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30 review for Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & flow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    If you like "The Phoenix Project", you must read this - and if you didn't read it, you should read it anyway. This book should be considered a standard reference for practical Kanban and how to manage work. It is split in to three parts: * Part one explains the five thieves of time * Part two shows how to use Kanban to hunt down these thieves * Part three is about creating Metrics and getting Feedback The content is from practitioners for practitioners which makes this book one of the most valuable I' If you like "The Phoenix Project", you must read this - and if you didn't read it, you should read it anyway. This book should be considered a standard reference for practical Kanban and how to manage work. It is split in to three parts: * Part one explains the five thieves of time * Part two shows how to use Kanban to hunt down these thieves * Part three is about creating Metrics and getting Feedback The content is from practitioners for practitioners which makes this book one of the most valuable I've ever read. The visuals are spot-on and the general style makes reading the book an absolute joy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steven Murawski

    Critical Reading for Anyone Who Does Work I started this book with a decent understanding of Kanban techniques and expected a similar recap of those ideas, maybe with a focus on IT Ops. What I got was so much more! While this may seem evident from the title - "Making Work Visible", there is so much more uncovered in this book than just getting your tasks in columns on a whiteboard. I've spent most of my IT career focused on automation of tasks. One of the first challenges we face when starting any Critical Reading for Anyone Who Does Work I started this book with a decent understanding of Kanban techniques and expected a similar recap of those ideas, maybe with a focus on IT Ops. What I got was so much more! While this may seem evident from the title - "Making Work Visible", there is so much more uncovered in this book than just getting your tasks in columns on a whiteboard. I've spent most of my IT career focused on automation of tasks. One of the first challenges we face when starting any automation project is getting an understanding of what work to automate. This book delivers some great tools for helping identify automation targets. When you make work visible and start the discussion on priority of work, the focus on what will provide the most value to automate becomes much clearer. But that's not all you get! Dominica starts by exposing the five time thieves and detailing how they keep us busy and overcommited while allowing critical work to fall by the wayside. It is in this section that Dominica describes tech debt work (work that has accumulated due to short cuts, deferred maintenence, the passage of time, or other point in time decisions) as revenue protection. For me, this was a criticial connection. In the DevOps and Digital Transformation discussion, we look at how we can relate our development and IT operations work to customer value. What we often have a hard time voicing is how to fit those tech debt tasks into that value stream. When we look at it from a perspective of revenue protection, (keeping services available, responsive, and secure helps keep customers ya know..), it becomes evident that those tasks need to be represented in the work we are doing. Another major takeaway for me was in the focus on the metrics of the flow of work. Dominica dives in to a variety of metrics that can be gleaned from using Kanban and, more importantly, what those metrics mean for the flow of work through the organization. This is required pre-reading if you are planning on (or have started on) a Digital Transformation or DevOps Journey.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Stafford

    Excellent handbook and review of Lean and kanban practices I'm already using at work, describes several things we can be doing better, and considering the traction this book has at work right now, I bet we'll be making process changes soon. Engaging read, easy to understand, attractive layout and graphics. Could have used an editor (cost reasons I bet) as I saw a good many typos, plus the use of both acceptable spellings of queueing / queuing. Excellent handbook and review of Lean and kanban practices I'm already using at work, describes several things we can be doing better, and considering the traction this book has at work right now, I bet we'll be making process changes soon. Engaging read, easy to understand, attractive layout and graphics. Could have used an editor (cost reasons I bet) as I saw a good many typos, plus the use of both acceptable spellings of queueing / queuing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emre Sevinç

