Speaking, Training or Presenting? Don’t forget the most important thing…

EXAM logo

I love getting out and working with clients, giving workshops and otherwise directly interacting with our customers and our product. Today was one of those great days where there are no monotonous meetings. Just an all day series of training sessions and workshops with various groups using ExAM to support inspections, operations and services for DC General Services. The Department of General Services (DGS) has a mission to elevate the quality of life for the District with superior construction, first-rate maintenance and expert real estate management, our job with ExAM is working to help them achieve this mission.

I spent the early part of this week working with our team to get in all of the last bits of configuration in order to support our pilot effort. We tweaked profiles, finished documentation and made last minute changes to meet user requirements. This included making a last round of cosmetic changes. I decided to personally make some changes to simplify the user interface after I had already finished my dry run. After completing everything I polished my slides and went to bed early.

The training and workshop went great, however I did have one small glitch. In my efforts to simplify the user interface I found I had removed the tab that provides inspectors and field services staff with access to their list of assignments. After sending everyone a log-on and issuing a training assignment. I had watched as everyone received the e-mail and went through performing their task. One after another hands went up and chatter broke out. Nobody could find their assignments.

As I walked around the room I realized – I’d slimmed one of the most important parts of our application right off the interface. Fortunately, I was saved by the power of the Salesforce platform and I assigned people the correct tab and we were able to go forth without much impact but despite all my preparations I’d broken one of my cardinal rules. Don’t make changes after you have done your dry run.

The net result was a live opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to make changes in Salesforce, but it could have been bad. By making changes after the dry run I opened myself up to simple, dumb user error. I try to always start over – no matter how boring it is, or how trivial the change. If I make any change. I restart. Dry runs help you catch errors both big and small. Always do a dry run and always do it after you’ve made the very last change. To do otherwise invites problems or as I like to think of them: Opportunities to show your ability to think on your feet.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Put it on your summer reading checklist

I recently finished The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right Paperback by Atul Gawande and I was blown away by the results he shares with regard to the use of checklists as well as his personal experiences in the implementation and use of checklists. As a big believer in the power of repeatable processes and David Allen’s Getting Things Done, checklists are something I’ve always believed in. I just didn’t have the understanding of just how powerful a tool they can be in driving improvements. I also didn’t have a real appreciation for how broadly they are used across various industries.

In the book Mr. Gawande talks about 2 medical studies documenting the implementation of simple checklists around surgical procedures for things like washing hands and having the correct supplies. The results of the use of the checklists drive astounding results including driving statistically significant reductions in infections and required care. The return on this simple investment includes saving many lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in avoided medical treatments. I don’t want to steal thunder from the book but it certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities checklists have beyond making sure I don’t forget my groceries or an item on my daily to do list.

One of the most powerful points Mr. Gawande makes is that even those of use with advanced degrees and long experience in our field can benefit from something simple like a checklist to ensure that we are able to leverage our accumulated knowledge successfully. One of the interesting points he brings up is that as a global community we are at a point in history where we rarely fail because of what we don’t know – we are much more likely to fail because we improperly apply our knowledge or don’t make use of it.

This is a book with something for everyone in every profession – it is an absolute must read. Put it on your summer reading checklist.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Almost every IT organization is looking toward a future where more and more of their infrastructure moves into the cloud. Unfortunately, many of these organizations will stumble on their way to the cloud. The problem is often one of understanding the opportunity and how it maps to your business. Even more fundamentally the problem can be a misunderstanding of how IT should work for your organization. I think one of the biggest changes that is coming to complex organizations is that IT is going to become fundamentally about providing services to the organization. As such it will once again be measured on the outcomes it provides–exactly like every other organizational resource.

This may be a bigger shift than you think because for years IT managers have played the complexity card for so many years that in many organizations the “business” has learned its place. They’ve gone through long deployment cycles, built costly custom applications and lived with the enormous costs of dedicated on premise infrastructure. Every time the business complained they were told they just don’t understand, or that the reason was “complicated.” I believe that some of the slow adoption we see in the cloud is related to the fear some IT managers have in giving up the “complicated” card. The problem for these managers is that the cat is out of the bag. People’s lives are being changed every day by services that live in the cloud and securely interact with people. At some point they are going to stop believing that this same level of capability isn’t possible at work.

