Agile Book Club

This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox by Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström

January 01, 2020 Justyna Pindel and Paul Klipp Season 2 Episode 1
Agile Book Club
This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox by Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström
Intro and Banter
Elevator Pitches
Take Aways
Favorite Quotations
Next Read
Agile Book Club
This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox by Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström
Jan 01, 2020 Season 2 Episode 1
Justyna Pindel and Paul Klipp

Get the book:

The author’s talk at TEDx:

If you’re listening to this in the first week of January, 2020, you can send questions to the authors to [email protected] or [email protected]

*Disclaimer: the first five minutes of the podcast is our regular (but longer than usual) banter. If you like those join us since the beginning. If you prefer to get straight to the point, be our guest and skip the first minutes. We don't mind, as long as our listeners are satisfied*

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get the book:

The author’s talk at TEDx:

If you’re listening to this in the first week of January, 2020, you can send questions to the authors to [email protected] or [email protected]

*Disclaimer: the first five minutes of the podcast is our regular (but longer than usual) banter. If you like those join us since the beginning. If you prefer to get straight to the point, be our guest and skip the first minutes. We don't mind, as long as our listeners are satisfied*

Support the show (

Paul:   0:00
Welcome to the agile Book Club. Here are your hosts, Justyna and Paul. You never know. You never never know with us.

Justyna:   0:13
Oh, you You look

Paul:   0:14
like you’re building a

Justyna:   0:16
fort or something.

Paul:   0:22
Justyna retreating into Fort Feminism.

Justyna:   0:28
Oh, God, I didn't. You I don't need a man to do that.

Paul:   0:43
Was not offering

Justyna:   0:48
is your Supergirl so Wow said of folding. Okay, beautiful. Thanks. Who

Paul:   1:15
I do feel like a

Justyna:   1:16
man now for you

Paul:   1:23
need any steel bars? Spent

Justyna:   1:24
everything? Are we recording already? Okay, if I have to. If I were blow my nose, would that kill your ears? Pop, let's check.

Paul:   1:38
That's totally going in the podcast.

Justyna:   1:40
The next many for your own safety. No, no,

Paul:   1:47
no. You know what that is? That's that's gonna be my new dedicated ring tone. When you call me,

Justyna:   1:55
wake up. When

Paul:   2:01
I hear that I definitely want forever. Nothing to be.

Justyna:   2:08
Oh, yeah? Yeah.

Paul:   2:11
So then so So, um, if you need to make any bodily noises, it's fine to edit it out. Just try not to do it and talk at the same time.

Justyna:   2:21
Okay, that's the good

Paul:   2:22
nose. Sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose. And while someone's talking

Justyna:   2:26
let me just to die here today. Okay? Okay. Okay. You've been

Paul:   2:31
trying to die a week.

Justyna:   2:32
Oh, yes. But actually yesterday I just come up with the idea during our training that maybe instead of blowing my nose in the training room, I would just get harder of the training room and blow Magnus outside. That was I was doing after the first hour. I don't know, even notice. I was proud of my empathy towards people.

Paul:   2:50
You think I didn't notice? You walk out of the room, and suddenly a panda leaves the room. But I hear an elephant in the hole.

Justyna:   2:59
I loathe you see? Yeah. Sometimes we feel like we're superstars. No. Okay,

Paul:   3:12
so so here we

Justyna:   3:15
are in

Paul:   3:15
the studio again. My goodness gracious, this is gonna be an interesting one for May. Because I've I spent what three days of the last four days were spent doing full day training's. So my voice is just about shot. Just about shot. I think this this recording might be what puts me over the edge and just leaves me silent for the rest of the holidays, which I don't think anyone my family would mind too. terribly, but it is the end of an exciting

Justyna:   3:46
Really? Yeah. And my voice, my shutdown dough. But I'm kind of happy with how I sound right now. I sound like a rock star. A few people told me that this flu or whatever I have right now that I brought from France, actually serves my voice very good. That it's, like deep.

Paul:   4:06
Yeah, indeed. You you sound like you certainly had old rock stories on the Keith Richards.

Justyna:   4:14

Paul:   4:15
so should we get into this, So Hello. Hello. Hello.

Justyna:   4:19
Good morning. Paul is a pleasure to see you. Not in the training room in the safe space.

Paul:   4:25
You think you feel safe?

Justyna:   4:26
No. Uh, so this is

Paul:   4:30
really the last podcast of 2019. How do you feel about that?

Justyna:   4:34
Who? That's so crazy. I still remember when you said just it's the podcast. And the first idea was the title. Bad people. Yeah, and it was like, That'll be fun, But I didn't feel like I'm capable of podcasting at all. And then you brought the second idea, which was about books, and I felt like, wow, that goes along with my goal for this year to read more. And obviously it was Joan and I didn't read as much as I wanted, so I said yes. And now here we are.

