client that somebody knew something about, theyrejust like, "Oh, I hope they do a good job with that." But now,were actively encouraging them to stand up, walk over, sit downand actually pair with them or even just offer a small advice tomove that ticket along more quickly and make sure that thattrouble ticket, when its resolved, doesnt come back again.Joe: If someone was spending too long on the phone or was juststruggling a little bit, they could kind of put a yellow light on andsomeone would come over and help them?Jim: There is that but then also setting policies. So if you get acall and its something that you dont know anything about, youhave a couple of choices. One is you can find somebody who doesand then bring them onto the call with you. The second is youcan transfer it to somebody else. The third is you can say, "Oneof us will call you back." End the call, go on to a call you can dosomething about and then add that call with notation back intothe call queue so that somebody can pick it up next time whodoes have experience.What tends to happen otherwise is, the person will sit on thephone for a very long time trying to slog through the problemwhile theyre sitting on the phone for two or three hours trying toslog through this problem while theres a large number of five orten minute calls that have all bounced off and become tickets thatsomebody needs to pull in the future that they could have solvedduring that. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Ive called to enough call centers that after the third call, itwas like, "Why didnt I get that guy, the first time?"Jim: Thats right.Joe: It would have really helped?Jim: Youve also been probably the person whos called into callcenters and your problem is just really weird. As much time asyoure spending on the phone, their spending that same amountof time on the phone, so thats not good for anybody. So, yesabsolutely.Joe: Part of your presentation that I looked at, it talked aboutthe real need was Kaizen. Then you said, which a consultantcannot provide. There are Kaizen consultants all over the place.Could you explain that a little bit?Jim: Yes. Kaizen is an epiphany in its truest form. So Kaizen isbuilding a culture of continuous improvement or giving a groupthe skills that they need to diagnose or recognize problems,diagnose them and then come up with a potential solution andthen experiment with that potential solution. You can teachpeople the mechanics of that. But theres got to be aphilosophical and an emotional buy in to the system before it willreally make any difference. I could have gone to that group andgone through a PowerPoint on Kaizen and say, "These are theelements of Kaizen and this is how you can notice a problem andheres the Five Ys so that you can drill down to the root cause ofwhats happening. Thats all well and good.In the end, theres just this epiphany that people have to say,"My God, I really can have control over my work." For me, that’sthe biggest prerequisite, the other stuff is just implementationdetails but that honest belief that you can actually effect yourenvironment is key. As a consultant I cant give you that in aPowerPoint. As a therapist I can come in and help people Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsrecognize that thats a possibility and then maybe give them afew exercises that lead to that epiphany.Joe: I think its very true in the fact that Ive always seen peoplecome in and think here we go, through another quality circle.Were going through another thing here and then it will just beback to normal a month from now. Half of them are rolling theireyes and leaning back in their chairs. I think to get that buy in isso important and thats what youre saying. Thats really your jobis to create the buy in, the work should be by them anyway.Jim: Thats where you have to match the presentation style tothe culture of the group that youre working with. If I go in andtalk to a bunch of people from GE that work in Manhattan andcome to work everyday in suits. Thats very different thanworking with a group of guys that come to work in the middle ofWest Virginia in T-shirts and blue jeans every day. Theyintrinsically relate differently to their careers, their jobs and theirability to affect their environment. They both ideally would likethe ability to affect their environment and they both are probablyvery jaded in different ways.Joe: Now, I have to ask you, did they go ahead and take all thequeues and construct a Kanban board?Jim: I always say that that engagement was probably myfavorite engagement out of any Ive ever had. Not only were theyexcited to get started but when Tony, Anne and I arrived, peoplewere upset. They were very upset. But this company that theyreworking for is privately held, decades old, its successful andtheyve had a very real hand in building this successful company.And they cared about it. One of the reasons why they were upset,probably the major reason why they were upset, was becausethey did care. They werent able to take this love and affection fortheir organization that they had and make good on it. What we Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsfound was that they were very excited to build collaborativesystems.Then after we left...I check in with them regularly. Theydeveloped their own terminology; they created entirely newpositions in order to deal with the different tasks that we haddeveloped. None of those tasks were job description tasks. Theywere roles that people cycled in and out of. The system naturallyis fault-tolerant, naturally teaches people new skills and does anadmirable job of reducing the backlog of work that we wereinitially shooting to reduce.Joe: Have they caught up now?Jim: No. They were way, way, way behind. They only way thatthey would be able to catch up is to just destroy the backlogentirely and not make good on it. But they have reduced thebacklog, I