    If this is the first time you're hearing about Kanban style of working, you can consider this book almost a 4-star: it is very readable, with a lot of anecdotes from the author's professional challenges, and conveys the most fundamental concepts and terms in a colorful, easy-to-digest manner by using many examples. In other words, if you're just curious, this is not a bad starting point at all. On the other hand, if you're a professional with even one or two years of experience in organizations a If this is the first time you're hearing about Kanban style of working, you can consider this book almost a 4-star: it is very readable, with a lot of anecdotes from the author's professional challenges, and conveys the most fundamental concepts and terms in a colorful, easy-to-digest manner by using many examples. In other words, if you're just curious, this is not a bad starting point at all. On the other hand, if you're a professional with even one or two years of experience in organizations and teams that use Kanban, Scrum, or Scrumban type of workflow and management practice, you won't get a lot of new insights from this book, therefore for such people this book will deserve 2.5 or 3-star rating at most. You will mostly nod your head in agreement with most of the principles, and be able to have empathy with the author whenever she describes the business, communication, visibility and office politics challenges she endured whenever she tried to change things. Long story short, the book explains the simple yet effective principles of Kanban, and motivates how these can be used for better time, project, product and work management by cutting down waste. It also has simple (maybe too simplistic for some people) explanations of important concepts such as WIP (Work in Progress) limits, capacity utilization, queueing theory, Little's law, etc. (for the curious IT operations and software people who want to go a little deeper, I'd definitely recommend "The Essential Guide to Queueing Theory", September 8, 2016, Revision 3, by Baron Schwartz.) Maybe one of the most important key takeaway is: visualize, visualize, visualize! Oh, and keep those visualizations up-to-date, and put them some place where people will easily see. Of course, whether you can successfully apply these to every team and organization is a very different story, and this book hints at the challenges, but it barely scratches the surface. You will most probably need to consult other books for a deeper dive, and on top of that, experiment (and fail in various ways) in your environment with your people to find out the optimal way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chase Adams

    I discovered Making Work Visible when I needed it most and was most ready for it. It is a canonical book for anyone who wants to be effective at getting the right things done in the right amount of time. Why It Mattered To Me I was two months into my journey as a manager for a small technical team whose primary responsibility was to manage an overwhelmingly active queue of support requests. I was struggling with two major tensions: 1. "How do I know the work we're doing is the right work for the I discovered Making Work Visible when I needed it most and was most ready for it. It is a canonical book for anyone who wants to be effective at getting the right things done in the right amount of time. Why It Mattered To Me I was two months into my journey as a manager for a small technical team whose primary responsibility was to manage an overwhelmingly active queue of support requests. I was struggling with two major tensions: 1. "How do I know the work we're doing is the right work for the right time?" 2. "How do I ensure we're able to be effective?" I wanted to increase our internal customers' velocity and happiness by decreasing the request resolution time without increasing risk (production systems) or hours at work. I was uncertain (and lacked confidence) of how to best visualize the team's work to uncover our constraints (what Making Work Visible calls Time Thieves). Making Work Visible equipped me with tools to ask the right questions to find clarity about my tensions and overcome my lack of confidence. In the short amount of time between finishing the book and now, my team has made a number of small changes to help us expose the 5 time thieves. In the past two weeks, I've received feedback that these changes have made our internal customers feel better supported and engaged, given back our sibling teams time to spend on planned work without increasing headcount or the amount of hours my team is working (my next goal is to reduce the amount of hours we spend on this work). Key Takeaways Setup a workflow system to do five things: The solution is to design and use a workflow system that does the following five things: Make work visible. Limit work-in-progress (WIP). Measure and manage the flow of work. Prioritize effectively (this one may be a challenge, but stay with me—I’ll show you how). Make adjustments based on learnings from feedback and metrics. Exposing The 5 Time Thieves Making Work Visible has a number of exercises to try out with teams to expose the time thieves. The ones that resonated with me to start with were "Explore the Five Reasons Why We Take on More WIP" & "Demand Analysis". How Is Work Prioritized There's the way you want work to be prioritized and the way it is prioritized. Creating a label for who asks for a task, tracking whether it's planned or unplanned, and how compelled we are to get it done will enable us to determine how the work is truly prioritized. If we can be aware of how work is expected to be prioritized, we can have a deeper discussion with the person who asks for that work to help us increase visibility into the things they're going to ask for with more notice. Lean Coffee "Lean Coffee"—a meeting format created by Jim Benson: Lean Coffee turns traditional, one-direction management meetings on its head by helping teams uncover the most important topics to the majority of people, by allowing everyone to hear and to be heard, and by providing real-time feedback. I've always disliked agenda-less meetings, but the idea of a meeting that's purpose is to determine what the important topics are and talk about those topics? That's a meeting format I can get behind. I'm excited to try this style of meeting out with my team (as well as a few non-work meetings I'm a part of) to uncover what's really important and needs to be talked about and talking about those topics. Other Topics I Learned About: - 5 Time Thieves - Kanban - Flow time - Operations Reviews - Queueing Theory Some Favorite Highlights We allow the chaos of modern work coupled with an often paralyzing number of options at our disposal to overload us, to distract us, to stealthily steal our time and focus and ultimately impede our effectiveness. All it takes is a shift from haphazardly saying yes to everything to deliberately saying yes to only the most important thing at that time. And to do it visually. Indeed, time is sacred. Treat it as such. Visualize your work. Limit the amount of work you take on. Pay attention to its flow. Build thoughtful work systems to reflect what really matters. To breathe. To think. To learn. To grow. To play. To love. To live. For it is in working well that we can live well. Added Bonuses Book recommendations abound. There were at least 4 other books that Dominica mentioned that caught my attention and are now on my list of books to read. Quotes. Every chapter starts with a quote and I found myself highlighting almost every one. Who Should Read It? If someone has asked you "how are you doing?" and you responded with, "I'm (SO,TOO,VERY) busy!" or "I'm working way too much.", read this book. If you are on a team where no one knows what anyone else is doing, read this book. If you know you could be completing (operative word) more work in less time but can't determine why you're unable to do it, read this book. If you find yourself with a million things to do and you suffer from deciding where to start, read this book. This book doesn't encourage overwork or hero mentality, rather it gives you the tools to ask, "how can I be more effective without spending an insane amount of hours working?"

