Content By Jim Benson

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By: Jim Benson

A few years ago, I received a call from a very frustrated vice president of development in the Midwest. He sent his staff to get trained in Scrum. He thought he was sending his team off to learn how to develop software. Instead, they came back scrumbroken.

The team spun in circles arguing about their stand-up meetings, trying to wrap their heads around the arcane notion of Fibonacci-based pseudo-planning, how best to set fire to their documentation, and so on.

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By: Jim Benson

It’s no wonder people are scared of process. When we have a large project or goal, we assume that the process to complete that work must be equally large. That is daunting. We’d rather just do it.

When we have taken the time to build a process for a large project, we’ve all witnessed what a large process gives us: bureaucracy. Sluggish systems of overactive checks, but rarely any active balances.

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By: Jim Benson

‘What if there’s a task in my options column that just never moves?”

This question comes up in almost every class we teach.

And we ask, “What if that happens?”

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By: Jim Benson

I love to cook. When I make good food and share it with others, they will take a bite and look as excited to eat it as I was to create it. They might not understand the subtleties that went into it, but they understand the product. Satisfied eater, satisfied chef.

When we do something and are happy with it, we get excited. We want to show it to others. We are proud of what we’ve done and want to see the world interact with it.

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By: Jim Benson

Let’s take a second to emphasize who is important in the following quotes, all by W. Edwards Deming:If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”Drive fear from the workplace.

Well, by golly, it’s people.

Deming again:A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.”

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By: Jim Benson

Human beings are good at placing roadblocks to success and building plans that can’t be followed. We tend to fall back on our “common sense” or “snap judgement” which often makes us feel like our cavalier decisions were actually thought out. Yet, time and again, we find ourselves in deadline crunches, worried about upset customers, or angry with others because we didn’t get what we want or got it too late.

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By: Jim Benson

Tonianne DeMaria and I run the Personal Kanban, Modus Institute, and Modus Cooperandi Corp-o-plex pretty much duo-handed. There’s a lot of work. The rules of Personal Kanban apply to us, too. We are constantly experimenting with new ways to visualize our work and limit our work-in-process (WIP).

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By: Jim Benson

People are always asking us for help with ways to prioritize. Almost everyone believes prioritization to be an action in and of itself. They ask, “What mechanisms do you use to prioritize?” However, we find most often that prioritization issues, like trust issues, are a symptom of deeper problems.

This video discusses what some of those root causes are and how we at Modus Cooperandi approach them.

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By: Jim Benson

Focusing on our most important work (so that we can get it out the door and create value) is hard. It’s harder still when work suddenly picks up, is unfamiliar, or arrives with immediate deadlines when we are already busy.

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By: Jim Benson

The other day I was driving down Point Brown Road in Ocean Shores, Washington. Ocean Shores is a small town with almost no economic base. If you live there, you are likely a retiree or work in one of the restaurants or hotels that serve the tourists. The internet in Ocean Shores is anemic, but it does exist. Yet, when I drove by the McDonalds in the center of town, the sign said, “Now hiring; apply online.”