think now by about 35% or 40%. There were about2,000 things in the backlog and they were 24 people in thegroup.Joe: What did you take away from this that will help you withthe next organization?Jim: The things that we took away were ... first off, I mean forme the biggest thing of this whole company, whether it was thatgroup or their different coding groups or other groups throughoutthe company. They were all doing Kanban in one way or another.There was tremendous natural innovation in the visual controlsthemselves. So one of the groups was tracking sentiment in realtime, and they were ashamed of it, initially. So I said, "You know,we probably need to get rid of the silly things on our board." Isaid, "Well, tell me what the silly things are." They said, "Well,you know, sometimes a task is a lot of fun so we put a littlesmiley over it and sometimes tasks are really awful so we put alittle mushroom cloud over it." Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsI was like, "This is brilliant!" So we talked about ways that theycould save those mushroom cloud tasks and then when they wentback and did a retrospective later, they could actually discuss thetasks that were bad and the tasks that were really good. And say,"Why did these ones work really well? What was it that wascausing problems with these other tasks?"No one coached them to do that, that wasnt in any of mywritings; it wasnt in any of Davids writing. It was just what theydecided needed to be done.Joe: Software development has Pair Programming. I see otheruses of it in other fields, is this kind of a different take on PairProgramming. Have you seen that in your Quallaboration efforts?Jim: Oh, you bet! So everything... Pairing is one of the thingsthat Ive taken out of programming, taken out of Agile and puteverywhere I can. I found that the ... because Im so focused onQuallaboration, that Pairing is an amazing gift to long termproductivity and to quality. I find that when people come togetherin a conference room and they decide "You go off and do this andIll go off and do this and then well meet in a couple of days andthen well figure out what to do next." When you meet togetheryou achieve kind of this bubble of clarity. You understand whatyoure supposed to do and the other person understands whattheyre supposed to do. But you kind of understand it in contextof your conversation. Its this really bounded rationality, thisworld view that you have in the conference room that starts todissipate the moment that you leave the classroom or theconference room. So, you start working on your tasks and thenand another person starts working on their tasks and maybeyoure interacting with other people or youre writing or whateverit is that youre doing and you run into other variables and youstart making decisions. The moment that you start makingdecisions, youre definition of what youre doing and the otherpersons definition starts going off in other directions. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWhen you do Pairing, you maintain that focus, youve got more ofan anchor to either what was decided immediately or you have acoalmine canary that can say, "Wait! I can feel deviationhappening." Because that deviation is just a natural way ofworking, so when youre doing it alone you tend not to notice.The other thing that happens in Pairing is just a natural, constantquality checking. So 100%, well, maybe 95% of the PersonalKanban book was written with Pair writing using Google docs.Tonianne is on the one side of North America and I on the otherside of North America and a live Skype line on 24/7 pretty much.We just sat there on Google docs and edited the same text all theway through the document. Ive used it with the World Bank, withscientists working together. Ive used it a UN project in Vietnam.I cant say enough good things about getting two minds onsomething versus one.Joe: Well, I think it is. I just think of the times Id make a phonecall at home and my wifes on the other side of the room tellingme what to say. A quality check over there and she has validpoints. I think of that scenario a little bit and make fun of it, buttheres a lot to that. I mean getting that input from how youretalking and describing it, even though theyre not listening to thatother person. If they were it would even be very beneficial.Theres just a different perspective.You walk out of a Kaizen event, you walk out of a quality circle.You walk out of that, you go on your own and start doing a taskyou have a tendency to go back the way it was and what waseasy for you. With that other person, and you haveaccountability, that check and balance is there.Jim: You can innovate as youre rolling along, as youre doingthe work you can innovate. And you innovate with somebodythere who again is an anchor. So they can say, "Yeah that wouldbe a really cool innovation. We should probably alert the others Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsthat weve done it. " Or, "Thats a totally illogical innovation, letsjust run with it because it doesnt impact anybody else." But thatcheck and balance of keeping you in line with the rest of theorganization is there. Then the other part of it is, if youre sittingthere typing and you have a lot of knowledge about bio-mimicryand your other person that youre working with has a lot ofknowledge about French history, youre typing away, yourworldview is informing what youre typing.Their worldview is informing how they perceive what youretyping. Then you can start having conversations and blendingthose different backgrounds.Joe: In part of your presentation I saw the pairing in there, butyou go through all the different things that you talk about in acollaboration effort to do that, the knowledge sharing, the crosstraining. The strength of the whole is so much stronger... Thestrength of everyone together is so much stronger thanindividuals working on projects