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trung

    This book is mostly applicable in the author's context of working which is IT DevOps. This book is mostly applicable in the author's context of working which is IT DevOps.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tõnu Vahtra

    I was a bit afraid that when you have already read several books on Lean and Kanban then the added value from one more book might be marginal. On high level this was the case but there were still several interesting thoughts in the book. It's a mix of different books ("This is LEAN", "Personal KANBAN", many quotes from Goldratt (THE GOAL) and another reminder to finally complete "Drive" from Daniel Pink. Authordidn't say it directly but there were several subliminal references to Phoenix Project I was a bit afraid that when you have already read several books on Lean and Kanban then the added value from one more book might be marginal. On high level this was the case but there were still several interesting thoughts in the book. It's a mix of different books ("This is LEAN", "Personal KANBAN", many quotes from Goldratt (THE GOAL) and another reminder to finally complete "Drive" from Daniel Pink. Authordidn't say it directly but there were several subliminal references to Phoenix Project also). I will take a few concepts from the book to everyday work: *Marking unplanned work and measuring its trend over time (later this can be used for more accurate predictions in planning). *Scheduling longer stand-ups and actually not using all the time (when work has been made visible you do not need to repeat who is doing what and you can focus on the blockers and challenges, second part of the meeting can be used for catching up with manager and discussing needed topics in organic groups). *The initiative of identifying pain (interruptions, conflicting priorities, your "customers" pain) and making it visible in KANBAN). Somebody saying they have no pain/problem is a problem by itself (denial). the FIVE TIME THIEVES: -Too much WIP -Conflicting priorities -Unplanned work -Neglected work -Unknown dependencies "There is one most important thing—let people know what it is. Conflicting priorities occur when people are uncertain on what the highest priority is. This leads to too much WIP, which leads to longer cycle times."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad

    Making Work Visible is the best book on Lean-Kanban that I have read to date and I have read quite a bit. This book stands out from the other books on Kanban, Lean and Agile processes books in a unique way by clustering the core problems that Kanban was originally designed to solve via Visualization. There are mainly five categories of problems which are presented as Time thieves in the book, namely: 1 - Thief Too Much WIP 2 - Thief Conflicting Priorities 3 - Thief Unplanned Work 4 - Thief Neglected Making Work Visible is the best book on Lean-Kanban that I have read to date and I have read quite a bit. This book stands out from the other books on Kanban, Lean and Agile processes books in a unique way by clustering the core problems that Kanban was originally designed to solve via Visualization. There are mainly five categories of problems which are presented as Time thieves in the book, namely: 1 - Thief Too Much WIP 2 - Thief Conflicting Priorities 3 - Thief Unplanned Work 4 - Thief Neglected Work 5 - Thief Unknown Dependencies Th book doesn't only outline key observations for spotting whether any of these thieves are chewing on your time away, but also devise a plan for fixing the problems, as well as, show you how to rethink your Agile Metrics to optimize the Kanban process further. I completely recommend this book to everyone who is working on a Software team. Good luck!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Litsinger