Paul:   5:08
I still think bad people is a good idea for a podcast.

Justyna:   5:11

Paul:   5:12
and and I think we could do it. I think we could pull it off. I think we've got the personalities to pull it off. But indeed, the book club gives us the trouble. Club gives us a structure which which I very much enjoy. And it makes us read, which I also very much enjoy. And you suggest in fabulous titles things I never thought to read before. So that's is really helpful to have somebody else suggesting my books for me and especially this one. The one we're reading today is I wasn't even aware it existed. I didn't know these people. I didn't know the authors. I didn't know this book. It's it had never crossed my radar. But I found it absolutely delightful. I love reading it.

Justyna:   5:53
Yes. So how would you pitch that book

Paul:   5:57
way? Haven't we? Haven't even told anybody what it is.

Justyna:   5:59
Ah, yes. Okay. You want to do it together?

Paul:   6:02
No, because I can't pronounce the author's names.

Justyna:   6:05
Just title.

Paul:   6:06
I'll do the title. You do the author's names. So So what we're reading for this spot guest is this is lean, resolving the efficiency paradox

Justyna:   6:16
by Nicolas Multi and Pearl. All strong

Paul:   6:20
and it was great. So elevator pitch. How would I pitch this book? I think this is the best and most readable explanation of the concept of lean that I have ever read. And, you know, since we sell conven training and consultant, I'm often faced with people who want to learn Khon Bond so that they can be lean. And as I explained my classes, you know, the last two classes we've done this week, One of the things that that came up that people wanted to learn is how do you do combine wrong? What should we like? Look out for, what should we avoid? And I make sure that I include a lot of examples of failed combine implementations that I've seen and certainly the biggest one. I think the biggest, biggest, biggest, most common failure of any organization to implement combine is they implemented at the team level without agreement to pursue evolutionary change, and the second biggest one is without encouraging acts of leadership at all levels. So they're really just implementing the tool. And for that reason, because of how common it is in our industry to see this cargo cult like adoption of tools, I would recommend this book to my clients. That's who I'd pitch it to. I'd pitch it to everyone that I did training, consulting or coaching for before, if I could before I taught them anything about combine because this is my pitch. If you're thinking of trying out a lean tool like conven practices, read this book first to make sure that that's really what you want. Because all by itself, just making your team's faster is not a business strategy. That's my pitch about your

Justyna:   8:12
people. Impressive. I thought that you will say something us by the beginning off your elevator pitch. When you said about the misconception, I thought that you will refer thio the state. When we are come back, we reach the goal. We have boards we have, you know, continues, replenish, man with we believe me, it's we have everything where Campbell, we're not doing anything more. I thought that you will say about that that is a misconception, but okay, actually, I changed my elevator pit this morning when I looked in the last chapter off the book, which was about designing your lean outfit and outers put there a beautiful metaphor when it comes for your wardrobe and your clothes system. And for me, there are so many definitions and methodologies and summon and different understanding offline. So if you feel that you are kind of lost with those definitions and people that are saying that their organization is lean or different sorts of understanding and you feel like open your world when there's so many to summon idea so many definitions and you have no idea which is true, which is not you can read this book to sort it out. So whenever you will look for the particle art, it's a casual dress. You can just look into the book and read about the floor efficiency. If it's something that you need right now, if you feel like you are overwhelmed, if you're already a practitioner that is overwhelmed with everything that is happening all around you, and you would like to just clarify off what you know where to look for more. Please write this book or if you are a new person and you already are overwhelmed with all of those people who say you are wrong, this is not lean or disease. Lynn again. Do yourself a favor. Sort out your guard up of your knowledge by reading this book as well.

Paul:   10:08
Indeed, if you If you don't know what is lean, you can't do much better than a book entitled

Justyna:   10:17
It's No The Rocket Size. Yeah, I had a

Paul:   10:21
student just like that in my class on Monday when we were gathering all of the expectations, which is is the way we start I like to start my classes is to have people think about and write down what they hope to get out of the class or what they hope to get out of the workshop. And then we talk about it. We put them in the wall, and that way I can. I can try to adapt my plans in order to better suit their needs and expectations. There was one person in the workshop who just said, I've heard all of these buzzwords, all of these various lean buzzwords, and I'm really hoping that at the end of this workshop, I have some kind of a context for understanding what they are and how they all relate to each other. And I recommended him this book

Justyna:   11:03
because there is so much discussion about definitions, as many outdoors, as many definitions as many understanding. And I'm always kind off annoyed when people are saying, but this is not what it stands for. Like, you know, they look at the definition without understanding of it. And then they sometimes tried to make you feel like you don't understand because you don't know that I finish with a huge fund off this approach for

Paul:   11:29
yes, I can imagine.

