February 2009 Archives

TARP Loses 55% on Investments already!

The government, as of market close on Friday, had lost 54.9% on its original $195.5 billion in capital investments through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.  So much for making money on these assets as some in congress pledged.  All of us taxpayers foot the bill for  Wall Street��s innovation!

PowerPoint Tips: How not to use it!

Wow,  I have seen all these mistakes and more.  Do you think the laugh track makes the video funnier?

Lean approaches to Software Development

This is a great little presentation on Lean Software development.  It clearly shows where  waste creeps into the development process and demonstrates how a lean approach can accelerate applications that meet customer requirements.

Link: SEO and Social Media Marketing: Part IV - A B2B Marketing How-to

These are very specific tips obviously, but they go to show the little things that you can do when writing your news releases, allowing your information to be indexed for a much longer time. Additionally you must also take into account much of the information we wrote about in Parts I, II & III around hyperlinking key phrases within your news release. This is important for two reasons. First for when you put the news release up on your corporate site it is already optimized, but also when you put it out over the wire it will provide you with a SEO boost�that is if you are using the right wire.

Robots are poised for warfare

Beware the killer robots posted in global post by Tom Abate explains how warfare technology will change to include weapons design to fight on their own.  It is not far fetched.  The growing use of semi-autonomous military robots has occurred, but when will robots make the life and death decisions?

Link: Introduction to Medium-Fidelity Prototypes |

Medium Fidelity Prototypes are used to develop an information architecture. It provides a platform to conduct meaningful user tests to evaluate complex functionality and to help determine user requirements.

Link: Interface | matters: "Low-Fidelity" Prototyping With Electronic Tools

This article describes the importance of developing a low fidelity prototype of a process. This can be done collaboratively at a white board, or it can be done electronically.

RGE - 'Nationalize' the Banks

 

��Nationalize�� the Banks  Again, my favorite economist is talking sense.  Nouriel Roubini advocates a temporary nationalization of banks to clean them up and then sell them back to to the public Sector.

 

Hundreds of Gallons of Water in Every Shirt is interview with MIT Sloan professor Rebecca Henderson who is a founding member of the school��s Laboratory for Sustainable Business (S-Lab).  In a interview with the Sloan Management Review she discusses sustainability and its implications for the future.  She points to the climate impact in developing countries and the West��s business practices and predicts dire consequences of our current behavior.

In a recession companies pull back from their markets, lay people off, and put aside business process improvement.  Lean Thinking offers an alternative path. Lean Thinking does not mean cutting heads to cut costs. Lean thinking means eliminating waste and non-value-added activity, and respecting people. An activity is value-added if, and only if, the customer is willing to pay for the activity, it changes the product or service to be closer to the end product a customer is will ing to pay for, and it is done right the first time. To acheive this, leadership becomes more about enabling and empowering people to grow professionally and take responsibility and pride in their work. Lean Thinking encourages collaboration between customers, suppliers, employees and management in a positive approch to efficiency that spans the value chain.

The following chart shows Coherence Group's approach to implementation of Lean Thinking. It involves specifying value from the customer's point of view, changing the culture of an organization to embrace lean principles, teaching poeple to problem solve in new ways and encourages sharing problem solving experience using knowledge management techniques.

 

Lean Thinking Slide-small.png

By combining Knowledge Management with Lean Thinking companies can retain their problem solving experience, share best practices and drive operational excellence over the long term.

My colleagues and I have pioneered a way of accelerating the implementation of Lean Thinking by using "Improvement Labs". In the context of Lean, these techniques encourage management and employees to pick specific improvement projects. Once you have a portfolio of projects, we design and facilitate an accelerated problem solving sessions in which participants create a solution concept, prototype new processes, and create an implementation work plan. The "Improvement Labs" solve critically important business problems while modeling lean thinking and behaviors. The projects are sponsored by management, accelerate Lean learning and are designed to achieve fast tangible results. By documenting the work accomplished in the "Improvement Labs" we create a knowledge base of solutions and problem solving techniques that can be replicated throughout a company.

For example, you could apply this approach to supplier relationship management (SRM).An Improvement Lab could focus on how to minimize transactions across the supply chain, how to select the best supplier, or how to collaborate with suppliers to eliminate waste. Suppliers could, in fact, be included in the problem solving exercise. Highly focused Improvement Labs demonstrate how to apply Lean Thinking while solving a real work problem.

Agile Project Management - PM Hut

Link: Agile Project Management - PM Hut

Great blog on project management! It looks at lean and agile approaches to software development.

Is Knowledge Management still relevant?

Today I replied to Herman van Niekerk��s question in the LinkedIn Knowledge Management Experts Group discussion.    Here is my answer to the question.

The value of knowledge management remains high, but the implementation success is extraordinarily variable. When knowledge management works, it enthuses the process of sharing business problem solving experience and accelerates learning.

I started working in knowledge management at the Boston Consulting Group in 1977. Bruce Henderson had recently discovered the relationship between the number of a times a task was performed to the cost of performing the task. As the cumulate volume doubled the cost of performing the task falls at a constant and predictable rate. This is called the Experience Curve. We applied the experience curve concept in BCG��s consulting practice by encouraging professionals to share their practice experience so that everyone��s work would improve and profitability would increase. In fact, we learned that by sharing experience, any efficiency learned from delivering one product or service can be applied to other analogous products or services.

Initially, given this context, we called �knowledge management��, practice experience sharing. After I left the Boston Consulting Group, I joined Bain & Company where we applied the same insight, calling the knowledge sharing function the �Experience Center��. This recognized the fact that professional service firms can capitalize on the positive effects of experience and learning to increase market share and profitability. I have seen this work successfully throughout my career.

I don��t think much has changed. Businesses still strive for efficiency and profitability. Knowledge Management can positively affect the process performance by sharing experience and getting better at performing value creating tasks. As the practice of Knowledge Management strays from capturing and sharing problem solving experience or striving to improve business process performance, its relevancy decreases. For example, document sharing in portals is not, per se, knowledge management.

Technology solutions can enable practice experience sharing, so Lotus Notes and SharePoint are good examples of tools that can equip employees to learn from other��s experiences. Today, Web 2.0 tools can enable the speed and efficacy of knowledge sharing.

So, is KM relevant, absolutely, but it is only relevant when applied toward improving the efficiency and profitability of business.

SlideShare becomes more powerful

SlideShare has introduced a number of new features that makes the platform even more useful for publishing and distributing presentations.

1. SlideShare will now allow users to embed YouTube videos into their Flash-based presentations.  This provides a way to include video that enriches the content in presentations.

2. SlideShare has launched a cloud-based feature that allows users to tie their native Microsoft PowerPoint client to your SlideShare account.

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