    This book struck me as mostly a love-letter to kanban. It had practical advice for how to put it into practice, but I found it short of ideas on how to make it _better_ within my operating environment. For a bit Degrandis started talking about probabilistic prediction, and I got excited about that, but she never suggested a useful formula for calculating it. Probably the most thought-provoking bit for me in this book was the application of Little's Law to a kanban board. I happen to think a lot ab This book struck me as mostly a love-letter to kanban. It had practical advice for how to put it into practice, but I found it short of ideas on how to make it _better_ within my operating environment. For a bit Degrandis started talking about probabilistic prediction, and I got excited about that, but she never suggested a useful formula for calculating it. Probably the most thought-provoking bit for me in this book was the application of Little's Law to a kanban board. I happen to think a lot about Little's Law at work (I manage an API gateway that applies it to the way it calculates rate-limiting): We can look at Little’s Law to understand the math behind why WIP extends completion times. Recall that lead time equals WIP over throughput. Given WIP is the numerator of that fraction, we know that when WIP goes up, so does lead time. Algebra and theory aside, the proof is in measuring the day-to-day experience.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Hammarberg

    read most of this book in one big gulp - I simply could not stop myself. My immediate feeling after reading it is that my head is spinning with things I need to try. The content is super actionable, clear and beautifully presented. Also, everything is well grounded in practice & theory - the author oozed experience through the stories. On top of that there's nice splash of fun to keep me reading. I recommend this book to anyone doing Kanban, Lean, Agile or Scrum read most of this book in one big gulp - I simply could not stop myself. My immediate feeling after reading it is that my head is spinning with things I need to try. The content is super actionable, clear and beautifully presented. Also, everything is well grounded in practice & theory - the author oozed experience through the stories. On top of that there's nice splash of fun to keep me reading. I recommend this book to anyone doing Kanban, Lean, Agile or Scrum

  11. 5 out of 5

    William Anderson

    Really just excellent. This is a fantastic guide to kanban board design, but goes so much further providing numerous tools to visualizing WIP and helping identify and clear bottle necks. If you are intersted in visualizing tasks, dependencies, interuptions, work, and value then read this.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a concise introduction to Kanban, focusing on the idea that your teams and colleagues need a way to see (with their eyes . . .) work so that it can be planned, discussed, and remove surprises from the organization. I would say that if you're a new practitioner of some kind of agile methodology (Scrum, Kanban, whatever) and want to tune up your work boards, this book could help quite a bit. It is not doctrinaire, and provides a lot of different patterns; no specific software package is di This is a concise introduction to Kanban, focusing on the idea that your teams and colleagues need a way to see (with their eyes . . .) work so that it can be planned, discussed, and remove surprises from the organization. I would say that if you're a new practitioner of some kind of agile methodology (Scrum, Kanban, whatever) and want to tune up your work boards, this book could help quite a bit. It is not doctrinaire, and provides a lot of different patterns; no specific software package is discussed, and indeed the book makes a good implicit case for physical boards. The book also knows that not all patterns are for everyone, and contains a judicious chapter called "Beastly Practices" (173-183). where the author rants about some ways that you can shoot yourself in the foot (e.g., Gantt Charts, but perhaps more critically, individually-named swim lanes -- don't do that!). The book is punctuated with team exercises where you use sticky notes in a variety of ways to level up your teams. The exercises seem a little dull to me, though, compared to what you might find at tastycupcakes.org and other places. The book has a nice discussion of flow metrics and queuing theory (pp, 141-149), but there is a fatal flaw in this discussion, which is that Little's Law requires that all work be measured in the same units. Good luck with that: I don't think the discussion here is going to provide you with something you can use "out of the box," though the author does recommend Vacanti's Actionable Agile Metrics. There are some bonuses. Tangential to her main topic is the idea of "Lean Coffee" (pp. 165-168) which is a way to bubble up ideas from a group in a semi-democratic way. We have a large meeting at my company that exposes "red flags" and "green flags" but it has become boring with less utility: An occasional "Lean Coffee" might be just what we need.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roland Curit