Justyna:   11:31
Yes, sir. Paul, what was your first take away? What did you learn?

Paul:   11:35
Well, you know, I'm going to, uh I think when you skip ahead a little bit just because of what you had to say, Not my first takeaway. But my second or third takeaway was I really like this idea that one of the main reasons that people have these misunderstandings about lean is that lean convey described from different levels of a distraction. So, at at its highest level of abstraction, Lien is is a set of principles, but it's not a set of principles. That is, it's not even a set of principles that is specific to lean. There, there, there, Arlene principles that apply in some contexts and other lean principles that apply in other contexts so you can try to describe Lean from the level of principles. But that doesn't really tell anybody what to do or you can describe. Lean from the level of methods you could say. Well, these are the kind of methodologies that lean organizations use. But somebody who's trying to apply those methodologies without the principles would end up in the same kind of trap. Is so many of the convent organizations that I've seen in which there they have all of the pieces in place, but they're not pursuing continuous improvement or you could describe it from the lowest level of abstraction, which they refer to is like individual pieces of fruit. The metaphor that they use is at the highest level obstruction. You have fruit at next level obstruction. You have apples and pears. At the next level of abstraction, you have green apples, and so if gets so confusing because some people say lien is respect for people, another saintliness flow efficiency and others say Lien is visual boards, and Q's and others say that Lena is Khan. Bon and Lean is a Toyota production system, and the truth of the matter is lean isn't any of those. But all of those things can be lean. Could be part of lean. And when when you're discussing lean with somebody who's talking about it from a different level of abstraction, it sounds like two people speaking to completely different languages. So I thought that was a very useful explanation for why it's perfectly normal to be confused about this thing called Lean. So that was That was the first take away that I'd like to share. How about yours?

Justyna:   13:57
Oh, I have another. But I will start with the efficiency, paradox, inefficiency products. That means that we are wasting resources at all levels, starting from the individual, going through the organizational and perhaps even the social levels and the court to solve this paradox is actually flow efficiency that so often we are focused on resource efficiency that we try toe push people to work harder and more, and we don't see the whole system, and I had a horrible pink punk Emeric chain conversation with the Tech support recently for our accounting software. So for the two weeks, I was having the problem with generating one of the report, and I was sending e mails and I was describing the problem. And then I was getting the mail bag and then I asked, Would you please call me? And this person was like these regarding the message it was, Please call me who's just replying within two or three days. So then I called the customer service and the customer self. We started like we are not solving tech problems for the tech problems. You have to send the email to the attack. So then I said, a girl, I could you please calling because I want to, like, get to the process to make sure that I'm doing everything okay because it's still not generating as it's supposed to go. And yesterday I got the email from this person who told me that they're not allowed to make a phone calls, and at the end, there was like, you know, would you like to write the service like, you know, Evan hasn't and I talk to myself that the system that this person is in the flow efficiency is a disaster because it's create so many secondary needs. This problem could be solved by just a phone call that will take five minutes, not three weeks conversation, which led me to like the frustration and and, you know, all sorts of problem. And I engaged this tech person like and customer service and also our accountant were like involved because it was something that was unexpected fromthe software toe happen. And I didn't want to write the service because I thought to myself, If I put negative, you know, they got a response. This person who was helping me will be judged for the system that it's put that he or she goes. He he was put in tow. So I had, like, a whole reflection yesterday about how the low flow efficiency created those secondary needs, and it got me into the first chapter of the book. When the outers describe Alison and Sarah case, when both of them have the same needs, they want to get diagnosed on the breast cancer, and in Isil case, it took art actually 42 days. Any Sarah case it took actually two hours. So bye. Comparing those two health system's health care system and comparing work, what were they focused on? We can see how focusing on flow efficiency works and how focusing or the resource efficiency works a swell.

