Tag: Software

Podcast #199 – Jeff Gothelf, #LeanUX

Podcast #199 – Jeff Gothelf, #LeanUX

MP3 File (run time 34:03)

Joining me for episode #199 is Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie), talking about “Lean UX” or “Lean User Experience,” a key method for software development, usually used in conjunction with design thinking, agile development, and Lean Startup business practices. Jeff is author of the book Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience and he is Managing Director at Neo, the global product innovation company.

Preaching to the Choir: Lean Works Everywhere

Preaching to the Choir: Lean Works Everywhere

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.04.44 PM

Some of you might have seen it, but I wrote a piece for the LinkedIn Influencers series about how the “Lean Manufacturing” principles are being used in various “knowledge work” settings – including healthcare, education, software, government, financial services, etc. Here it is:

“Lean” is Not Just for Manufacturing – It Applies to Knowledge Work of All Types, Too

When I write for LinkedIn, I try to write for a broader, general business audience. By comparison, I presume the audience here is already interested in Lean, at the least.

By February 7, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
The power of the (Lean) startup mindset

The power of the (Lean) startup mindset

Lean Startup Article from Canada

Last week, while in Canada, I saw this article in the Globe & Mail: “The power of the startup mindset.”

I was surprised that the word “Lean” didn’t appear in the headline (there was physical space for it in the print edition). It was basically an article about the “Lean Startup” methodology, but it didn’t mention Lean and it didn’t cite Eric Ries and his book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

(I’ll be speaking about Lean healthcare at Eric’s upcoming conference by the way — hope to see you there).

By November 27, 2013 3 Comments Read More →
Digital Pathology Software Company PathXL on Their Journey to Becoming a Lean Enterprise

Digital Pathology Software Company PathXL on Their Journey to Becoming a Lean Enterprise

Mark’s Note: Today’s post is a guest post by Nial Toner, who works for PathXL in the UK. I thought this was an interesting post because it touches on leader behaviors and team dynamics in a setting that we don’t often talk about here – a technology and R&D setting. I’ll be away on vacation through November 6, so there will be guest posts from familiar faces and new faces during that time.

By Nial Toner:

Nial-TonerThe last 12 months have seen some big changes to the way we approach things here at PathXL, a digital pathology services company.   There have been a number of changes in the overall company approach in the last year, but the most notable change has been the shift towards becoming a Lean enterprise.

In recent years, software development teams have adopted Lean manufacturing concepts, which aim to produce high quality products, quickly, making effective use of resources and reducing waste.

In the last 12 months, PathXL has moved from cottage industry practices to a world of Lean processes and agile development.   We have introduced the philosophy of continuous improvement, by holding kaizen events, creating key performance indicators (KPIs) and improving our visual management process.

By October 25, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
Upcoming Webinars with Mark Graban, Shingo, and KaiNexus

Upcoming Webinars with Mark Graban, Shingo, and KaiNexus

Here are a few upcoming free webinars that I am participating in… I hope you are interested and can attend:

Mark Graban & Joe Swartz – Healthcare Kaizen


Join  Shingo Research Award recipients, lean experts and authors of  Healthcare Kaizen, Mark  Graban and Joe Swartz, as they present an hourlong Shingo-sponsored live webinar. Whether you are in healthcare, manufacturing, financial services or any other industry, Mark and Joe are sure to provide practical insights that you can put to work right away.

By October 10, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
Podcast #155 – Jim Benson (@ourfounder), “Personal Kanban”

Podcast #155 – Jim Benson (@ourfounder), “Personal Kanban”

MP3 File  (run time 28:18)

Joining me for episode #155 is Jim Benson, author of the book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life. Jim is the founder of a company with a great name, Modus Cooperandi. He is, most notably, the creator of the “personal kanban” approach for managing work. It’s not kanban as in material management, but rather a way of visualizing work and setting WIP limits (much as kanban might be used to trigger or limit production in a factory) — but for knowledge workers and anybody! Learn more about this approach on his “Personal Kanban 101” site.