    I started this book in late 2020 and despite its short length, 200 pages with lots of pictures, I struggled to reach the finish line. 5 pages here, 10 there. I had difficulty remaining focused on topic. A year ago, I had read “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim. It was twice as long and covered the same topics but in story book fashion. That worked for me. I still rave about that book today. I bought “Making Work Visible” to gain insight into why my 2020 seemed overly work heavy despite not spendi I started this book in late 2020 and despite its short length, 200 pages with lots of pictures, I struggled to reach the finish line. 5 pages here, 10 there. I had difficulty remaining focused on topic. A year ago, I had read “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim. It was twice as long and covered the same topics but in story book fashion. That worked for me. I still rave about that book today. I bought “Making Work Visible” to gain insight into why my 2020 seemed overly work heavy despite not spending 90 minutes in daily commutes. I did not learn anything new. Rather, I felt trapped in a never-ending training session. At the end of each chapter, Degrandis offers exercises that require white boards, markers, and sticky notes. Each exercise sounded identical to the previous and required a full team of participants. No value added for the solitary reader. The book’s premise is that work thieves steal your time and decrease productivity. The author gives them names: Thief Unplanned Work, Thief Conflicting Priorities, Thief Neglected Work, etc. Honestly, sticking “Thief” in front of everything was a slight turnoff. Key Takeaways are offered in bullet form at the end of each chapter. These were good reminders of what I had struggled to read, since it often took a week or more to get through a single chapter. In fact, had the book been condensed into 10 pages of Key Takeaways, I’d have finished in less than an hour and been just as informed. I do not wish to totally dump on the material, though. Degrandis is an industry leader on the topic and I am sure in the right hands, this could be the right book at the right time. Just not my hands and not at this time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Heer

    I like this book it focused me to see the time thieves and help me to make them more visible, but if you already read „The Phoenix Project“ or „The Unicorn Project“ you won’t find revolutionary ideas in it. I can recommend this book to everyone who wants to see more clearly were your efforts go.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sergey

    Useful and practical book for implementing kanban methodology, with most experience drawn from applying it across Operations teams. Editorial process could’ve been more diligent.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mariah

    My boss’s boss gave this to me to read and I actually found it extremely helpful. I got thrust into a Kanban process with no education and this lays it out simply and with lots of context. I felt like there were practical applications to the advice that I could implement which generally does not happen from a management book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    This book describes the common items which end up being where a lot of our productive time ends up going ("the thieves"), and outlines several strategies (with many great examples) of how to make the thieves visible using Kanban boards. If you're having trouble doing Kanban, this is a good book for showing several different approaches you can try. This book describes the common items which end up being where a lot of our productive time ends up going ("the thieves"), and outlines several strategies (with many great examples) of how to make the thieves visible using Kanban boards. If you're having trouble doing Kanban, this is a good book for showing several different approaches you can try.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Gebski

    How to describe this book? Kanban in the most simple words possible (w/o trespassing the border of not respecting reader's intelligence ;>). Who I'd recommend this book to? All the people who think that "Kanban" is just a layout of issues in JIRA (yes, there are more of them one could expect ...). Is it a good book? Decent enough - it's still better to read Anderson's original book, BUT I'm aware that many people won't. So in such case, MWV is still a good choice - sensible starter for building up How to describe this book? Kanban in the most simple words possible (w/o trespassing the border of not respecting reader's intelligence ;>). Who I'd recommend this book to? All the people who think that "Kanban" is just a layout of issues in JIRA (yes, there are more of them one could expect ...). Is it a good book? Decent enough - it's still better to read Anderson's original book, BUT I'm aware that many people won't. So in such case, MWV is still a good choice - sensible starter for building up a Lean mindset. What did I like most? The book is not "mechanical" - it doesn't tell you basics about drawing lanes & sticking cards - it presents the concepts & why they do make so much difference.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bjoern Rochel

    I like the presentation and style of the book. Might be a good choice for the first Kanban book. Not so long ago though I read "Product Development Flow" and "Kanban from the inside" which go far beyond the content here. In case you've read those or dived deeper into Kanban before, I doubt that this book brings anything new to the table. I like the presentation and style of the book. Might be a good choice for the first Kanban book. Not so long ago though I read "Product Development Flow" and "Kanban from the inside" which go far beyond the content here. In case you've read those or dived deeper into Kanban before, I doubt that this book brings anything new to the table.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Simply the best book I read in a long time. It shows how time thieves steal all your time and how you can act to minimize their effect. In my opinion one of the best books about Kanban and how making your work transparent is the first step to work more efficient. Definitively a must read for everyone who works in projects.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Boyarsky

