vii
Contents
Introduction ................................................................. xi
Acknowledgments ..................................................... xvii
  1  What’s Your Job? ......................................................1
Why Is It So Tough to Create Value? .................................. 5
What the Heck Is Your Work, Anyway? ............................. 7
Going to the Gemba ........................................................... 9
What’s It All about? ............................................................12
Next Steps ..........................................................................12
Notes ...................................................................................13
  2  Spotting Value, Spotting Waste..............................15
Allisons Story .....................................................................15
Introducing 5S ....................................................................18
What Is Information 5S? .....................................................20
A Lesson from the Chefs ....................................................24
Applying 5S to Information ...............................................26
The $14 Million Check ...................................................... 28
The Desktop .......................................................................30
The Absurdity of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” ..................33
Frequency-Based Organization .........................................35
John Woodens Shoelaces ..........................................35
Working Files ..............................................................37
Reference Files ............................................................38
Archive Files ...............................................................39
viii ◾  Contents
But First … .........................................................................40
Translating the Concept to Electronics ..............................40
E-mail: The Problem Child ................................................43
Back to Allison .................................................................. 44
Systemic Information 5S ....................................................45
Remember, It’s a Means to an End ................................... 46
Next Steps ......................................................................... 46
Notes ...................................................................................47
  3  Flow .......................................................................49
Flow ....................................................................................50
Daily Work Processes ........................................................54
Processing Your Work: The 4Ds ................................54
The $327 Million E-mail .....................................58
Worst First ...................................................................59
One Thing at a Time—Please ....................................62
Serial Tasking ......................................................65
Lowering the Water Level ..........................................67
The First Step, but Not the Last .........................70
Routine Work: Your Job Requires More than Just
Creative Genius (Unfortunately) ........................................70
Find the Predictability ................................................73
Excessive Choices = Paralysis ....................................73
Transforming the Creative into the Transactional .............75
Both Transactional and Creative .............................. 77
Applicable to Almost Any Work ................................78
Next Steps ..........................................................................78
Notes .................................................................................. 80
  4  Visual Management ................................................83
Introduction ........................................................................83
What Is Visual Management? ............................................ 84
The Irony of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” .........................87
Why All Those To-Do Lists Don’t Work .......................... 90
Living in the Calendar .......................................................91
The Calendar as Kanban ...................................................92
Contents ◾  ix
The Calendar and the Task Pad ........................................94
Caution: Don’t Treat Your Calendar Like Your Gas
Tank ................................................................................97
The Old Movies Had It Right .............................................97
Sometimes a Little Inventory Is Okay .............................. 99
Of Course, Life Never Goes According to Plan ..............101
Assessing Personal Production Capacity .........................103
But, What if Youre Allergic to Calendars? ......................103
The Simpler Method: The Personal Kanban ...................105
Four Easy Steps ................................................................106
The Incredibly Flexible Kanban ......................................107
Other Types of Visual Management ................................108
Reflexive versus Cognitive Systems .................................110
Reducing Ambiguity .........................................................111
Next Steps ........................................................................112
Notes .................................................................................112
  5  From Bad to Good, and From Good to Great ...... 115
Like an Air Traffic Controller ........................................... 115
The Twin Pillars of Kaizen .............................................. 117
Standardized Work ...........................................................120
Creative Types Need Standard Work, Too ......................122
Creating Mental Capacity for Improvement ....................124
Now, It’s Your Turn: Step 1 ..............................................128
What Is Your Problem? Your Real Problem? ...................128
Five Whys .........................................................................130
Your Turn: Step 2 .............................................................132
Implementing Improvement: A3 Thinking .....................133
Continuous Improvement ................................................141
Notes .................................................................................142
Conclusion ..................................................................143
Endnotes ........................................................................... 145

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