Coke Freestyle VMS

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My family and I went into a California Tortilla the other night to grab a quick dinner. Off to the side I notice a long line of people waiting to fill their soda cups.  It used to be, when you went out for fast food, the people behind the counter would ask you what you wanted and they would hand it to you.  Now, at this location, it appeared it could take as long to get our drinks (in a separate line) as it would to get our food.  Though I appreciate this California Tortilla location wanting to empower the consumer by giving us 100+ choices of our favorite mixture of soda-pop, most people in line appeared paralyzed by the amount of combinations and permutations.  When I went into a different California Tortilla, I noticed an old-school fountain machine.  There was no line and I saw two people filling their soda cups at the same time.  It made me question the value the additional choices offered, especially when all I want is water.

So, I guess my question is, should there be fewer options or a better feedback tool for consumers to respond to?  When doing a little research on this post, I found a poster of a freestyle “menu” at Taco Mac.  I believe the use of this VMS (Visual Management System) could keep the lines short at the California Tortilla location.  But, I don’t know.  Are there shorter (or no) lines at the Atlanta Taco Macs?  To shorten the lines at California Tortilla, I would propose they get the menus and hang a poster near the machine.  I think people would be more apt to decide what they wanted before they stand in front of this machine with 100+ choice presented to them.  I think it would cut down on people browsing the menu, while there is a line behind them.  My goal?  I want the cut down lead time and cycle time as much as possible.  Not sure what those are?  I found a great definition by Corey Ladas.

Lead time clock starts when the request is made and ends at delivery. Cycle time clock starts when work begins on the request and ends when the item is ready for delivery. Cycle time is a more mechanical measure of process capability. Lead time is what the customer sees.

Lead time depends on cycle time, but also depends on your willingness to keep a backlog, the customer’s patience, and the customer’s readiness for delivery.

Another way to think about it is: cycle time measures the completion rate, lead time measures the arrival rate. A producer has limited strategies to influence lead time. One is pricing (managing the arrival rate), another is managing cycle time (completing work faster/slower than the arrival rate).

I know you usually don’t think of Agile or Lean when talking about fish tacos, burritos and soda-pop, but I had to get this off my chest.

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Mieruka & Real World Examples

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I just submitted my paper to be a speaker  at the PMI Global Congress on the topic of Visual Management Systems (VMS).  Some may know VMS as VCS (Visual Control Systems).   According to Wikipedia, Visual control is a technique employed in many places where information is communicated by using visual signals instead of texts or other written instructions. The design is deliberate in allowing quick recognition of the information being communicated, in order to increase efficiency and clarity. In the Toyota Way, it is also known as mieruka (making visible).  I love the wild and endless variety of real world mieruka!

Today I was driving through a school zone when something caught my attention.  It wasn’t a police officer yelling at cars to slow down.  It wasn’t a sign that said “Slow Childern at Play”.  It was a speed limit sign with a radar speed sign attached to it.  On the top you see the proposed speed limit and on the bottom you see the actual.  It wasn’t snapping pictures of people speeding passed.  To the contrary, all it was doing was bringing attention to actual vehicle speeds.  As I wrestled to get my speed below 25MPH, I was amazed how well it worked.

Everyone around me slowed their vehicles down, with no more coercion than knowing their speed through real-time visualization control.


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Post-It Note T-Shirt Contest


The Idea

It seems like every time I deal with a customer, I have a backpack of painters tape, Sharpies, and Post-It notes.  When I was recently working with Pictofigo on the new Agile Process poster, I had an idea of a new product with original Pictofigo artwork.  I thought, why not have a contest where everyone could benefit from crowd-sourced ideas?

Just answer the simple question:

If you could WEAR a Post-It note, what would it say?

Post-It Note T-Shirt 1

The Post-It note will be on the left pocket and will be roughly 4×4 inches in size.  What would you want to appear on the post-it note?  Make it count! Size is very limited.

Post-It Note T-Shirt 2

The Post-It note will be on the center chest and will be roughly 10×10 inches in size.  What would you want to appear on the post-it note?  I really like this one.  Would you write the Agile Manifesto?  Would you want a team rule like “No cooking fish in the microwave”?  Would you just have a giant light bulb?  You tell us! Tell the world!

Contest Rules

  1. Please list your ideas in the comments section.  You may enter as many times as you wish.
  2. Please add a link to the contest in a post on your favorite social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…)
  3. Two winners will be chosen at the end of the month (March 2012).
  4. Each winner will receive a free t-shirt (their choice of size) with their winning submission.
  5. By submitting your ideas, you give us free license to reproduce it on a Post-It Note T-Shirt.

That’s it!

Good Luck!

If you want to just buy an “Lightbulb” idea T-Shirt, I have them at CafePress.


Categories: Misc Tags: Tags: ,

Agile Process Posters v2.0

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Agile Process Poster

I am happy to announce the collaboration with Pictofigo has resulted with a new Agile Process poster. The new process poster includes product backlogs, sprint backlogs, and user stories. We have these posters in three sizes and they come in both male and female styles.  Want to hang some original artwork in your team area, while helping people understand the standard Agile process?  Check them out!

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Official PMI-ACP Numbers

PMI Certifications January 2012

PMI Certifications January 2012The PMI-ACP pilot has concluded and the Agile Certified Practitioner certification is officially one month old.  The numbers are in!  Per PMI Today, January 2012 concluded with 542 PMI-ACPs.  Not too shabby for its first month.  The PMP is still PMI’s shining star, at 4047 new PMPs.  What surprised me were the numbers of PMI’s other certifications.  Only 11 people got the PMI-SP in January.  It makes me wonder, what is the PMI-SP certification’s value and longevity in the PMI ecosystem?  I ask because the PMI-ACP reached a number in one month that took the other certification a few years.

And so it begins.  Will PMI-ACP be the next PMP?  What do you think?

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