    “Making Work Visible” is awesome! The book is divided into three parts. The first introduces the five thieves: too much WIP, unknown dependencies, unplanned work, conflicting priorities and neglected work. The author personifies the thieves nicely and talks about them like they are alive. I liked the “it was the cloud provider that did it in the data center with the candlestick.” I don't know about you, but these five thieves have been busy on most projects that I've worked on! Part two is the me “Making Work Visible” is awesome! The book is divided into three parts. The first introduces the five thieves: too much WIP, unknown dependencies, unplanned work, conflicting priorities and neglected work. The author personifies the thieves nicely and talks about them like they are alive. I liked the “it was the cloud provider that did it in the data center with the candlestick.” I don't know about you, but these five thieves have been busy on most projects that I've worked on! Part two is the meat of the book. It gives ideas and exercises for ways to expose the thieves so you can minimize their impacts on your projects. The third part of the book is about metrics and how to work in a way with the thieves having minimal impact. I thought it was interesting that the 20% creative time some companies have serves has a way to keep capacity to 80% Throughout the book, all chapters had great takeways. I like that she has some techniques I use (blocking out your calendar for focused work, using pomodoros for writing a book, office hours; something I've done with interns). This suggests I'll find some of the other techniques useful. One that jumps out at me is the 10 minute meeting about the item that has been open the longest. “Congratulations your work item is now famous as the oldest WIP” Finally, the book ends with mug shots of the five thieves and a glossary. The author works/worked as a build engineer. This resonates for me because it means she did deal with frequent interruptions. The graphics were great. My only complaint was the book gets really hot when you leave it baking in the sun. So don't do that!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vlad Ardelean

    Some good ideas, nothing special Fortunately the book is short. Tell you what I won't do: get a physical board and stick postit notes on it. That's what she's proposing. I'm sorry, but I won't do that. It's very easy for these consultants, while on their workshops, to get out big whiteboards and stick postit notes on them. Vert romantic, but wrong. I'm working with JIRA at work, and am limited by it. I won't change from JIRA to postits, because JIRA has a lot of benefits, mostly regarding communic Some good ideas, nothing special Fortunately the book is short. Tell you what I won't do: get a physical board and stick postit notes on it. That's what she's proposing. I'm sorry, but I won't do that. It's very easy for these consultants, while on their workshops, to get out big whiteboards and stick postit notes on them. Vert romantic, but wrong. I'm working with JIRA at work, and am limited by it. I won't change from JIRA to postits, because JIRA has a lot of benefits, mostly regarding communication with stakeholders from other offices. Then regarding the time thieves however, I think there are good ideas there. Mostly I got the argument that when there's too much WIP, stuff gets done slower, mostly because of context switches, then because of failure demand, which can lead to more hurrying up, which will lead to technical debt, which leads to invisible work...so yes, bad team patterns amplify each other - that argument makes sense. What this book lacks completely is some kind of numeric support. There are no published reports of what happens when a certain strategy (limiting WIP for example) was used. There's absolutely nothing else in this book except for arguments which sound ok in principle, and stuff to try out, and see if it helps. Now that's perfectly fine, but it's also the reason why for me this book only gets 3 stars. I wouldn't recommend this book to people who want concrete solutions to team problems. Except for "limit WIP" there isn't much I got. This book feelsnvery much like "preaching to the choir". If you already agreed with her conclusions, her arguments might seem compelling. That's a human bias though, and if you look at the actual arguments on their own, there's really not much convincing power in this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob Wallner

