- Paperback: 177 pages
- Publisher: Productivity Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439859930
- ISBN-13: 978-1439859933
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance 1st Edition
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Dan Markovitz brings a thoughtful and supremely practical perspective to the fundamental scarcity faced by us all: time. His approach blends conceptual frameworks and concrete specifics―a powerful and useful combination―to reduce the noise and clutter in our lives and work. Markovitz can help us all to be more effective!
―Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice
No matter what your role is in your company, or whether you're an independent consultant or even unemployed, you will love Dan Markovitz's new book, A Factory of One. This gem will improve even the most efficient person's work life in powerful ways. The introduction alone got me motivated to adopt those practices that he writes and aren't yet part of my standard work. ... It's short, sweet, and to the point. You're never left wanting more, but you never wish the author would get on with it. ... relates powerful Lean manufacturing tools such as visual management, flow, pull, 5S, and kaizen to daily work, revealing how they improve efficiency, reduce waste, and link the individual worker ever more closely to customer value. This practice helps business professionals develop greater self-awareness, more disciplined problem-solving skills, and a heightened ability to self-correct errors.Read Dan's book--and then apply the tips he gives.
―Karen Martin, Principal, Karen Martin & Associates; and keynote speaker, ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference 2012
About the Author
Daniel Markovitz is president of TimeBack Management (www.timebackmanagement.com), a consulting firm that radically improves individual and team performance by identifying and eliminating root cause impediments to productivity. He is a faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute and teaches at the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program. He also leads a problem solving workshop at the Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business.
Dan lived in Japan for four years and is fluent in Japanese. He’s also an avid distance runner, an enthusiastic (but somewhat tentative) cyclist, and a determined (if slow) swimmer. He holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @timeback.
Top customer reviews
Although I plan to do a few things slightly differently overall this is best single source of information I've come across.
Supplemental thoughts: Was anxious to get initial positive review out quickly. After reviewing the book and actually purchasing another copy for a co-worker - this book is great!!
I'm in an unusual position in that I'm responsible for many clinical research databases in a very research-prolific group in a medical school. I architect & design all, and program & support most. I'm responsible for the data integrity of each and have a lot of follow-up with researchers, statisticians and data entry people. Additionally I'm creating infrastructure policies and procedures for our entire data management operation.
For my specific needs there are far too many tasks and moving pieces to use sticky notes - only do that for collaborative efforts at a high level. For the bulk of my work I use 3x5 index cards in a small case I carry with me (and larger cases on my desk once done). Have divider tabs for the major sections - I've customized the categories and have tweaked them a bit. Since I'm in a lot of meetings, it's easy as I'm given a new task just to write it on a blank card with current date & drop it in Backlog. I endeavor to review backlog at least every other day (sometimes while waiting for a meeting to start). I might have 10+ items between Ready & Today (my own creation of must-do's today), but only move a few to Doing until an emergency comes up. When the task is complete, I'll drop in (waiting for) Retrospective and ultimately to Archive. Sometimes a task is canceled and the card is moved to the Canceled section. In the roughly one month I've been in the office & doing this I've moved over 100 to Retrospective or Archive and about a dozen to Canceled. One of the great benefits of this system is I can review what I've done, when it was assigned and when it was completed. As appropriate I'll put brief notes on the cards.
_A Factory of One_ fills in many of those details. Furthermore, unlike many other personal management books, it passes the "inside out" test. (For Covey fans, most of Markovitz's advice falls into the category of Habit 3, with bits of Habits 1 and 2 for good measure.)
Big disclaimer before I get into the meat of this review: My personal bias is that half of what Markovitz says, I already generally knew that I had to do, but didn't know how. If you have a different mindset, your mileage may vary.
Markovitz first asks you to draw, essentially, a graphical job description. This is the key, because you can't tell what waste is unless you know what value is. His more practical advice rests on three pillars: eliminating clutter and distraction, structuring your work, and continuous improvement. I'll discuss the first two first, since they go together, and the third one later.
Cleanliness, quiet and order help you focus on each task as you do it, without having to constantly look up at the "big picture", which can be daunting, or think about other tasks. ("Living in the now", anyone?) Although Markovitz takes many examples from factories, his tools are very helpful for knowledge workers whose work resists standardization. As he says, again and again, if your work is hard to streamline, that only makes it more important to do so.
This may seem to lead to rigidity, which would mean death to most of us, but that's where continuous improvement comes in. If your structures don't work, you change them. Always look out for sources of waste, or weaknesses in your workflow, and attack them with vigor. The specific tools in this last chapter are not as strong as the others, but once you've built up a foundation from the rest of the book, it doesn't matter too much how you go about your continuous improvement.