Joining me as my guest for episode #189 is Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations, a software development company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rich is the author of the new book that I'm really enjoying: Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love. Learn more about the author and the book at www.menloinnovations.com/joyinc. You can also download a free chapter here.
There's so much to love about his book and what they are doing at Menlo. I think it's great to start a new year, 2014, with a look at a book that gives us hope about creating workplaces where employees are fully engaged and everybody wins – customers, company, and employees. I'll have a chance to visit Menlo in about two weeks when I'll be in Michigan for my public Kaizen workshop, so I'll report back on what I see during that visit.
For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/189.
Some of the topics I was taking notes on as I read the book (through chapter six):
- “You can be joyful without being happy all the time”
- Menlo has built upon “extreme programming” and Kent Beck‘s work there
- Their “Menlo Way” is worth looking at
- As Toyota has done, Menlo doesn't mind teaching competitors about their methods (because this serves their mission to reduce suffering in the world, including the suffering in bad workplaces)
- They work really hard to break down “towers of knowledge” in the organization
- Menlo emphasizes direct customer contact and understanding their problems and what they need (often better than the customers could articulate on their own in a traditional software approach)
- Their “high tech anthropology” approach (HTA) starts with understanding customers better and then iterating and testing designs (often starting with crude prototypes and mockups)
- Their QA process focuses on reducing delays and shortening lead time (along with other approaches that are different than traditional QA)
- A reader will recognize ideas that are similar to Deming, Lean, Lean Startup, Agile, and more… combined into a powerful and cohesive articulation of culture and strategy
You can also listen via Stitcher.
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