    In 2015, Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry's book Personal Kanban changed the way I did work, so when I saw that Tonianne did the Foreward for Making Work Visible, I took notice. I judge a book on how quickly it makes me take action. I put some of the principles from this book into effect on the same day as reading them. I have been using personal kanban since 2015, but the way Ms. Degrandis described how she uses kanban made me rethink how I was doing it. I made some simple changes to my per In 2015, Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry's book Personal Kanban changed the way I did work, so when I saw that Tonianne did the Foreward for Making Work Visible, I took notice. I judge a book on how quickly it makes me take action. I put some of the principles from this book into effect on the same day as reading them. I have been using personal kanban since 2015, but the way Ms. Degrandis described how she uses kanban made me rethink how I was doing it. I made some simple changes to my personal kanban and already have found my system to be even more effective. Although some of her teamwork examples focus on agile projects in software development, I now can see how I can use these simple boards in kaizen events. I don't like carrying tasks out of a rapid improvement event, but sometimes it's inevitable. Problem is people go back to work, tasks get forgotten about, and progress stops. I plan on experimenting with kanban on my next kaizen event. Rather than have an action list, I will have a visual work board. I cannot wait to try. I was nervous about getting a book on visuality in audiobook format. The supplemental "comic book" form that comes with the book is just awesome. Making Work Visible is one of my favorite books thus far in 2018 and will undoubtedly go on my re-read list. I will probably alternate Personal Kanban with Making Work Visible.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    An exceptional argument for why so many workplaces are full of so many overworked, busy people, yet everything seems to take forever to get done. In short, there’s too much WIP (work in progress) and not enough idle time or slack capacity. Great, jargon will help us? Let me explain how these go together. Most of us think we need to be doing something productive 100% of the time at work, right? So if we find ourselves with some spare time, we start up something new. We add more work into the syste An exceptional argument for why so many workplaces are full of so many overworked, busy people, yet everything seems to take forever to get done. In short, there’s too much WIP (work in progress) and not enough idle time or slack capacity. Great, jargon will help us? Let me explain how these go together. Most of us think we need to be doing something productive 100% of the time at work, right? So if we find ourselves with some spare time, we start up something new. We add more work into the system, or increase the work that is started but not yet finished. This is WIP, work that we started but haven’t finished yet. When people’s time starts to be utilized past about 80%, the amount of time work sits waiting for them to address it increases exponentially. The result is a system where most work spends more time idling waiting for the next step to happen than being worked on. And where people who are afraid to be idle introduce more work any time there is a slow period. Net result: everyone is overwhelmed and everything takes forever to be completed (at a company or project level). Those were the key ideas for me, anyway. Fro there, the book provides a great run through of Kanban and the different ways you can structure a Kanban board to make all the work in the team or organization visible to everyone, to expose the problems and address them.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dusty Juhl

    "It's ridiculously hard to manage invisible work." This sentence essentially sums up the purpose of this book--making work visible in order to better manage it. The book lays out five major causes for work not getting done, presented as "time thieves". Any good book on Lean / Kanban likely presents many of the same causes, such as Too Much WIP, Unknown Dependencies, Unplanned Work, Conflicting Priorities, and Neglected Work. This book provided a great combination of good descriptions of each time "It's ridiculously hard to manage invisible work." This sentence essentially sums up the purpose of this book--making work visible in order to better manage it. The book lays out five major causes for work not getting done, presented as "time thieves". Any good book on Lean / Kanban likely presents many of the same causes, such as Too Much WIP, Unknown Dependencies, Unplanned Work, Conflicting Priorities, and Neglected Work. This book provided a great combination of good descriptions of each time thief plus great illustrations, as well as some practical exercises to help identify the biggest time thieves. Once they're visible, it's easier to measure them using various metrics listed in the book. A number of different books were mentioned throughout the book, yet there's no Bibliography at the end. It would have been a nice addition. The book could have used some better editing. There was a footnote listed in Chapter 2.2, but no footnotes were listed in the Endnotes for that chapter. There were various other errors in type spacing throughout the book, but overall, the content was valuable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    heidi

    This book was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. DeGrandis takes the complexities of kanban-flavored agile and boils them down into actionable steps by talking about how you can solve specific problem (or Time Theives) by making your work more visible to stakeholders and yourself. I think it's probably going to be more valuable if you have a basic understanding of kanban and limited work in progress, but she does cover it. This is more like a book for the second six months of your kanban tr This book was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. DeGrandis takes the complexities of kanban-flavored agile and boils them down into actionable steps by talking about how you can solve specific problem (or Time Theives) by making your work more visible to stakeholders and yourself. I think it's probably going to be more valuable if you have a basic understanding of kanban and limited work in progress, but she does cover it. This is more like a book for the second six months of your kanban transformation, when you have started the rituals but haven't figured out how to solve the new problems that you've now generated. I took so many pictures of this book, since I couldn't use my ebook highlighter, but rather than me transcribing the insights about why it's hard to resist extra work in progress or how important it is to track the time it actually takes something to get done, I'm going to encourage you to just buy the book or get it from your local library, because it's great, it's short, and it has adorable hand-drawn illustrations. Read if: You like real-life stories about agile transformation that are actually tuned for individual teams. You have some foundational agile experience and are looking to troubleshoot problems. Skip if: You can't stand to read another small-a agile book. Also read: Accelerate: Building and Scaling High-Performing Technology Organizations

