Everyday Kanban

Discussing Management, Teams, Agile, Lean, Kanban & more

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This Week’s Video to Watch: The Resource Utilization Trap

Henrik Kniberg has long been one of my favorite coaches because he’s prolific and his teaching and content is relevant and spot on. This video is no exception. It is a great way for visual learners to understand what it means to optimize for resource utilization, or busy-ness, and what it means to optimizing for flow, or finishing work.

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Embracing lagom at work

lagom not too little, not too much, just right

Lagompronounced law-gum, is a Swedish word that has no direct translation, but essentially means “not too much, not too little… just right.” We chose this word for the name of our business, Lagom Solutions, not just because of our Swedish heritage, but because the term is so relevant to the needs of organizations in this culture of “more.”

According to my research, the word lagom dates back to the Viking era and is a shortened version of the phrase “laget om” or “around the team.”1 The phrase is usually mentioned in connection with groups of Vikings sitting around the fire drinking mead from a communal vessel. There’s a balance to drinking from the communal cup (or horn, as it were). You want enough to feel satisfied, but you don’t want to be the one that takes too much, not leaving enough for everyone else to have a sip. It takes an awareness of, not only your own needs, but those of the rest of the group so that you know just the right amount to take.

These days, we aren’t really drinking out of communal cups (no one wants the flu)! Also, our decisions are a bit more complex than how much mead we drink and the impact of those decisions isn’t as immediately visible either.  Despite that, we can feel the impact when there’s “too much” in our systems. It manifests as dependencies that have other priorities, constant overtime, or a growing backlog of root causes to problems that need to be fixed. These problems are so endemic that I find myself surprised that more organizations don’t go out of business. Fortunately, in many cases, simplifying things… getting to lagom, may just be the ticket to getting us back to balance. Embracing lagom at work is removing distractions to elevate a focus on the important.

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This Week’s Video To Watch: Complex Adaptive Systems


The title of this 18-minute video, “Complexity, citizen engagement in a Post-Social Media time,” seems extremely academic, but the message is germane to every human. Dave Snowden, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge as well as founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at Bangor University in Wales, helps us see that we embrace a false, primitive dichotomy. That is that we act as if we are either in an ordered or completely chaotic system.

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