If external public cloud solutions are evaluated side by side with in house solutions there is a fear that the in house solutions will come up short and thereby lose the confidence of the business.  This is a real possibility given the maturity of some cloud solutions, the inherent advantage they have in achieving scales of economy and the benefits of having in many cases thousands of clients to have developed best practice in a particular domain area.

That isn’t to say on premise can’t win. Some things may simply be judged as too sensitive to perform outside of the business, have legal requirements that prevent movement to the cloud or simply be so custom to the business that there is no cloud model that is applicable. This is becoming fewer and farther in between. Mature cloud environments like those at Amazon, Google and Salesforce provide incredible robust enabling everything from plug and place applications to highly configurable and customizable infrastructure environments.

 

For IT managers the trick is in transitioning to providing advice on when to use these various models when to provision internally and serving as an honest broker between internal and external services.  I’ve seen a lot of adversarial meetings where internal IT resources advocate against cloud solutions in a way that sounds a lot more like they are supporting their internal product rather than serving as a trusted advisor counseling the business on the choices they have for solutions.

IT organizations that fail to take on this trusted advisor role may find themselves losing the trust of the business followed closely by the business of the business. Don’t put yourself in this predicament.  The forecast for the future is cloudy. Positioning your organization as a trusted advisor capable of understanding the tradeoffs that are a part of organizational success in the cloud.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

What type of cloud (Saas, PaaS, IaaS) is best for your organization?

Using SaaS to solve problems.

Using SaaS to Solve Problems.

Everybody is talking about the cloud right now. Unfortunately they often aren’t making many distinctions. Cloud simply equals cloud. However there is a big difference between just moving dumping your on premise boxes to move into a public cloud offering (IaaS) and buying a true SaaS solution.

Moving your boxes “to the cloud” may help help you cut some infrastructure costs, but it doesn’t necessarily solve a business problem. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for finding infrastructure savings in the cloud. However I think people should differentiate between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and and look at their business application portfolio for cloud opportunities in the following order:

1. Can we do it with a SaaS solution? Software as a service provides capabilities your organizations need “on-demand.” Start here because turnkey often equals the most transformative impact on the organization. Everybody thinks their organization is unique…and it is…however it is probably not so unique that it can’t use a standard solution to solve many of its problems.  A lot of money gets wasted every day because an organization simply couldn’t figure out how to achieve their business goals in a bit closer to a standard fashion. When looking at the possibility of SaaS keep an open mind about your existing business processes and how a SaaS solution might help you focus on your business not your business application.

2. Can we do it with a PaaS solution? Platform as a service typically includes operating system, database, and/or web server.  If nobody has a ready made solution for the capability your organization requires start looking at PaaS options. Getting your OS, database and other core capabilities served up can help simplify your life and lower your maintenance costs. Just be careful that you understand how upgrade processes work, etc because while you may not have to worry as much about maintaining patch levels and other application and OS level headaches, you may have to deal with issues that come with having others worry about them.

3. Can we do it with a IaaS solution? Infrastructure as a service are essentially virtual machines where you install your own OS, database, etc to build out your applications. If you are not ready to give up control, need complete flexibility or are only ready to take baby steps towards the benefits the cloud can provide this is for you. Let somebody else hug your boxes, while still preserving visitation rights. IaaS can help you take the first steps towards reducing costs, without causing any business layer repercussions.

Its about YOUR business

As a SaaS solution provider I’m a bit biased in my discussion above. However, we got into this business because I believe SaaS makes the most business sense for many organizations and for many capabilities. I’ve spent a lot of time working with organizations that are struggling to reduce costs and deliver capability that is useful to their organization. Millions are spent to deliver custom solutions to very common problems. We chose inspections, assessments and data calls for our app because everybody does them, but few do them well. Because of that I’ve spent much of the last two years migrating people out of access databases, excel spreadsheets and custom solutions and into a more standard set of capabilities.

