Tips and tools: 162 lean tools and principles for making your company less dysfunctional—plus some other fantastic resources
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Last updated: April 2020
Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another
(We don’t profit from recommending things. We just love sharing things we think you’ll appreciate. You can see our other Tips and Tools articles here.)
Here are some great resources we’ve recently shared with one another (using Diigo):
162 lean tools and principles for making your company less dysfunctional:
If you ever wonder why your company takes so damned long to get anything done, you’ll find many of the answers in the article “Definitions of concepts from lean manufacturing.”
A good tool for designing products and services:
How Quality Function Deployment (QFD) works. QFD helps you to identify the relationships between features and benefits. It’s perhaps too logical, and leaves no room for intuition or gut feel, so use it to assist your intuition rather than to override it. We believe that tools like this are most useful when you use them in a scrappy way, not getting lost in the details.
Google Apps has grown up, and we’re using it more and more:
The Google Gooru blog shows you how to make the most of Google Apps. It recently presented four hours of free training for administrators. We also recommend its Ultimate Google Apps Training Guide and its training area, Gooru University.
Easier meeting setup with Google Calendar:
It surprises us how few people know how to create and reserve appointment slots using Google Calendar, so people can easily see when you’re free for a meeting. The feature is right there under your nose.
Accounting reports that actually provide useful information:
If you’re a CEO or business owner, the book “Managerial Accounting for Dummies” may be the only book about accounting that you ever need to read. Managerial accounts are the reports that are produced solely for your benefit; your end-of-year accountant doesn’t need to see them. Good reports make it easy to run your business. Bad ones make your business seem like a black box. The book shows you which reports you might want, and why you might want them. If you want to learn more about any of the subjects in the book, this longer book covers the same material but in more depth—and it has many useful diagrams. (Tip: This slightly older version of it costs less.)
Better presentations with PowerPoint and Keynote:
How to make the most of Amazon Prime:
Here’s how to share your Prime benefits—including free delivery—with anyone else in your household. No longer will your family get charged for shipping.
Virtual reality is worth following:
If you thought that virtual reality (VR) was something that died in the mid-nineties, you might be in for a surprise. Facebook recently acquired the leading VR technology company, Oculus VR, and the technology is now on the verge of going mainstream. This blog post by Jeff Atwood summarizes the recent rapid breakthroughs in VR, and the PDF “What VR Could, Should, And Almost Certainly Will Be Within Two Years” explains why VR is not just an “immersive experience”—it’s more like being teleported. This could be the future of the web, so learn about it now.
A helpful email marketing resource:
“Email patterns for web apps” is a useful list of the different types of emails that you may choose to send to your subscribers—for example, new-feature announcements, time-limited discounts and surveys to users.
How to get better feedback:
Hubspot’s CEO Dharmesh Shah says that “Critical feedback is the breakfast of champions. Defensiveness is the dinner of losers.” This is particularly true in conversion, because you need to understand why visitors aren’t taking action. The article “23 tools to make your feedback meaningful” contains some great tips for giving and receiving feedback.
We enjoyed these Pinterest fails. We imagine that, just outside of each photo, a parent is crying. We see companies implement conversion rate optimization with the same level of craftsmanship as went into that hedgehog cake—and we shake our heads when we hear them conclude that “this stuff doesn’t work.”
What the world’s best web companies do differently:
Our previous article was our most popular one in years. If you still haven’t seen it, read it now. It’s here: “We have designed pages for more top-500 websites than any other company. Here’s why they are winning.”
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