Paul:   17:05
So the story of these two women is. It was the story of two different women, both of whom found a lump in their breasts. In one case, I think it was Ellison. So Alison went to her doctor, and she needs to get a referral to a specialist. She got the referral to the specialist and made an appointment in the appointment was for two weeks away. She went to the specialist. She waited for the specialist, said the point with the specialist. Specialist agreed that she needed to see radiologist and so should make a radio a point with the radiologist. And that happened in a few weeks later, and she had to go to the hospital and wait for the radiologist. Radiologist confirmed that there was some something that they need to do. A biopsy on says she had to make an appointment with this specialist, who performs biopsies and then she had to wait for that to happen. And then, after getting the biopsy, she had to wait for the lab results, and then she had to go in to collect the lab results. And all this time, she had no idea what the outcome was. It took 42 days to get a diagnosis from the moment at which she discovered a lump in her breast. And in the other case, and that was Sarah, Sarah went to a specialized clinic that was set up specifically for diagnosing breast cancer. They had all of the specialists in the clinic. She had to wait a few days for an appointment, but when she went in for her appointment three days after discovering a lump in her breast, she went in. She was on time. She saw the first specialist of her specialist called the second Specialist to look forward. The next specials did call the next specialist, and so she went in. She saw one doctor, then she saw a radiologist. She got the report back from the radiologist. So So they did a biopsy. She had to wait in the waiting room for over half an hour to get the results of the biopsy, but she had her diagnosis two hours after she walked into the clinic. And what I really liked about this explanation of flow efficiency is Flo Efficiency is looking at flow from the from the point of view of the flow unit. In this case, Alison and Sarah were the flow flow units. How does this process look like from their point of view? And if you're tryingto to optimize for Flo looking from the point of the few view of the flow unit, the first woman spent a lot of time not getting any value. She would get bursts of value when she was visiting the radiologist when she was when she was visiting the specialists when she was going to collect her results. But in between, she'd have weeks during which she was experiencing no value at all. The opposite type of efficiency resource efficiency is when you look from the point of view of the resource is and in the case of the doctors, in the first woman's case, if you looked at their life, if you look at their day from their point of view, they're very busy. So one of the one of the metaphors that the authors use that I liked a lot is Flo. Efficiency is like putting a camera on the shoulder of, in this case, the woman who is the flow unit and creating a film of the entire experience and end. And in one case it would be a two hour long film. In another case, it would be a 42 day long film. Flow Efficiency is editing that film down just for all of the action moments, creating a 20 minute action film out of that 42 days worth of video sequence.

Justyna:   20:28
I'm not sure if you've seen but actually necklace. He gave a fabulous FedEx stock about improving the process for Children to get diagnose with being autistic and how they actually improve the whole process by just reducing all the waiting stages and being focused on the flow efficient.

Paul:   20:47
There you mentioned something else that we haven't defined yet, and that is thes secondary needs. So I think we should define that. So in the second woman's case, in Sarah's case, she went in, she sat down, and she has had some short waiting times in the clinic but she was always told. Have a seat. Get yourself a glass of water. This will be about half an hour and 1/2 an hour later. The next specialist would come and say, I can see you now And she was just moved through the process. The first woman who had to make appointments. No, A patient doesn't make up an appointment by themselves. They make an appointment by making a phone call, and some human being has to have the job of answering the phone and booking the appointment. Some human being has to have a job of calling to confirm the appointment. If there's any change of plans, some human being has a job of calling to say that we have to re re book your your appointment because there's been a change in the schedule. The way I described it in the workshop is if I say Oh, I need a pen and somebody sticks one in my hand. I have a need for a pen and it's instantly satisfied. But if I need a pen and I have to order one on the Internet than all of the sudden, I need a pen right now. and so I want to know when this pen is going to arrive. I ordered it to be shipped by an express service because I need a pen quickly. And so I need an estimate. In the first case, I never needed investment. In the second case, I need an estimate, and then the next day I'm starting to worry because I haven't gotten a confirmation. So now I have to contact somebody and ask for a tracking number. Another need. When you don't get immediate satisfaction of your primary needs, it creates secondary needs. And Second, Eric needs creates demands on Resource Is. And so often people think that because thes these resource is often they're people, they can also be machines or software. But because these resources are busy, satisfying secondary needs, that there's some how important and effective. You know, we've got these people who need to make appointments, and this woman is very busy making appointments, and so obviously she's She's satisfying a need, but if somehow that need could simply be eliminated by offering faster, more efficient service. This is the paradox, which is that if you focus enough on floor efficiency, you get better resource

Justyna:   23:00
efficiency or just at least make your tech support capable of doing the phone calls. Indeed, but speaking about needs, there was one part of the book that I really loved that put smile on my face. And for the record, I love the whole book. But one of them was like a special for me, and it was about indirect needs and let people know I hate cues as probably most of the people you gave me some tips on how to handle that. But when I heard you know and I read the part about how Walt Disney is handling cues when you're inside the part and you are queuing to get to the roller coaster, you might be a annoyed that it takes so long. Or B you may just under other things that are just happening all around you like, for example, all of those colorful people, characters from the cartoons that are coming around and are taking pictures with you. All of these things that are actually happening make you to not be annoyed by the fact that you are still waiting. This makes us feel that we are already benefiting out of the service that we're going to have. So the way how we perceive what is happening is often more important that what is actually happening. So when I think about our conference in my and about this, that they're always tranq thio reduce cues for, ah, cloak room for foot, maybe when it's so hard to do it because of the number of the people that say 500 people. We can try to make kids more fun in, you know, just to deliver people some kind of a different value so they won't put their attention on the time that they are actually waiting. They will feel that they're benefiting out of it, just like, Well, this day is not

Paul:   24:48
what you did when you invited a cellist to play while people were queueing for registration.