This isn’t just the case with our software there is a movement afoot around SaaS because the value prop is so straightforward. Save money, save headaches, and get more features and functionality. Where it make sense SaaS solutions are an incredible driver of business value. It allows the organization to get out of the IT business and focus on their real business. Things like inspections, assessments and data calls are handled in a pretty standard way from organization to organization. Why would you build a custom application to handle something so straightforward?

We built ExAM4Enterprise.com to help organizations meet those business requirements without having to roll their own web or mobile application or manage onsite infrastructure. You still own your data, you can still bring it into your other capabilities and applications. You lose nothing except headaches and gain the benefit of our persistent focus on advancing the capabilities of the application in order to maintain our market leadership. For most organizations we offer an over 75% reduction in total cost of ownership while delivering increased capabilities.

How is it possible? We built our app on the Salesforce.com platform. They handle over a billion transactions almost everyday. That scale makes our infrastructure costs negligible. Essentially the backend of our app is built to the scale of more than 120,000 customers including most of the world’s largest organizations. At the same time we are able to completely focus on delivering the capabilities our customers need without having to focus on things like infrastructure and platform. In the end it means that we spend all of our time innovating – not implementing the backend. Our customers get a level of response that simply wasn’t possible 10 years or even 5 years ago.

Interesting in learning more? Take a look at the appexchange to see what sort of SaaS applications exist generally and of course if you have inspection, assessment or data call requirements – take a look at our app, or go to ExAM4Enterprise.com.

 

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Telling a story

Using iMovie to Tell a Story

Using iMovie to Tell a Story

One of the things organizations are often tasked with is getting the word out. Company’s get the word out about products, a government agency’s about programs and charitable organization’s reach out to their constituencies. Today that can seem easier than ever with so many tools available. Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools have taken their place in our quiver of capabilities for reaching out. Getting noticed though still requires telling a story.

I did our Spring 2014 ExAM4Government.com and ExAM4Enterprise.com campaigns using iMovie. Please let me know which you like better in the comments below and vote for Mission Attainable (the first one) or Finish Line (Second) in the comments below. The winner will be used in our Spring 2014 campaign.

ExAM & Salesforce1: Mission Attainable

or

ExAM & Salesforce1 – Spring 2014

Ok, I admit it I used a few other tools I’ll talk about down the road (Adobe Premier, Fireworks, SimCap, and IOS Simulator), but I want to focus on iMovie because it is probably the most accessible.

One of the things I like most about iMovie is the trailers. They provide you with a few different pre-made templates that allow you to tell your own story using a very high quality professional template.

iMovie1 Template Choices

iMovie1 Template Choices

The most important word in that last sentence was story. I’ve made lots of clips over the years and I’ve learned that you can overcome having lower end equipment and software, but you can’t skimp on the story. Scripting your words, shots and video is critical to making people care. I love the iMovie templates because they make it so easy to pull together the planning part of story telling with the work of actually creating it.

Unfortunately the templates that come with iMovie are all that you get and there is no ability to build your own in the app. However you can get almost the same value by simply grabbing a large (I use 11×17) sheet of paper and drawing boxes where you label your pictures and video clips along with narrative text. A little work up front will help you tell a much better story.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Making Twitter useful again…

@jmillsapps

@jmillsapps

I popped open my twitter account (@jmillsapps) this morning and realized that for the last few weeks I hadn’t really been on much. I remember back when I first got on Twitter I loved it because so much of what I was interested in came to me without my spending time combing the web. I just followed a few people and I got the benefit of their time spent combing and culling the webs content. Now a few years later I find I’m almost never on or only if I have something I want to tweet. It has essentially become a megaphone instead of a two way communication stream.

So…I went to my account and took a look at it. One of the first things that jumped out at me was that I was following almost a thousand people. How did it happen? Well when I first started tweeting I was amazed that people would want to follow me – so I almost always followed back. It kind of felt rude not to do so. Then I realized some of these folks were just trolling for exactly this behavior so I stopped following everyone back. However, I still followed folks that looked interesting back on a pretty regular basis. Also because I was using my twitter account as a way to identify content I might be interested in I would often follow people whose content came to me via a RT of someone else I followed with the thought that I would be interested in other things they have to say.

Today it all came to a head. Following a thousand conversations just isn’t possible and I’d essentially stopped using Twitter because of it. The fact is I love Twitter’s ability to help me find content I otherwise wouldn’t see. Much like Slashdot.com it combs the internet for me and serves up some brilliant content I otherwise would never see. So I decided it was time to get back to a useful number of people I follow. I chose 250 as a max limit and immediately began trimming. The problem is that manually trimming is terrifyingly boring and painful. So I did a little searching and found manageflitter.com. This tremendously useful website allows you to quickly comb through the accounts you follow and unfollow people quickly based on different categorizations like how talkative the account is, how many people it follows, whether or not they follow you, etc. It also has a handy bulk unfollow box if like me you need to do serious trimming.

My goal is to get down to 250 people I follow and then trim judiciously from there. Unfortunately I hit the 800 person unfollow limit that manageflitter has in place and so I was stopped short of my 250 person goal. I’m hoping this makes Twitter relevant for me again. If your Twitter feed has become unmanageable – try manageflitter.com. It makes unfollowing easy.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Shared Services: A lot like my snowblower

Ok, so this is a little bigger than ours...

Ok, so this is a little bigger than ours…

A few years back a couple of neighbors and I decided to band together and buy a snowblower. After years of pushing snow around on frigid mornings and nearly breaking an ankle the previous winter I was easy to convince. Anything that was going to keep me from pushing a shovel up and down my sidewalks and driveway seemed like a good idea. Plus, because I would only be using it part time it made sense to share the cost of the item with some like minded neighbors. I will admit that I occasionally still take the easy way out on particularly cold and snowy mornings.

When I get the knock on my door from the inevitable group of young men shoveling driveways comes, I am sometimes more than willing to part with a little cash rather rather than trooping out into the snow even with a snowblower. For the most part though our purchase has worked out nicely. I store it and reimburse my neighbors for gas and maintenance. We came to this arrangement once it was discovered that despite being a farmer’s son I actually have no mechanical ability whatsoever.  Since our initial investment a few other neighbors have come to use the snowblower and it has worked nicely for our little section of the street.

While some might thing of this as simply an example of good friends and neighbors working together I like to think of it as our own little neighborhood shared service. We’ve come together to share in the costs of delivering snow removal for our neighborhood. This has included some process improvements over time– for example a few years ago we decided it was important to have a designated coffee getter– someone who knew ahead of time that their only job was to ensure that the brave souls running the snowblower would be adequately caffeinated while fighting the elements. We’ve also developed and standardized on equipment and fuel reserves (ok, I was the guy who was holding an empty gas can during the last snow storm). For the most part our snow removal service has worked out fabulously – I only wish we could figure out where else we could take this approach. The lawns are an obvious example, but what about transportation or gardening? The possibilities might be endless. The problem is I don’t know enough about my neighbors to figure out who I might share these problems with and I’m guessing I might get some funny (funnier) looks if I started going door to door asking them about the inner workings of their households.

Of course organizations face these same challenges and while the idea of shared services has been around forever it seems that in most organizations there are only a few shining examples of success despite ample opportunity. I believe part of this is that there is no systematic approach to finding and taking advantage of these opportunities. For example:

  • One of the real problems organizations often have with implementing and getting the most out of shared services is that they do not have an approach to looking across the organizations capabilities and identifying areas (Payroll, etc) that might be great candidates for share shared services.
  • Organizations often struggle to develop the business case for creating a shared service. How much potential savings are there? What is the complexity of the effort?
  • Prioritization is another critical area where analysis is difficult and information is lacking. How do you rack and stack your opportunities in order to identify the best candidates?

As a consulting services provider we often find ourselves walking organizations through these types of questions and helping them develop internal approaches that enable them to identify these candidate opportunities and capitalize on them. This week there is a great opportunity to learn more about successful approaches in this area from two thought leaders in the space. Bill Cason is the CTO at Troux with more than 40 years of experience in providing business focused technology software and services. I’ve heard Bill speak on a number of topics around the intersection of business and technology and I’m looking forward to his take on Shared Services Planning. For those of you in the public sector he will be joined by Ted Reynolds–Troux’s Vice President Federal Sector. Both of these gentleman understand the challenges facing organizations as they look to implement successful shared serves and whether you use Troux’s software or not I think you’ll find a lot of value in listening to them talk about having the right approach.

If you are interested in attending the details are below:

Date: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Time: 10:30am CT/ 11:30am ET

You can register at the following link:

http://resources.troux.com/fedweb14

I’ll be there – I hope you are too.

 

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Got a presentation? Ask the right questions, bring the right stuff.

Did I bring the right stuff?

Did I bring the right stuff?

As many of you know my day job includes running software company that develops apps on the Salesforce.com platform (ExAM4Enterprise.com). This means I spend lots and lots of time giving presentations and demos. I recently sent out my standard demo prep question list to a prospective customer and got an incredibly kind note back from the person asking if they could share it with their staff. I said “of course” and a blog entry was born.
The trend in recent years has been that more and more presentations and demos are virtual, but I still go onsite fairly regularly. Over time I’ve developed a standard set of questions I ask two days prior to the meeting and a standard list of stuff I bring. Please feel free to use my list and of course let me know what I should add.
What I bring?
  1. 10 one page summaries of the presentation 
  2. Laptop (even if they have their own equipment and room)
  3. Portable Screen (I leave it in the car but I always have it. I once set it up in a restaurant’s back room to do a demo after a very successful lunch meeting)
  4. MiFi + Charger
  5. Notepad
  6. 4 pens
  7. Business cards (20)
  8. 4 AA batteries (mouse)
Note: I make those  one page summaries for three reasons:
  1. Summing it up in one page helps you focus on telling a story instead of speaking in bullet points.
  2. It can help you tailor the presentation to the audience by forcing you to think through the message.
  3. One person will show up late, one  will leave early and one will miss the presentation entirely. Providing your own summary helps ensure the right message makes it to those audiences. 

What I ask?

Hi (meeting coordinator),
I have a few questions I hope you can help me with so I can be fully prepared for (date of meeting).
1. Should I bring a projector or will we be in a room that has dedicated meeting equipment? All I really need for the demo is a computer with a browser and a screen to show it on. If needed I can bring a projector, screen and my laptop, but if you have a meeting room that is already set up I will simply use your equipment.
2. Will I have access to the internet? I will have a portable MiFi device that I can use to support an internet connection and the demo, but it uses a cellular signal and is a little slower than a regular WiFi or LAN connection. If you have connection I can use that is the ideal situation. If I am using your computer, internet and screens this question is irrelevant.
3. Can I have access to the room 15 minutes prior to the demo to set up? Our application is easy to use and only requires an internet connection and a browser, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that being early and testing things ensures that I don’t waste everyone at the meetings time troubleshooting some small issue.
4. How many people will be in attendance? I will bring be bringing some presentation and reading materials and I would like to know how many to bring. I should also ask if there is a sensitivity to my bringing printed copies. I can certainly provide electronic instead and I know some offices are trying to minimize the amount of paper that is used. If the preference is for electronic I will simply send the materials out after the meeting.
5. Are there any security procedures or special instructions I will need in order to enter the building/find the meeting room?
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I’m looking forward to meeting with you all, if you need to reach me for any reason my cell phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Regards,
Joshua Millsapps
Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates (MBA) A Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) TOGAF 9 Certified ITIL Foundation Certified josh.millsapps@mbaoutcome.com www.mbaoutcome.com
As always – I’d love to know what I missing and hop you get some benefit from my lists!

