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  • The insanity of it all...

    We're going through a process called LEAN at work, and as part of the process, they need an accurate count of my emails, phone calls, voicemails, IMs and other communications. I can't process anything, because it all has to sit there in the original method it came in for at least a week.

    I haven't been a strict adherant to GTD, but the simple processing and sorting part of it is something I have come to rely on. I feel like my PC is a complete mess.

  • #2
    Ooh. Sorry you have to go through that. Hopefully it's temporary.

    Maybe you can do something like, have the computer automatically make two copies of each incoming email. One goes into an "inbox" for counting emails for management, and the other goes into an "inbox" which you treat as your own inbox and process and delete things. Hmm. This wouldn't work very well using Outlook, I think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ouch.

      If the previous suggestion isn't allowed, maybe you could use Flags or Color Labels to differentiate between processed and unprocessed emails?

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd love to see you report back on the process once it's complete. It would be cool to get your take from a GTD user perspective.

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          LEAN at work

          Originally posted by apastuszak View Post
          We're going through a process called LEAN at work, and as part of the process, they need an accurate count of my emails, phone calls, voicemails, IMs and other communications. I can't process anything, because it all has to sit there in the original method it came in for at least a week.

          I haven't been a strict adherant to GTD, but the simple processing and sorting part of it is something I have come to rely on. I feel like my PC is a complete mess.
          Curious! Is there anywhere on the Internet we could read more about what your company is going through? Are these principles as they apply to email, phone calls etc. laid out anyplace?

          Francis

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by fwade View Post
            Curious! Is there anywhere on the Internet we could read more about what your company is going through? Are these principles as they apply to email, phone calls etc. laid out anyplace?

            Francis
            Sadly. It's an internal thing.

            The whole process is insanely counter-intuitive. Most of our workflow goes against anything even remotely resembling efficient productivity.

            The most annoying thing I deal with on a daily basis is this:

            1. An email arrives in my inbox. I don't even see the notification that it's there, and my phone immediately rings with the sender and he says "I just sent you an email..."

            2. I work in IT and our ticketing and change management system sends me anywhere between 150-400 emails a day that I have to weed through. Of those emails, I don't need to see 90% of them.

            3. Symantec eVault. Who designed the POC? Any email older than 21 days is archived into eVault. When it's archived I can see the text of the message, but I have to "restore" the email to get to the attachment. And when I restore it, it gets archives again overnight if it's older than 21 days. Any emails older than 1 year, disappear completely out of my mail client. If I want to see them, I need to log into eVault to see them.

            4. OneNote. People love it. I despise it. I prefer to use Evernote. It's awesome. But it also means I need to store work related data on a server outside my company. As much as I like the product, I'm not risking my job over it.

            5. The need to manually track the same information in 3 or more different places. This drives me nuts. It's insanely inefficient.

            Anyway, I'm ranting now on my lunch hour....

            The big problem with LEAN is, it's designed to help streamline how factories operate. And we, and a number of other companies are using it to try and streamline knowledge work. GTD does the same thing, but in a better more intuitive way, because it's designed from the ground up for knowledge workers. LEAN tries to turn you into McDonalds, where you're a cog in the great big machine.

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            • #7
              LEAN at work

              Originally posted by apastuszak View Post
              Sadly. It's an internal thing.

              The whole process is insanely counter-intuitive. Most of our workflow goes against anything even remotely resembling efficient productivity.

              The most annoying thing I deal with on a daily basis is this:

              1. An email arrives in my inbox. I don't even see the notification that it's there, and my phone immediately rings with the sender and he says "I just sent you an email..."

              2. I work in IT and our ticketing and change management system sends me anywhere between 150-400 emails a day that I have to weed through. Of those emails, I don't need to see 90% of them.

              3. Symantec eVault. Who designed the POC? Any email older than 21 days is archived into eVault. When it's archived I can see the text of the message, but I have to "restore" the email to get to the attachment. And when I restore it, it gets archives again overnight if it's older than 21 days. Any emails older than 1 year, disappear completely out of my mail client. If I want to see them, I need to log into eVault to see them.

              4. OneNote. People love it. I despise it. I prefer to use Evernote. It's awesome. But it also means I need to store work related data on a server outside my company. As much as I like the product, I'm not risking my job over it.

              5. The need to manually track the same information in 3 or more different places. This drives me nuts. It's insanely inefficient.

              Anyway, I'm ranting now on my lunch hour....

              The big problem with LEAN is, it's designed to help streamline how factories operate. And we, and a number of other companies are using it to try and streamline knowledge work. GTD does the same thing, but in a better more intuitive way, because it's designed from the ground up for knowledge workers. LEAN tries to turn you into McDonalds, where you're a cog in the great big machine.
              Thanks so much for this - it's fascinating. It appears that a lot of trouble is being taken to optimize the wrong things.

