November book review: Beyond Bullet Points

Cliff Atkinson
Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007 to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire.

If you are tired of making the same old presentations again and again, take a look at the "Beyond Bullet Points" book by Cliff Atkinson. In this book, the author describes an approach on how to use Hollywood-style storytelling techniques to transform a set of bullet-pointed slides into a rich, engaging, and powerful presentation.

How can you capture the interest of your audience during one of your first slides? How can you maintain this interest to the very end? Cliff answers these questions and offers a structure and process for creating effective PowerPoint® slide presentations.

I have had excellent results taking the ideas described in this book and applying them in my own presentations. Will this approach work for you? Will this approach work for your audience? Rather than applying ideas blindly, consider the goals, assumptions, and expectations of your audience. This book gives you an interesting way to structure your presentations. But it is only one of the options you have.

To find more information about this book, click here. Happy reading!

October book review: Ready, Set, Dominate

Michael Kennedy, Kent Harmon, Ed Minnock
Ready, Set, Dominate: Implement Toyota's set-based learning for developing products and nobody can catch you.

This is a continuation of the book I reviewed earlier this year: Product Development for the Lean Enterprise. The authors pick up the story of the Infrared Technologies Corporation (IRT) a year later. The company has piloted bits and pieces of the Toyota System with various levels of success. The progress is visible but it is not sufficient to achieve the company goals. To make matters worse, the Board of Directors has run out of patience with IRT's poor financial performance and has hired a new Chief Financial Officer to improve profits fast. The new CFO does not believe in product development transformation efforts and recommends a different strategy: selling non-profitable side of business, outsourcing manufacturing, reducing cost through an across-the-board workforce reduction, and using profits to buy high-growth and high-profit companies...

No doubt, IRT faces serious challenges: market share is shrinking, overhead is increasing, and profits are deteriorating. Will the company be able to turn the situation around? Read this book to find out!

In the form of a business novel, the authors allow us to experience a journey towards Lean Product Development with the focus on Lean Knowledge Management. They point out common implementation mistakes and show how to effectively integrate the flow of innovative knowledge into a planned cadence of product releases.

Included with the book are case studies of two companies that have been successful at understanding and applying Toyota principles. I would like to quote one of them: "... once the desired specification was put on paper, it was viewed as an absolute requirement. No variance from the goal was acceptable. Since the requirements were not a variable, the only variables left were time and money. That meant missed schedules and cost overrruns."

Happy reading!

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