Alexandra Alter wrote an article in the NY Times this week about technology and our reading habits. Alter’s piece does a good job of reviewing differences between print and electronic readers as well as some changes in recent years in the publishing industry. Like Alter, I prefer eBooks because of the convenience, searchability, and portability. But the base audience in her article is people who buy books not borrow them. She didn’t make one mention of the public library. Generally speaking, I search my local library first when I want to read a book. I’ve used print, electronic, and audio versions of books in the past. I know library borrowing isn’t for everyone but here are a few reasons why I prefer it: I rarely go back and read books of fiction or non-fiction twice. So owning a copy on my bookshelf at home or in an eLibrary doesn’t provide
What we see When I was an intern in college I worked as a desktop service technician for computer support. I remember an internal financial auditor on the fourth floor of my building that I would occasionally help. Reese was much older than me, but took time to talk to me about life as I fixed his computer. I wish I would have appreciated it more at the time, but I was young and learning my way in a corporate environment. I thought about him recently because the world of auditing and compliance is changing rapidly in the areas of security and availability of data. While Reese was making sure our company followed GAAP for our financial books I wonder what he would think about compliance controls for information security. Our news feeds are filled with incidents, thefts, and breaches of company assets involving personal and protected information. A whole
How do you manage your passwords? Electronic password managers were created with the goal to help all of us have a more structured approach to storing and retrieving our passwords. But not everyone uses electronic password managers because they don’t know about them, don’t trust them, or because they require extra steps when it is time to authenticate with a service. Many people still rely on sticky notes and paper notebooks. I’m convinced passwords are one the largest nuisances in life for most people. It’s easy to see why. Different sites have different password rules and modern password complexity rules require us to use with specials characters, numbers, and capital letters. We can’t reuse password, they have to be a minimum length, and they can’t contain parts of our name or email. I’m dizzy already. There are two problems with this system: The rules are not our natural way
Truth. There will always be more work to do than is possible to accomplish by my team. Think more. Whine less. Earlier this year I penned some thoughts about thinking through resource contention, Do more with what you have!, because I was looking for better ways to address resource contention than to simply say more people are needed. Getting stuff done is as much a mindset as it is a collection of work output. I’ve learned that when I am overwhelmed with size of the backlog of tasks then the frequency of my output decreases. In the book, ReWork, Fried and Hansson address the value of staying lean with less, “I don’t have enough time/money/people/experience.” Stop whining. Less is a good thing. Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative.
Just in time. Picture this. You are reviewing a list of tasks that was assigned to colleagues in your business. You remind one of the task owners their action item is due tomorrow and they respond, “I have it on my list, but I’m operating just-in-time.” This happened to me recently. The word choice “just in time” (JIT) is from a Lean concept in which production output is managed by when the customer requests delivery rather than when the producer can complete the task. Most office workers today don’t match-up their behavior with Lean Principles. But even if you aren’t a Lean practitioner, there is tangible value to considering the JIT approach. One of the primary goals of JIT is to eliminate waste by not working or storing excess inventory. For this blog post, I’m writing about assignments, tasks, and action items for office personnel. Think of excess inventory as