Justyna:   24:52
Yes, I've done it without even, like thinking about it. I've done because that was like opportunity. You told me that it would be nice to have some music and of course I had a friend. I have a lot of friends for a lot of sorts of things, so I just invite her. But now I just think that this is really serving that can help us to improve the service that we're delivering, and this is something that can help our attendees and customers. You have a better experience. So 10 King close. So let's

Paul:   25:21
see, I I have several more takeaways.

Justyna:   25:24
That's good. It was the best one.

Paul:   25:26
So for my next take away, I'm going to skip towards the end of the book. I don't want to give away everything in the book, but there's there's there's a few great things in here, and that is this. This idea of the efficiency matrix so later

Justyna:   25:40

Paul:   25:40
the book, after Lena's fully explained the author's present what they call an efficiency matrix. And it is a four by four matrix in which flow efficiency is on one axis and resource is efficiency is on the other axis, and they define these four quadrants. So you get four quadrants and the quadrant at which both resource efficiency is low and flow Efficiency is low, which means that people aren't working very much and stuff isn't getting done. They called wasteland, and, of course, nobody wants to be there because there's every kind of waste, but I like the others thes air. Interesting so when you have very high resource efficiency but low flow efficiency, so everyone's busy. For example, all of the doctors are busy all day, but the patients are spending a lot of time waiting in between visits. They call this efficient islands, and I think we see that so much, just talking again. As as a convent trainer. I am so sick of Team Conven. The idea that I think it's one of the most common mistakes that companies make is that they want to be lean, and so they teach their teams a lean practice and they end up with these teams that are individually extremely efficient. But because they depend on other teams to get things done, the actual projects take forever because each making each team efficient does not make the organization efficient. You can have great flow optimization inside of a team, but if you don't have it end to end in your process, then you've got efficient islands. I thought that was a great metaphor. The other situation when you've got really high, if high flow efficiency, but really low resource efficiency and this might be, for example, at the clinic where they have all of these specialists that are all cued up and waiting, so that when when a woman needs to see a specialist, the specialist is there waiting. But as long as we have plenty, actually, they've got a really good example of it, which is the luxury hotel in a luxury hotel, Like a really high end, a hotel. A guest expects any need. They have to be satisfied quickly. And the only way you can do that is to have lots of extra staff on hand. You could never have everyone delivering food at the same time. You just in case you get a call from from you know that the penthouse suite asking for food, there must be somebody ready to run it straight up. Whatever the need is, there has to be somebody ready to do it. So you've got just this this army of people who are mostly not busy because if people are busy, then you can't satisfy thes high end expensive guests needs at an instance notice. So that's a really good example of having does this whole ocean of people in order to make sure that everything flows very, very, very smoothly and so they call that an efficient ocean. But this perfect state, where they call the perfect state is where you've got really high flow efficiency without paying for a lot of resource is, or people who are not actively engaged in adding value. And so that's That's the kind of ideal state. And there's there's some conflict. The main conflict that keeps you from from achieving this this perfect state of high flow efficiency and high resource efficiency is variation on so on. This matrix variation kind of presses in presses down towards the wasteland. And one way of thinking about business strategy is deciding a what you're going to do about that variation and be with that variation pressing down, keeping you from achieving the perfect state where on that line between resource efficiency and flow efficiency do you want to be? You're focusing more on a high end product with high margins. You might want to focus more on flow efficiency so you might be the flow efficiency end of that that horizon, that efficiency horizon that's pressing back because of the variation in your system. And if you're offering, for example, a a low cost service and In order to provide low costs, you need to have high resource efficiency. You might actually focus on being at the other end of that limiting horizon and that his business strategy and lean is a strategy for moving to to that horizon, getting as efficient as you can be and moving along the horizon to get as efficient as you can be in the way that you want to be efficient. And that, I think, is a fabulous definition of lean Lean is the process of moving closer and closer to your ideal strategic goal.

Justyna:   30:29
Yes, indeed. That was That was really great chapter And the name Wasteland. Yes, I've already started using that in a situation. But if you jump to the end of the book, I will also come to the end of the book. And actually, I love the question with Arlene. How lean are you? And the story about European engineering company that invited? Oh, how about some? Do I pronounce it correctly? You know how to pronounce?