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/155/.

For earlier episodes, visit the  main Podcast page, which i

“Blame & Shame” is Shameful

“Blame & Shame” is Shameful

Many leaders in healthcare (including John Toussaint, Paul Levy, and others) are working to eliminate the “name, blame, and shame” culture that often exists in hospitals. This push (in my mind) started with W. Edwards Deming, who taught that 94% of problems are caused by the  system, and continued to the modern patient safety movement, which also teaches a systems-based view of what’s needed to  prevent errors, not just punish an individual after the fact.

With a hat tip to Patrick Vlaskovits, I saw this post online, related to software development:

My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it’s a bad idea?

Update on KaiNexus – Making Improvement Easier in New Ways & Places

Update on KaiNexus – Making Improvement Easier in New Ways & Places

KaiNexus taller version of logoIt’s been about a year since I started working with a software startup KaiNexus. We’ve made a lot of progress in that year, refining our product, signing on more early adopter customers, and adding more talent as we continue pretty much bootstrapping our growth. We recently released our first iOS app for our customers and we announced that Jamie Flinchbaugh has invested in KaiNexus, joining our advisory team. You can read more news here.

We have also compiled some aggregate statistics about our users – healthcare organizations that are using Lean and Kaizen methods to improve patient care and their organizations’ performance:

Podcast Interview on “Lean Healthcare” for the ScrumCast Show

Podcast Interview on “Lean Healthcare” for the ScrumCast Show

Today, I’d like to share a podcast where the ScrumCast hosts,  Derek Neighbors and Clayton Lengel-Zigich, interviewed me about Lean in healthcare. Their audience is primarily IT and software people working with Lean-related methodologies called agile, scrum, “Lean Startups,” etc.

They asked great questions and this discussion, about 16 minutes, might serve as a good introduction to those who are curious about Lean in healthcare.

Listen to ScrumCast #52 – Lean Principles in Healthcare.  Or download it via iTunes.

In the podcast, we discussed:

  • Agile outside of software
  • Lean in healthcare
  • Lean as management principles
  • Lean is not cost cutting
  • Risk and quality in Lean
  • Bad processes and lean improvements
  • Improving flow

Thanks to Derek and Clayton for having me on the show! It’s great to collaborate and cross-pollinate ideas across industries.

Quitting a Software Application: Safari vs. Chrome & Error Proofing

Quitting a Software Application: Safari vs. Chrome & Error Proofing

The two primary web browsers I use these days on my Mac are Safari and Chrome. I’ve always been a big user of keyboard shortcuts, whether in Microsoft Office or other software.

In Safari, when trying to close a single tab, the shortcut is Command-W. If you accidentally hit Command-Q (right next to W, of course), you erroneously quit the whole browser. Chrome has a clever way of error proofing this – as pictured at left.

By August 26, 2011 4 Comments Read More →
Of Blogs and Books (or from Solo to Silo); The Need for Lean in Publishing

Of Blogs and Books (or from Solo to Silo); The Need for Lean in Publishing

As a kid, I always enjoyed writing and, at one point, dreamed of being a baseball beat writer, like the father  of one my best friends from elementary school who got to travel and cover the Detroit Tigers. I was editor of the high school newspaper and did very well in English and humanities classes, even though I ended up following the math and science path into engineering school.

I started blogging in 2005 and have produced about about 3000 posts. I’ve had one book published and I’m working on a second book – with a co-author this time, so let’s call that 1.5 books. It’s hard work writing a book. It’s also hard, at times, to make the transition from blog writing to book writing, especially because, as a Lean thinker, you have to wonder if the whole publishing model is broken beyond repair?

Changes in Mac OS X “Lion” and Parallels to Workplace Changes

Changes in Mac OS X “Lion” and Parallels to Workplace Changes

 «The more I look at you, the more I'm hungry! »  It’s nowhere near as important as yesterday’s topic of employee and patient safety, but my last two days of using the new Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” operating system made me think of some classic change management challenges that might be of interest to Windows and Linux users even.