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Frantz

    Degrandis does a great job defining and putting a face on a set of "time thieves" that prevent us from getting work done. The central theme is visibility. The more we make visible, the better we can understand what is stealing our time and make adjustments. Further, we can effectively communicate within and without our teams about the things that impact our work. This leads to setting better expectations and greater satisfaction, overall. And while the book recommends a Kanban approach to managi Degrandis does a great job defining and putting a face on a set of "time thieves" that prevent us from getting work done. The central theme is visibility. The more we make visible, the better we can understand what is stealing our time and make adjustments. Further, we can effectively communicate within and without our teams about the things that impact our work. This leads to setting better expectations and greater satisfaction, overall. And while the book recommends a Kanban approach to managing work, it's not necessary to embrace that framework to realize the successes from visualizing work; Degrandis even makes this point a few times in the text. Degrandis' writing matched my experience at various jobs where, over many, many years, I learned some of these lessons. I wish I'd had her book so many years ago. I'm glad I read it even now as it helped clarify the things that can contribute to lost productivity and happiness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    A well written book about the value and mechanics of using kanban on work projects, especially software projects. The paperback is also very well published, with attractive illustrations by the author. In a book about making things visible, the pictures are certainly important. Some of the key takeaways for me: - Good explanation of using kanban and pull to manage work. This is good for projects and also for non-project work. - Work-In-Progress (WIP) is not "effecient multitasking". It makes LESS ge A well written book about the value and mechanics of using kanban on work projects, especially software projects. The paperback is also very well published, with attractive illustrations by the author. In a book about making things visible, the pictures are certainly important. Some of the key takeaways for me: - Good explanation of using kanban and pull to manage work. This is good for projects and also for non-project work. - Work-In-Progress (WIP) is not "effecient multitasking". It makes LESS get done, not more. - Most people are visually oriented (as many as 2/3), so a visual method of presenting work (like a kanban board) will work better for most people - The book contains a lot of good examples of customized and detailed kanban boards for various situations. - The author demonstrates very relevant experience in the IT project world, which is where I spend my days, too. Side note: I'm always interested whether books use "progress" or "process" in the WIP acronym. +1 here for "work-in-progress".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liana

    Picked it up as a relaxing quick-read after emotionally draining fantasy trilogy. Turned out to be a painful almost three month journey. There are 5 time wasting things one should avoid: 1. Too many tasks in progress (WIP) 2. Unknown dependencies. 3. Unplanned work. 4. Conflicting priorities. 5. Abandoned work. Kanban helps to visualize these things. Surprisingly picked up a few interesting ideas at the very end of the book: 1. Standups are useless if everyone just says what they've been doing. Just use Picked it up as a relaxing quick-read after emotionally draining fantasy trilogy. Turned out to be a painful almost three month journey. There are 5 time wasting things one should avoid: 1. Too many tasks in progress (WIP) 2. Unknown dependencies. 3. Unplanned work. 4. Conflicting priorities. 5. Abandoned work. Kanban helps to visualize these things. Surprisingly picked up a few interesting ideas at the very end of the book: 1. Standups are useless if everyone just says what they've been doing. Just use Kanban board for current status and discuss _problems_ during standup. 2. Lean coffee talk idea: everyone can suggest topics for discussion, then everyone has two votes to cast for the most hot topics, 5 minutes for every topic, then everyone votes if they want +1 minutes for the topic. 3. Finally understood why one needs cumulative flow diagram. And one important reminder: 4. Make all the processes easier. Don't waste everyone's time by having millions of tools.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mario Sailer

    Just another book about Kanban. If someone does not know anything about Kanban this is a good book for an introduction. But if you are already familiar with Kanban and you know Little's Law, there is not much value in reading this book beside maybe getting reminded about the Kanban mechanisms. Besides creating some awareness for the so called "Time Thief's", it is very simplistic, not digging much into the theory behind these "Time Thif's" and not giving very much advice how to tackle them (once y Just another book about Kanban. If someone does not know anything about Kanban this is a good book for an introduction. But if you are already familiar with Kanban and you know Little's Law, there is not much value in reading this book beside maybe getting reminded about the Kanban mechanisms. Besides creating some awareness for the so called "Time Thief's", it is very simplistic, not digging much into the theory behind these "Time Thif's" and not giving very much advice how to tackle them (once you became aware they are there). If you want to get a good grip on all this, you have to read other books. If you only looking for a short introduction into Kanban without much theory, this is probably a good choice.

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