Paul:   30:58
I do know. Okay, that was one of my takeaways. And the way I was planning on saying it was not using the name, it'll cause I don't trust. They invited one of the world's greatest specialists in the Toyota production system to come and evaluate how lean they were as an organization.

Justyna:   31:18
Yes, and they decided to show him the whole company during the whole tour they were asking him Are William And each time they asked him the question he does said Interesting. Yeah, and they were like getting a little bit more anxious and actions because they were proud off what they achieved. I felt during this story that they needed a price that they wanted to see like, Yes, we've done everything that we could. We achieved his desire state We are leaving and tthe e end when they had a meeting and then they were kind of already like anxious and maybe I would say, maybe a little little bit frustrated because they needed the answer. That was the reason why they brought him into the company, which could

Paul:   31:59
have been cheap.

Justyna:   32:00
Yes, hey, actually said something that I think will stand in my head for the rest of my life. It was It is impossible for me to say I was not here yesterday, but I think it's essence offline and Also, I think it illustrates in a very, very clear way that for work that for many companies, Lynnie is like a desire state. And he's like misunderstanding. They think, like, Okay, if we are already lean, there's nothing as that we're going to do. We are all in the convent organization. There's nothing else that we're going to do. So they just put to the trash. Can the whole idea off change small improvements and experiments because we're coming? There's nothing more that we can do This kind of the misconception. Actually, it's a contradiction off what it's supposed to be,

Paul:   32:54
You know, the way I I explained it to myself. If you're on a lean journey, the moment at which you believe that your lean is the moment at which you cease to be lean.

Justyna:   33:08
Okay, that's a good Yeah.

Paul:   33:10
Once you think you've done it, you've stopped trying. And so you are no longer lean,

Justyna:   33:15
huh? Okay. Uh, but there was something

Paul:   33:20
I wanted to share about that, too, because we think about lean as as a process of continuous improvement. And I think a lot of people misunderstand continuous improvement because we teach people in a teaching the convent meant that we teach people to be committed to evolutionary change and to change using experiments and using the scientific method and using models and such. And so it gives the impression that being lean means constantly experimenting with better ways to do things. And there was something that I took away from this that I thought was was a really very different way of thinking about that. And that's that during that this story. There's a lot of stories about Toyota. I'm not gonna tell all the Toyota stories. Many people have told the Toyota story, and I think they do a good job of telling Toyota story in this book. But I'm not going rehash the whole thing. But one part of it that stood out in this particular book was a way that Toyota uses visualization to see when anything begins to deviate from the norm. So they know they have a good, stable process that's delighting customers, and so and I'll actually quote exactly how it was written. The book. Through visualization, we can control the whole organization just by controlling the deviations from the standards. It's the deviations, the trigger improvement of the normal state, and that I thought was interesting. That's not to say that we've got a perfect system and we want to keep it that way. But any time there's an introduction of some unexpected, some new variation for the that shows up for the first time because there's always new sources of variation. They're all always unknowns. And it's where that variation pops up that becomes the opportunity for improvement, not a constant quest to treat tweak everything just for the sake of tweaking it. So that stood out for me. I I thought that was That was very enlightening.

Justyna:   35:25
I agree. Should we dump into quotations or is there anything more from the takeaways that you would like to show without spoiling to mount book?

Paul:   35:38
Can I sit, sir? One.

Justyna:   35:40
Okay, I

Paul:   35:44
don't want to spoil the book by it by calling out all of the fabulous metaphors that exist in this book, because this book is full of metaphors and stories that, you know, I had recommended this book for all of my of my clients, but also if if you're a coach or a consultant or a trainer looking for new metaphors and stories for talking about about Lean, then this book is full of them, and one of the ones that I really liked was the football story. So without giving all of the context, the story is this. What does a football team need to do in order to achieve its goal? What does it need tohave in order to achieve its goal? This was the introduction of the idea of Dakota Dakota, meaning clear visualisation of what's happening in orderto achieve their goal. People might say, Well, they need to have have great footwork. They need to have great teamwork. They need to have a good coach. They need to have a good plan. But the answer that thespian her was looking for was they need to be able to know what's going on if they can't see the ball. If they can't see the goal, if they can't see the other team, if they can't see the field, then they cannot achieve their goal. And so he goes on to describe most organizations in which they have this local optimization. They have these highly efficient islands. They have thes these teams that are focused on their individual goals. Departments focused on their individual goals. As imagine as though it were a football pitch covered with tents, the opposing team has has all of their tens. Our team has all of our tents. There are lots of balls on the field, and the tents are full of players. There's players running around outside the tents. There's players inside the tents who can't see what's happening outside, and the players inside the tent feel a great satisfaction every time they managed to kick a ball out of the tent. But the goal is still the same. And I thought that metaphor of ah bunch of people intense playing soccer or playing football was a perfect analogy for the way that we achieve local optimization inside of modern corporations.

