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Knowledge Jolt with Jack

Theory of Constraints, knowledge management, personal productivity and many more topics

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 May 2017 00:42:37 +0000


The truth about ... flow

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:55:57 +0000

A quick post about flow and the challenge of bringing this idea into organizations - it challenges deeply-held beliefs.

Stretch: working with your constraints, instead of beyond them

Wed, 17 May 2017 20:29:18 +0000

I finished "Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less - and Achieve Than You Ever Imagined" by Scott Sonenshein a few weeks ago, and have had the ideas rolling around in my head since then. I really like the overall premise of the book: lean towards Stretching instead of Chasing. I found that it nicely connects to the ideas of Theory of Constraints and process improvement in general.

Drawing your way to understanding

Mon, 15 May 2017 13:38:44 +0000

A client sent a link to Tom Wujec's TED Scotland 2013 talk, Got a Wicked Problem? First, tell me how you make toast. His idea is to use drawing and visualization to help people bring clarity to their problems. And I pick up on the idea of allowing ourselves to iterate around the visualization as being important to understanding the deeper system.

Physics behind new product development

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:48:14 +0000

I came across "Guest Blog: Finding Science and Success with Lean Principles in R&D" by Norbert Majerus of Goodyear on the Factory Physics website, and it describes the Factory Physics ideas as applied in new product development, and I thought it was a pretty good summary. This is also a lot of what we do with Theory of Constraints concepts applied in product development (and project management) arenas too.

More five whys - Cult of root cause

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:37:24 +0000

An old post from Donald Reinertsen on "The Cult of the Root Cause" got me thinking about our use of logic and over-reliance on tools. He describes over-reliance on the Five Whys without applying some common sense. And I add some of my own thoughts on top.

The Five Whys - explained

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:41:48 +0000

The Manager Tools podcast has a recent entry on The Five Whys which come out of the suite of tools from Toyota / Lean / Toyota Production System. It's a great root cause analysis tool, but the way the Manager Tools team describe it struck a chord with me.

KM only works if we are looking

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:21:03 +0000

So, on top of all the other challenges with developing cool technologies and getting people interested, we must consider whether people believe that they have problem you think you are solving.

Strategy Traps from BCG Perspectives

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:27:58 +0000

BCG Perspectives have an interesting approach to publishing thought-pieces. The one I stumbled on is their discussion of "Strategy Traps", where they pair up a number of "traps" that trap organizations - and use a historical figure to highlight the idea.

Making email work better - besides don't do it

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:13:19 +0000

Personal productivity writers and thinkers harp on and on about email. And for good reason - our default behavior around email creates a lot of chaos. Dan Ariely has been thinking about this and the result was "A Behavioral Economist Tries to Fix Email" in The Atlantic earlier this month.

Everyone is a Change Agent

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 21:47:25 +0000

April K. Mills' "Everyone is a Change Agent: A Guide to the Change Agent Essentials" is a distillation of several change management approaches into clear and enjoyable approach to change.

You get what you ask for

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 02:02:02 +0000

If you look for something, you will likely find it. If people know you are monitoring or looking for something, they will make an effort to supply that thing.  And on the other side, if you don't ask for that thing / report / result, you won't get it.

Never Split the Difference

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 01:47:39 +0000

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss was recommended by a couple colleagues.  This is a great book on negotiation (and a bunch of related topics). Voss and Raz start each topic with a life-and-death hostage negotiation and then delve into the ideas behind the topic and where these apply in the less dire scenarios people face every day.  The authors use Voss' own experiences in the FBI as the lead international kidnapping negotiator, his research and studies into what makes negotiations work (or not), and his teaching and consulting work.  These elements are combined in a fairly engaging style: starting each chapter with a hostage situation made me want to keep reading to find out what happened, ... and learn a lot along the way.  

Get Lamp - a blast from my past

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 03:36:40 +0000

I stumbled across the text adventure documentary, Get Lamp, in my wanderings and just spent a pleasant 90 minutes watching and reliving some of my teen years. 

Unlocking Innovation ProductivityUnlocking Innovation Productivity

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 15:22:27 +0000

Unlocking Innovation Productivity (Proven Strategies that Have Transformed Organizations for Profitable and Predictable New Product Growth Worldwide) by Mike Dalton is a guide to the challenges of product innovation and how to overcome them. He provides seven cumulative strategies to improve innovation, all based on Critical Chain Project Management and the underlying Theory of Constraints. 

Media Files:

Quality, Involvement, Flow

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:22:27 +0000

Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization by Domenico Lepore, Angela Montgomery and Giovanni Siepe. It's a good read for people interested in management and creating ever-flourishing organizations. 

Multitasking video from engineer viewpoint

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 13:48:59 +0000

A video about multitasking told from the perspective of a design engineer who was lost in the world of multitasking - it took him four weeks to do a 2-4 day design task.

Describing the problem - human terms

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:11:00 +0000

The latest DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast has a great discussion from Julie Zhou, VP of Product Design at Facebook, about creating great solutions to problems. You need to define the problem well! 

Success example with Throughput Accounting

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:18:26 +0000

Steve Holcomb has an article on LinkedIn that describes a nice success story in using the TOC concept of Throughput Accounting to guide decision making and bring a company back to profitability. This reminds me of a similar project I had.

What is your problem?

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:26:47 +0000

How many projects in businesses today are focused on building / implementing a solution without understanding why? Your problem isn't the lack of a solution.

Search or Find or Recall?

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:23:38 +0000

Another tool to help knowledge workers get to what they need quickly. I've been trying Atlas Recall over the last month.  The general idea is that it sits on your computer (Mac currently, Windows soon) and keeps track of everything you see. And then if you are trying to recall "where did I see X", you can ask Atlas Recall for help. It does exactly that: will show you what you have seen, whether it was on the web or in a chat session or in documents you've been writing / reading.