Designer walking down a hallway carrying a back pack to go and see for themselves.

You’re Doing it Wrong if You Don’t Go and See For Yourself

There is nothing truer than Genchi Genbutsu (the Lean concept of “go and see” or “go and see for yourself”) and GOOB (Steve Blank’s wisdom to “Get Out of the Building,” and echoed in Lean Startup methodology).

Taiichi Ohno, one of the creators of the Toyota Production System, is credited as the originator of the concept of Genchi Genbutsu. According to Eric Ries in Lean Startup, when Lean practitioners in Japan were asked what was the most important principle of Lean, Genchi Genbutsu was cited over and over. Genchi Genbutsu is sometimes Westernized to “Get your boots on.”

Continue reading “You’re Doing it Wrong if You Don’t Go and See For Yourself”

People working in an open floor plan office

The Cost of Context Switching

During a recent workshop with the awesome Rich Mironov (author of The Art of Product Management), Rich had everyone at the workshop do a simple and quick exercise that clearly shows the cost of context switching.

It is amazing, but there are still people who believe they can do it all by multitasking, even though multiple studies show this is not the case. Humans simply do not multitask well.

I knew a designer that complained about a developer who focused on tasks in a linear order. The designer wanted the developer to multitask. The problem is that constantly context switching as the designer wanted would have slowed the developer down, but seeing smaller bits of progress across a portfolio of tasks gave the designer a sense that more work was being accomplished.

Unfortunately, the designer had it wrong. Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell even goes so far as to describe multitasking as a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously as effectively as one.” Worse, our work days are now a constant stream of interruption, and it takes the brain about 10 to 15 minutes to recover from interruptions. That is a lot of lost productivity. This one reason why some believe open floor plans are detrimental to productivity.

Don’t believe it? Think you can truly multitask? Take the challenge and find out.

Continue reading “The Cost of Context Switching”

abstract photo of spiraling light trails

Beware, the Technology Sales Death Spiral

Learning people’s needs is how I earn my bread and butter, it is how I build products they want and creating brands they can connect with. But in my travels, I’ve worked with a lot of sales people. Heck, I’ve done sales, having to sell what I, and my agency, can do for customers.

There is one pattern I’ve witnessed that all technology sales people should be aware of and beware. Let me explain by telling a little tale.

Continue reading “Beware, the Technology Sales Death Spiral”