Justyna:   37:57
Yes, you are right. The book is so full of great metaphors that are bright and just get to the point for people to understand. Yeah, the essence off many, many aspect. I loved it.

Paul:   38:13
So let's jump to favorite quotations. What were some of your favorite quotations?

Justyna:   38:17
Of course, about, but I will keep it simple, so values define how an organization should be half presupposed. Define how organizations should think method to define what an organization should go towards the fine, what organizations should have. And I loved that for the various reasons that it shows that it's not only about values, it's only about finding people who think that Simon, who charities some values and want to achieve similar dreams and goals it's not only about the principles is not only about the method, it's about all of those components. Serves different needs, different reasons. And we should keep them all in our mind.

Paul:   39:02
Indeed, and they should all be in alignment. Exactly. So one of my favorite quotations follows very naturally off of yours. And that

Justyna:   39:10

Paul:   39:10
that so often because I see so often companies trying to pursue their goal by focusing specifically on how they're going to do it, not on the goal itself. So they're not looking at the higher abstraction levels. They're not starting with the values and principles they're starting with tools. Let's do lean or let's do less. Let's let's do safe. Let's do scrum. Let's do Con bon, and that will make us better. Somehow we're better typically just means faster, maybe cheaper, without actually making sure that that's aligned with the whole organization's principles and values, and the quotation is this. The focus on the goal creates flexibility. Where's the focus on the means may create limitations. So if you have a goal and you think about the principles and values that are going to help you to achieve that goal, you can extrapolate and discover from that any of a wide variety of tools that might help you to get there. But if you start with a tool and the tool isn't properly aligned with your goals, you may find that you can't achieve your goals because of the tool that you chose. You're limiting yourself unnecessarily.

Justyna:   40:21
Yeah, yeah, I have one more flow. Efficiency focuses on the amount of time it takes from identifying a neat to satisfying that neat. I think that that was really great and simple definition of floor efficiency

Paul:   40:41
isn't yes. Indeed, that's a nice, clear and concise definition of fluid flow efficiency.

Justyna:   40:47
So just for the balance, I can tell you I can't allow you to have one more

Paul:   40:52
why I've got another about the flow efficiency as well.

Justyna:   40:54
Okay, there's

Paul:   40:55
the flow. Efficiency, obviously, is a Nim Porton concept. In this book, it comes up quite a lot. So mine is Flo. Efficiency is not about increasing the speed of value, adding activities. It is about maximizing the density of the value transfer and eliminating non value adding activities. It's not about speeding up what you're doing right. It's about eliminating all of the stuff you're doing wrong.

Justyna:   41:26
Oh, yes, 20 twenties coming changes will be ever. Okay,

Paul:   41:33
Do you have another one you wanna share? Because I do.

Justyna:   41:38
No, I have, like a least of them, But I'm going toe popular item on our social. It'll to give away all of them.

Paul:   41:45
Okay, I've got one more that I want to share just because I think it's it's worth thinking about, and I like the way it's worded. Toyota's strategy involves having free capacity on hand in order to deal with unexpected events. What I like about that is it defines having this capacity as a key component of its strategy. So idle workers by strategic design. We're designing idleness, designing idle workers into the system deliberately, and I like to call attention to that because it's one of the one of the other things that that is very common. If I had a list, like the most common reasons for failure of ah, combine system. To achieve the goals for which was put in the place at the top would be a lack of commitment to improvement. But the next would be a lack of commitment to understanding and optimizing for Flo efficiency. Because people, especially people, that the team level are so focused on resource efficiency. Employees and companies are so terrified of being seen to be idle, and so many managers are uncomfortable seeing workers being idle that it's incredibly difficult to do. And I always try to draw attention to this by explaining it this way, which is that any time I'm in a daily stand up with a team and every single team member in the standup is busy doing something, that is a guarantee. No question, this team is not efficient if anything comes up, if anyone needs help, there's no one to help them. If anything turns out to be harder than they thought it would be, there's no one to help it. It is a thing that is discovered. There's there's no way to incorporate it into the process. It's good just going to have to queue up in front. If if somebody just needs to bounce ideas off of somebody, everyone's too busy to bounce ideas and help them get them. Get past their block. So you might. You end up with with developers who just gets stuck, and they end up spending an entire afternoon on stack overflow when being able to turn to their neighbor and pair for half an hour would have solved the problem. But of course, they can't turn to their neighbor and pair for half an hour because their neighbors busy. Everybody's busy. So when people ask me how long it takes to implement, combine at the team level, I usually tell them it takes about two years because you can put all the all the mechanics in place very quickly. You can come in. You can plan out the plot out the system.

