Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How Bush wrecked conservatism |

How Bush wrecked conservatism | "In the age of Bush, even the conservatives' much-vaunted moral clarity does not always bear close inspection. A Pew poll taken in March found that only 18 percent of self-described conservative Republicans believed that torture was never justified. Who was it who said, 'Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good'? It must be one of those damn liberals.*

*Romans 12:17, 21"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense: Scientific American

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense: Scientific American: "Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don't hold up"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Occasionally Connected Systems Architecture: Concurrency

Occasionally Connected Systems Architecture: Concurrency: "The problem of concurrency is a familiar one in the development of multi-user systems. Most of the time, optimistic locking is preferred because it results in better throughput. However, pessimistic locking has its place as well for those cases where only one user should be allowed to work on the data. Both of these solutions break down once users start working offline and try to synchronize their updates with the server later."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

How Toyota and Linux Keep Collaboration Simple - HBS Working Knowledge

How Toyota and Linux Keep Collaboration Simple - HBS Working Knowledge: "The Toyota and Linux communities illustrate time-tested techniques for collaboration under pressure: Share knowledge widely, frequently, and in small increments, and use universally available tools to do it. From Harvard Business Review."

Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei

Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei:

Nine Rules for Fighting Endless Meetings

I've heard that at Toyota the meetings are 60 minutes long, with 50 minutes of actual meeting time and 10 minutes to get to the next meeting. The use of the standardize A3 size one-page format to communicate the progress on PDCA problem solving keeps meetings on time. This is truly impressive, but we won't all get there in one leap.

Here are nine rules for fighting endless meetings:

#1 Start on time. You don't arrive 15 minutes late for a school examination. You don't arrive 15 minutes late for your flight. If you do, you don't fly. You don't arrive 15 minutes late for a job interview. Yet once we pass the test, make the flight and get the job, we think nothing of making others wait for meetings at work. Why?

#2 Have clear objectives. Meetings will be more productive when you start with an agenda that answers the questions: Why am I at this meeting? Who requires that I be here? When does this meeting end? How will we know if the meeting is successful?

#3 Be prepared. Review the agenda or other background information ahead of time. Know where the meeting will be held and how long it takes to get to and from that meeting place so you can be on time.

#4 Be engaged. This starts with turning off your cell phones or blackberries. Ideally, put them all on the table where they are visible to all. Make reaching to answer them is a visible offense. Pay $1 towards charity if you reach for your phone, unless it's an emergency. As long as meetings are kept short, you can get back to people who call you in a reasonable amount of time. Stand up rather than sit, it will keep you more aware.

#5 Communicate visually. Humans process more than 80% of information through their sense of sight. Psychologists say most of communication happens through body language, then tone of voice and a smaller portion through the actual content of speech. Give and read visual cues. Use images to tell a story and anchor your communication, rather than talking on and on about something without structure.

#6 Solve problems. If everything is going well, why meet? Ideally meetings should help solve problems. If there is a clear objective and a problem to solve, the meeting can end either when the problem is solved or everyone knows what to do to start solving the problem. Problem solving is engaging, and in that is what we are all here to do.

#7 Practice genchi gembutsu. Whenever possible hold the meetings at the location where the particular problem or issue being discussed has occurred. This is more visual, engaging, and improves direct access to the facts. This speeds up problem resolution by taking away opportunities for conjecture and blurring of the actual condition.

#8 End on time. You need to get to the next meeting on time.

#9 Avoid the Three Evils of Meetings as taught by Takeshi Kawabe, former executive of Showa Manufacturing Co. and student of Taiichi Ohno:

1. Meet but don’t discus
2. Discuss but don’t decide
3. Decide but don’t do

These nine rules will develop the behaviors to support more effective meetings.

By Jon Miller - March 15, 2007 5:21 PM