that you wonder why there isntmore of that. I think of even pairing from a mechanicalengineering standpoint on a cad system when people aredesigning things. Have you seen that done?Jim: Yes, definitely. And my career started out as a cad designerand GIS operator. Then moved into urban planning and thenbeyond that into software.Joe: I look at that knowledge sharing and cross training, whatyoure doing with pairing is youre taking all the different things ofcollaboration, all the things that you spell out and youre makingit immediate. Youre making it something that happens in realtime.Jim: From an efficiency and an effectiveness standpoint thatsgreat. In some weird ways thats scary to a lot of people. One ofthe ways thats scary to a lot of people is say for example, in theintelligence community in the CIA. They have a very set means of Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemshow you advance career-wise through the organization. Youradvancement within the organization is based on your ability tocreate artifacts or reports that other people notice and that youcan basically use as the rungs of your ladder as youre climbingup the structure. If you start doing things like pair writing, pairprogramming, collaborative intelligence creation or documentcreation, your personal input becomes diffused.That means that a lot of people look at that and say, "How am Igoing to make my mark?" You know if this is a giant fingerpainting hows anybody ever going to figure out which of thosesmudges were by my fingers. Thats a major paradigm shift thatreally freaks a lot of people out, scientifically speaking.Joe: I think very much so, I mean because I think of trying toclimb a ladder its all about individual marks. To go to the teameffort kind of waters down because they dont promote a team,but maybe they should?Jim: Well and what happens... and this is the complaint of anycompany really, is there are say in engineering. Theres a guywho goes out, gets his professional engineering certification,makes some awesome roadways or bridges and then becomesthe manager of roadway design for a company. That person canbe the complete, the worlds most incredible social doughnut andhave absolutely no management skills whatsoever. But they werepromoted to a managerial position because that was the only kindof promotion they could get. Meanwhile, there might be otherguys in the group who are some of the worst designers in theworld, but amazing leaders that get completely overlooked.Because whats being promoted isnt the leadership skill, its thetechnical skill.There is no technical skill escalation path. What would be nice isto be able to have a collaborative system where natural leadersassert themselves, or become apparent and natural doers also Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  17. 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsbecome apparent and everyone is rewarded based on what theiractual skill set is.Joe: Well we should be able to do that with a thumbprintsomehow by now, shouldnt we?Jim: Marcus Buckingham has written, I dont know, about ahundred and forty books trying to convince people to stop, stopadvancing people based on things that they cant do. I think hesprobably still got another hundred books left in him, so...Joe: Would you go into what you find in other organizationsquite often? Or is there more of a resistance to lets say, theyrenot as open armed waiting for you to come in?Jim: Certainly the larger the organization is the less people aregoing to feel that they can have lasting change or impact on theorganization. That can cause issues. Different organizationsoperate differently. So IBM or 3M have strong innovation culturesand people can have ideas and make those ideas happen. Thereare other organizations, especially in the financial industry wherethings are extremely rigidly controlled and people feel like theyhave absolutely no control whatsoever. Conversely, Ive dealtwith very small companies that are controlled by one very strongpersonality. That personality is equated with the company, sopeople cant get around that either. There needs to be a comfortlevel or even the assumption that a comfort level could existwhere people feel that they can have, create beneficial changewithin their organization.Joe: We can get quality without collaboration, I mean, youveproven that at the very beginning, but its not as lasting.Jim: Quality by fiat requires future quality by fiat. So, youregoing to subscribe to continuous innovation and continuousimprovement in a collaborative system or youre going tosubscribe to sporadic improvement and in a dictatorship or in a Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  18. 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscommand and control system. So, in a command and controlsystem, things will continue to operate on their path until thepain becomes so undeniable that you need to shift to a newimprovement. The delta between what youre doing at that pointand the shift to make things better is usually very large andusually resource intensive. So its expensive, its difficult for thepeople to weather, its un-enjoyable. In a collaborative systemwith continuous improvement, youre constantly doing minorcourse corrections.Joe: Quallaboration is really kind of a PDCA cycle with a littlemore emphasis on group?Jim: Yes. But ultimately the, ultimately the cycle there is sotight that its not noticeable. So in continuous improvement,every second is a Kaizen event because Kaizen is just part of theflow. So PDCA cycle, even if its collaborative, still has someregimented aspects to it. Like every Friday well have a qualitycircle, or every Friday we will get together.Joe: And what youre saying with the Quallaboration, yourelooking at really trying to make it every second. Whats kind ofnice about it is youre not doing it individually, youre doing itwith a group and thats really just a huge key here, is thatconstant feedback really does make it work continuously.Jim: One of the things about the Quallaboration concept that Imstarting to really like is, especially in software you have a QAgroup. In my mind when you have a QA group then what theyredoing is theyre catching defects after theyve already happened.Theyre not going out and stopping defects from happening in thefirst place. My friend John Bach who is kind of testing luminary,he has a system where he looks at your setup time, you haveyour bugs and then you have your test time. He feels that hescreating the most value when hes actually doing the testing. Sosetup is waste, and actually finding the bugs are waste. If he can Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  19. 19. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsgo through and do a bunch of testing and find no bugs becausethere actually are none, thats kind of his perfect day at theoffice.One of his clients said, "How can we... were appreciating thework that youre doing but how can we make your job easier?How can we lighten the burden on you?" And he said kind ofglibly, "Well stop having so many bugs."Tat actually made them go back and invent ways to write lessbuggy software. Somebody had to ask them to write less buggysoftware. Because previously you had this testing group and itwas their job to catch it anyway. So there really was noimperative to write clean code.In my company, in Gray Hill Solutions when were creatingsoftware, our testing happens simultaneously with authorship. Sokind of unwittingly I was already working in a Quallaborativemodel. We were writing, we usually had teams of usually underfive people that were writing enterprise scale software that hadand continues to have extremely low defects. I think that thats abig part of the reason why is because we make quality, to kind ofsteal a Ford line, but we make quality everybodys business.Joe: A certain part of this method that I didnt really talk aboutthat youd like to add?Jim: The one thing that I wanted to talk about just very briefly isthe notion of clarity which for me is at the center ofQuallaboration and at the center of personal Kanban. And what Ifind is that people who were previously underperforming workersor teams that were previously underperforming tend to reallytake off when they know what theyre supposed to be doing, howtheyre supposed to be doing it, how it fits into the company andwhat the ramifications are for different decisions they make inbuilding it. Once they understand how they actually fit into theframework of the company, their design decisions noticeably, Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  20. 20. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsmeasurably improve. For me, theres a couple of easy ways to dothat. The easiest way is to use a visual control that just showseverybody all the time, what is happening in the group and to alesser extent in the company as a whole.That gives them the context that they need to act, to make betterdecisions and to build better product. I really feel like that is thething that is most missing in teams. In every team that Iveworked with where theres been an issue is people were justhungry for information and getting them that information in anon-obtrusive way works miracles.Joe: You clearly understand it. Its amazing how it flows. If thereis an inhibitor it’s clarity I mean, I think that would be the idealorganization or the organization thats in perfect harmony, right?Jim: Its what upsets people most often. Because they knowwhen theyre not getting the information they need. That has ahuge negative spiral because they feel disrespected; they feel liketheyve been hired to do a good job and now they cant. So theyactually feel like theyre stealing money from the companybecause they know they can provide more value than they are.Then they feel personally ripped off because they know that ifthey could do a good job they would learn more and they coulddo even better next time.Joe: Whats coming up for Jim Benson? Whats going on withyou right now?Jim: Well this weekend Im going down to Phoenix for aScrumbian software conference where were basically going todiscuss these issues of how to use agile methodologies out of thesoftware field. The book comes out next month, all things, allsigns being hopeful. Then in November I will be, at the beginningof November will be in Seattle at a "Health Care 3.0" summit,talking to people about Lean in health care. And then off to Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  21. 21. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsMalmo, Sweden, where I will be talking to software developers ata board of a large software conference. So a lot of plane time.Joe: Now, how can someone get a hold of you?Jim: Well at Our Founder on Twitter is the easiest way. Andthats Our Founder, O- U-R-F-O-U-N-D-E-R. Or the personalKanban site, personalkanban.com has my contact information asdoes the more difficult to spell moduscooperandi.com.Joe: I appreciate your time very much. I look forward to yourbook. Im in great anticipation of it, I think you have seeds foranother book?Jim: Theres no shortage of potential next books. Its a little bitscary right now.Joe: This podcast is available in the Business901 iTunes storeand also on the Business 901 podcast site. So thanks again, Jim.Jim: OK, thank you. Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901
  22. 22. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: jtdager@business901.com Web/Blog: http://www.business901.com Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joesability to combine his expertise with "out of the box" thinking isunsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and withingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event.Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder Copyright Business901