Justyna:   44:34
You can

Paul:   44:35
go through a day long static exercise, and at the end they've got a convent system designed. But if you come back in six months, I bet you anything you're going to find people using the exact same system designed that they designed six months ago, and they're still going be optimizing for resource efficiency because people are terrified to be idle. It takes months and months and months of coaching before, before a coach starts hearing those magic words. So what are you working on today? I'm not. I'm not working on anything right now because I can see that Anna has put a great deal of effort into this key component, and she's going to be finishing any time in the next hour or two, and it's going to be need me to work on it next on. I don't want it sitting in a queue, so I'm just gonna be over here reading Blawg posts and end and trying to work on upping my skills. And most importantly, most importantly, the best thing I could possibly do for this team and for this company is to be ready when Anna finishes that piece of work. So that were keeps flowing smoothly. And I've never worked with a team in which that started happening consistently and comfortably in less than six months, and people don't get really good at it until they've been doing it for a year or more. So long exposition. But But this is something I feel really strongly about. You've got to build a certain amount of slack of the system before you can focus on flow efficiency.

Justyna:   46:04
And I think that actually this book gives a lot off good examples on how to explain that floor efficiency in order to even make your point stronger.

Paul:   46:14
But, you know, David Anderson has a really good point that you cannot use logic to argue against an emotional argument. If a person is coming from a from a place of fear, no amount of logic will help. That's why you need. That's why I say it takes a really, really long period of gentle coaching to get people to this place because you have to address the fear before you can even start talking to there. They're they're human brain. You've got to get past the lizard, right first.

Justyna:   46:45
Yes, definitely. So that was the book that I suggest it for this month. Do you have anything that you would like toe I read in the next month?

Paul:   46:54
Yes. You know, one of the things I like about this podcast is, um, I like the opportunity to introduce people to brand new books as they come out and t new authors, and we've done a mix of these. We've we've reviewed some books that have just come out, and we've reviewed other books entered that old classics that people should probably revisit. And I noticed that Ryan Ripley, I would even say, has just published a book is just publishing a book. It's coming out very soon. It's being published by pragmatic programmers, which is a fabulous publishing house and the titles Very intriguing. So I trust the publishers. I trust the author and the title intrigues me, and it is fixing your scrum, Practical Solutions to Come and scrum problems. And it's by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller. And so, I think, would be a lot of fun to read something something fresh and new.

Justyna:   47:50
And it will be published in January 2020.

Paul:   47:53
I think so.

Justyna:   47:55
Okay, in case it will be in February, and we might still need a book for for the next month. I was going to set just actually thinking in bets. Have you read that? No thinking in beds making smarter decision when you don't have all the facts. It is actually a book by the ex poker player and the's books keeps coming back to me on some Hegel conferences is already the third time that I took a picture after someone's presentation. When they were referring to that book and also click Hauser. He recommended that book, told that it's a great book to read and that we should review it in the future. So maybe if it's coming to us and your book won't be published by the time that we need it, we can just change.

Paul:   48:44
Okay? I love your suggestion as well. So So will read Ryan Ripley's book If We Can Get Our Hands on It in the next few weeks. And if not, you're suggesting sounds fabulous. Otherwise it can be our mark treed. Yes. Okay, Sounds terrific. So this is the last agile ball club of 2019.

Justyna:   49:07
And our listeners, they will hear that from the first January 2020.

Paul:   49:13
I doubt it. It'll be out there, but I suspect they'll have other things on their mind.

Justyna:   49:20
Okay. Those those of

Paul:   49:22
you who are listening to this on the day that it comes out, I hope you're feeling well. Welcome to 2020. I hope you had a great night last night and stay tuned for many, many more fabulous, agile book club episodes to come. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for your support. We love our listeners. And again, if there's any books that you want us to review, let us know. We'll certainly consider them if you've got any. Oh, here's the thing, this podcast, because we're both going to be on holiday until into January. This podcast will come out before we have a chance to interview the author of the book. So here's your opportunity to get your own questions asked. So if you're listening to this podcast during the first week of January, send an email to us. Our E mail addresses will be in the show notes. If you have any questions that you'd like us to include in our interview with the authors, and if we use them, we'll mention your name and thank you for the contribution and will ask your questions to the authors of This is lead in the next podcast.

Justyna:   50:26
So thank you very much and Happy New Year.

Paul:   50:28
Happy New Year

Intro and Banter
Elevator Pitches
Take Aways
Favorite Quotations
Next Read