              Francis

              Comment


              • #8
                The worst part of it all is that you are actively discouraged from doing things outside of your realm of responsibility. So, if LEAN comes along and audits me and decides that 50% of my workload is something that another department should be doing, and them same happens to a coworker, then we each have 50% of our day available to take on other work. Rather than give us more work that is "appropriate" to my title, they'll simply give one person the other 50% and they'll lay the other person off, since their workload is now 0%.

                This leads to a high level of fear among employees, and paralyses the whole IT department. If your department is in the middle of the audit, you're scared to take on anything that might eat up a significant amount of time, because you don't want to lose your job over it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LEAN at work

                  Originally posted by apastuszak View Post
                  The worst part of it all is that you are actively discouraged from doing things outside of your realm of responsibility. So, if LEAN comes along and audits me and decides that 50% of my workload is something that another department should be doing, and them same happens to a coworker, then we each have 50% of our day available to take on other work. Rather than give us more work that is "appropriate" to my title, they'll simply give one person the other 50% and they'll lay the other person off, since their workload is now 0%.

                  This leads to a high level of fear among employees, and paralyses the whole IT department. If your department is in the middle of the audit, you're scared to take on anything that might eat up a significant amount of time, because you don't want to lose your job over it.
                  It sounds quite insane... sound principles being applied very, very badly.

                  Sorry to hear.

                  Francis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The process is supposed to be used to help streamline factory work, so that you can do more with the people you have. From the case studies I have read it is always used in white collar work to decrease head count.

                    The funny part to me is, GTD is designed to make you feel like you're cranking widgets. You take every job and turn into a set of easily defined steps and then work off your list.

                    LEAN is designed to make sure you're really cranking widgets. If your job is to build PCs, that's all you are supposed to do. Adding any additional responsibility to your plate that is not part of your job description will have that responsibility removed, and your workload readjusted or your position eliminated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So, LEAN came through my team. It seems that one of the unwritten requirements of the program was, that every single department had to offer one sacrificial lamb to be laid off. Our team needed AT LEAST 2 more people added to it, but instead they laid off the person with the largest workload out of all of us. And there we NO plans put in place to deal with his workload. I keep getting asked by my boss weekly if I can take on any more. I keep telling him every single member of the team works a 50 hour week now. One of our team members works from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily with breaks for meals and dealing with kids.

                      As far as I am concerned, if you're home and VPNed in and checking your Blackberry while cooking dinner and helping kids with homework, you're still working.

                      And I'm forced to use the counter-intuitive tools to do my job.

                      I started using Tiddlywiki and dGSD as my task manager and reference system. They're both just HTML files, but they do what I want. I was told to stop usig then because they're "open source freeware," which is forbidden by company policy.

                      Sigh... I feel like I work in Putin's Russia more days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by apastuszak View Post
                        Sigh... I feel like I work in Putin's Russia more days.
                        It is very common in large companies, often in US ones, to have Soviet style management with highly centralized planning, severely limited freedom of speech, servile obedience to orders from the leader etc etc. It seems to be either that extreme or the more anarchistic blend that you often find in Mediterranean type countries where top management decides one thing and everybody else follow their own original agendas regardless, or the third type (I have sometimes heard this referred to as Polish, but I do not think this is accurate) where nothing at all happens due to an inability to reach consensus. I think a perfectly effective and democratic mindset has not been invented yet.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Folke View Post

                          It is very common in large companies, often in US ones, to have Soviet style management with highly centralized planning, severely limited freedom of speech, servile obedience to orders from the leader etc etc. It seems to be either that extreme or the more anarchistic blend that you often find in Mediterranean type countries where top management decides one thing and everybody else follow their own original agendas regardless, or the third type (I have sometimes heard this referred to as Polish, but I do not think this is accurate) where nothing at all happens due to an inability to reach consensus. I think a perfectly effective and democratic mindset has not been invented yet.
                          Well. David Allen seems to be quite the fan of Tribal Leadership. From what I have read, it sounds like just the thing to get a company moving along. But this asking you to do more with less, and not letting you have tools you know will make you an effective employee is rough. Especially when the tools you are forced to use are so painful you literally find any excuse you can think of not to use them.

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                          • #14
                            I totally agree that from your description it sounds as if your company is quite "insane" (incompetent; chasing costs in all the wrong places; putting all their faith in some trendy quick fix they've bee sold on etc etc). You can see similar insanity in various forms in many places, and there is seldom much you can do about it (i.e. about them). All too often the only viable way to improve your personal situation is to find other people (another company) to work with.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have been there a long time, and the 401K can't be beat. I don't really want to move on. The only thing that's going to get me to use the tools I want to use, is to move to a much smaller company with a laxer IT policy. The worst system we have is our change management system. To enter a change record can take as long as an hour sometimes. My coworkers will literally block out a half day to enter change records.

                              On the plus side, my boss agrees with me. I take every opportunity to attend calls or meetings about work systems I think are bottlenecks to productivity and provide more feedback than they like.

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