If you’ve ever used a computer mouse with a scroll wheel, you know that the standard has been to pull the wheel back toward you to scroll down on a page. If you have used Lion or read reviews about it, you know that Apple has reversed that to a new default they call “natural scrolling,” which feels anything BUT natural, at first.

Warning: You Can’t Even Draw a Map with this “Value Stream Mapper” App

Warning: You Can’t Even Draw a Map with this “Value Stream Mapper” App

If you are a Twitter user and follow the #Lean hashtag on Twitter, you might have seen a lot of noise from a company called Designing Kaizen (@DesigningKaizen), claiming to have a web-based app for “value stream mapping” (see their app’s separate website here).

After getting a ton of evasive answers and non-answers about who the co-founders even are (through a series of Twitter messages and emails), the company refused to let me have a “free trial” of the software (yes, the purposefully denied my request for the trial that they offer on their website) because they feared my motives were “nefarious” (WTF?). So I took a hit for the team and paid $25 for the “software.”

I will continue this post over time with more details and backstory, but the app is worthless, in my opinion. You cannot even draw a rudimentary VSM with the current version. I agree with @KarenMartinOpex when she tweeted “even beta versions need to have minimum functionality! It’s a worthless tool at this point.”

Blog Post About Preventable Errors Felled by Preventable Error

Blog Post About Preventable Errors Felled by Preventable Error

So Monday’s blog post was about preventable medical errors – namely errors involving pharmacies giving the wrong meds or wrong doses to patients. That’s not rocket science – it’s a clearly preventable error. But it’s also something to not blame individuals for – it’s a matter of fixing processes and systems and creating environments where people can do the highest-quality work.

Ironically, my blog was down for quite a while that afternoon and you may have seen error messages like seen on the left.. Ironically, the downtime was due to what turns out to be a PREVENTABLE ERROR from my hosting company, GoDaddy.

Reminder, Monday Night – Talking at Lean Software Austin Gathering

Reminder, Monday Night – Talking at Lean Software Austin Gathering

As a former Austin resident (“Keep Austin Weird!”), I’m happy to be heading down I-35 from Fort Worth to attend the Lean Software Austin gathering on January 17, 2011.

What do I know about software? Not much. But I’ll be there to talk about general lean culture and lean management methods, leading a discussion about the most appropriate way to learn from manufacturing practices – including my experience in helping healthcare people understand what applies and what’s transferrable.

By January 15, 2011 1 Comments Read More →
Podcast #99 – The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development

Podcast #99 – The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development

For episode #99 of the podcast, I’m talking with the authors of the book The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A cheat sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany. My guests are Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits. Both are experienced entrepreneurs from California. We had a great discussion and I’m happy to bring a topic that will stretch the minds of Lean thinkers in many industries… so be sure to listen in even if you’re not an entrepreneur…

Click to play:
[sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=”http://cdn.audiometric.io/8613794065.mp3″]

MP3 File (run time 28:29)

By October 11, 2010 7 Comments Read More →
This Yahoo Check Makes Zero Cents

This Yahoo Check Makes Zero Cents

This is a cliche’ of bad process and bad information systems, but I actually received a paper check in the mail from Yahoo! for ZERO cents. ZERO dollars and ZERO cents. $0.00.

I guess this is something that CEO Carol Bartz would curse and swear about, as she often does.

A full image of the check can be seen below:

Guest Post: Don’t Market Without Your Kanban

Guest Post: Don’t Market Without Your Kanban

Today’s guest blogger is Joe Dager, of the site Business901. He’s a very active blogger and podcaster and he’s very active on Twitter (@Business901) as well. Joe also takes the step of turning the podcasts inteviews into free e-books, which you can also download.

Joe interviewed me twice last year, about lean healthcare and about my use of social media.

Joe also focuses quit a bit on Lean principles applied to sales and marketing, so here is his guest post on that theme: