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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Maggie Millard

As the Director of Marketing, Maggie educates the continuous improvement community, KaiNexus customers, executives, managers, and staff in just about every industry you can think of about improvement principles and KaiNexus' continuous improvement software. Her desire to improve the American healthcare system combined with a love of spreading knowledge to the far reaches of the internet inspires her work with KaiNexus every day. Maggie graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2010 with a BA in History. She spends her free time hanging out with her sweet, sticky, stinky new baby and two displaced dogs in the mountains of Virginia.
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Recent Posts

Real-Time Lessons Learned from John Toussaint at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2019 10:01:49 AM

I'm here at the 2019 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in a keynote with John Toussaint, MD, the Executive Chairman of the Board at Catalysis. 

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How to Evaluate Visual Project Management Tools

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2019 7:42:00 AM

We’ve received a bunch of responses to our recent posts about visual project management. Many of our readers have shared their stories about how moving to visual management has helped them get more projects completed and to better understand the results of their improvement efforts. Other readers have asked questions about what to look for when selecting tools for visual project management. Of course, every organization has different needs, but some capabilities are useful across the board. Here are the features we suggest considering when evaluating visual project management tools.

How Leading Companies are Improving Visual Management

Kanban View

Kanban boards are among the most popular visual project management tools available. Elements of work in progress are presented in columns that represent items yet to be started, work that is underway, and completed tasks. Visualizing work int his way makes it instantly obvious when there are backlogs or bottlenecks. The goal is to improve the flow of work so that there is no waiting and forward progress is maintained.

When looking for project management technology, be sure that there is a customizable Kanban view so that each team can tailor their board to their unique needs. The solution should allow users to drill down into each task for background and more detail.

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Topics: Software, Visual Management

Framed to Fit: Why Managers Endorse Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 5, 2019 9:43:57 AM

Dr. Ethan Burris is a Professor of Management and the Chevron Centennial Fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Director of the Center of Leadership Excellence for the McCombs School. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from Cornell University and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Google and Microsoft. He teaches and consults on topics relating to leadership, managing power and politics, leading groups and teams, and negotiations.

Dr. Burris’ current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, he has investigated how leaders shape employees’ decisions whether to speak up or stay silent and how leaders evaluate those who speak up.

We were pleased to have him join us at our annual user conference in Austin last year. This post is a recap of his presentation; we highly recommend that you watch it to learn more about the science behind which ideas for improvement are more likely to get promoted by managers.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Operational Excellence

8 Ways Kanban Board Software Changes the Game

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 28, 2019 10:25:09 AM

Kanban boards are excellent visual management tools for tracking work-in-progress, identifying roadblocks, and ensuring a free-flowing value stream. The idea started with inventory cards helping workers at Toyota ensure that the right parts were available just in time. Leaders took the concept and used it to track any type of work, often on a poster or whiteboard. These days, you’ll find them in hospitals, software firms, construction offices, schools, and more.

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Topics: Software, Kanban, Continuous Improvement Software

6 Tips for Crowdsourcing Innovation Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 23, 2019 7:11:00 AM

When we ask people about innovation, they usually leap to radical breakthroughs like self-driving cars, alternative energy sources, or space colonies. While these things are innovative, the term innovation simply means a change to an established method or idea. Storing your forks closer to the dishwasher is innovation. In companies, incremental changes like optimizing a process, or solving a long-standing problem can be as necessary for success as introducing a new product or selling to a new market.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Innovation Software, Employee Engagement

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of "Measures of Success"

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 20, 2019 1:03:42 PM

Do you want to lead better and improve more? Of course you do!

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When Being Right is the Wrong Strategy for Change

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 16, 2019 8:32:00 AM

Frequent readers of this blog are probably familiar with Mark Graban. Mark has been an enormous contributor to the ideological foundation of the KaiNexus continuous improvement software.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Mark is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of “Lean Healthcare” and the author of LeanBlog.org and author of the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award-winning book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement.

His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, is a management book about using simple, yet practical statistical methods that help leaders at all levels overreact less to their metrics, which frees up time for real, focused, sustainable improvement.

Mark joined us for a recent KaiNexus user group in Austin to share with the audience his thoughts on why being right isn’t always the best strategy for change. This post is a recap of the presentation, but we promise its worth your time to watch the whole thing.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture

8 Ways Virtual Huddle Boards Accelerate Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 29, 2019 11:55:24 AM

Huddle boards are a popular visual management technique that is often used in conjunction with a daily huddle meeting. Teams gather around to chat about the top priorities for the day. Daily incremental improvements are discussed and evaluated. The intent is fantastic, but there are some significant limitations when using a physical board hanging on a wall. That’s why there is a trend away from physical boards to virtual ones. Modern cloud capabilities make it easy and inexpensive for organizations of all types to gain the advantages of digitizing their huddle boards. Here is a look at some of those benefits.

How Leading Companies are Improving Visual Management

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Visual Management

What Happens When an Organization Takes a Kaizen Approach to Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 25, 2019 7:32:00 AM

In my opinion, Kaizen is one of the most brilliantly simple, yet powerful business philosophies there is. Translated from Japanese, it simply means, “good change.” The Kaizen approach rests on the principle that everyone should be involved in improvement, every day. It is a form of mutual respect that empowers employees to create the conditions under which they can do their best work.

Organizations that embrace the Kaizen approach are all over the map in terms of industry, geography, and size, but there are a few ways that you can recognize them. Kaizen has a transformative impact, and some common attributes start to emerge when the approach is consistently applied.

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Topics: Kaizen

Master Improvement with Kata Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 16, 2019 2:45:06 PM

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

- Bruce Lee

 

Kata is a Japanese word that means form. In martial arts, it refers to a detailed choreographed pattern of movements that are practiced alone or in groups. Kata was a way that training methods and the most successful combat techniques were passed from generation to generation. This systematic approach to training allows students to develop the ability to perform the movements with reflex-like precision; they become second nature. When someone is new to the practice, the moves will look difficult, but once they become a master, each action will look effortless and smooth. Repetition, precision, and attention to form are the prerequisites for mastery.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Process

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