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

What not to miss in February

slg For a lot of us the New Year means a renewed focus on priorities and in many cases New Years resolutions. If your organization’s new year’s resolutions included running a smarter, leaner organization there are going to be some great learning opportunities coming next month.

The first is a webinar hosted by Bill Cason, Troux’s CTO and Ted Reynolds, VP Federal Sector on February 12th at 11:30 EST. I’ve listened to both of these guys talks in the past and I think that even if you aren’t currently using the software there is a lot you can learn from the approach they advocate to developing a well thought out shared service strategy. I believe getting that strategy together is the first step to achieving success with shared services which I believe is vital to ensuring mission success under the current budgetary constraints. Of course this is something a lot of people have been talking about, but have struggled to achieve. The talk will focus on the following:

  • Understanding how well agency investments are performing and aligned with the mission
  • Prioritizing and optimizing agency investments amidst ever-changing requirements
  • Better understanding general shared service readiness
  • Quickly identify and prioritize agency capabilities (e.g. Payroll) as ideal shared service candidates
  • Accurately estimate future savings by benchmarking current costs

If you think this is something you might be interested in you can learn more on the Troux website by clicking here.

The second webinar and event is being put on by ACT-IAC.  The mission of ACT-IAC is as follows: “The American Council for Technology (ACT) – Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to improving government through the application of information technology.  ACT-IAC provides an objective, ethical and trusted forum where government and industry communicate, collaborate and learn.”

I’ve been involved in the one of their initiatives Smart Lean Government (SLG) for a while now and this introductory workshop will offer techniques to sustain mission critical services in a climate of increasingly scarce resources and higher expectations for service delivery through transformational use of collaboratively shared services (notice a theme here?). The workshop, to be kicked off by Tom Davis retired member of the House of Representatives, is intended for government and industry thought leaders and professionals, as well as program managers and will help participants to better understand and use collaborative techniques to stretch and leverage these increasingly scarce resources to more effectively resolve pressing challenges. Takeaways from this 1/2 day session will be:

  • A heightened awareness regarding how to address the present stove-piped nature of government services, and
  • Introduction to SLG methods that can be used to sustain current services, deploy new services, improve service quality, and reduce costs.

Want to attend in person? The event will be held at 1919 N Lynn St, Arlington, VA 22209.  Attendance is limited so e-mail me at info@mbaoutcome.com for more information.

Title: Planning & Architecture SIG January 2014 Smart Lean Government Workshop
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/892749518

Want more background on Smart Lean Government? I gave an interview with Rick Smith one of the SLG team leads available on GovLoop.com:

How to get a smart, lean gov – Part One

How to get a smart, lean gov – Part Two

 

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

3 questions to ask your self and get your groove back

Getting back in the groove!

Getting back in the groove!

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is that I seem to perform better if I’m in what I like to think of as rhythm. A lot of times when I start feeling overwhelmed or overloaded I’ll try to take a step back and look at the way I’m living. I ask myself some simple questions:

1. Am I keeping to regular schedule? Meaning:

  • Am I getting to bed at around the same times?
  • Eating at around the same times?
  • Generally performing activities at the same times.

2. Am I giving myself time to get things done properly? Meaning:

  • Am I managing my time blocks so that I can fully complete one task before moving on to the next?
  • Am I managing my to do list so that I have a realistic chance of completing everything on it?
  • Am I budgeting time to standup, stretch and eat?

3. Am I doing things properly? Meaning:

  • Am I multi-tasking? In my experience nothing kills real productivity like the illusion of productivity that comes with multi-tasking.
  • Am I reading what I write once out loud before I hit send, thinking before I speak and pausing before I leap into action?
  • Am I delegating the things I can and allowing others to help me succeed?

Most of the time when I start feeling crazed I can run down this list and figure out pretty quickly where I went wrong. For me the big ones are over scheduling, under delegating and managing my time blocks. Do any of things on this list make your list of ways to drive yourself crazy?

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

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