I’ve been having fun at work the last few days. My problem when I started on Monday, other than the obvious “I’ve just been sitting on my butt for the last four weeks and now you want me to work my brain?!” issues was that I wrapped things up so neatly before we left that I didn’t have any open projects to work on when I get in. Mostly. There were a few things I started working on, but I kept running into places where I was waiting on other people to get their things done first. Things are still moving really slowly, but I’m starting to find open projects that I can put my time into.
The last two days especially, I’ve been having a blast.
I’m working on getting my Lean Specialist certificate. I’ve gone through training, but I won’t qualify for my certification until I take a project through to completion. To simplify it a lot, my project is taking documents from several different people in my department and merging them together in a way that’s maintainable and makes sense.
Anyway, I found my team members on Tuesday and set up a meeting time for Tuesday next week. Since then, I’ve been reading through my training book and working out what we’re going to do in that meeting and how we’re going to tackle this problem. I’ve been having more fun with PowerPoint than is appropriate.
And I’m not talking one of those distracting presentation tricks like making the words fly in from the sides and spin in circles and flash in different colors. I’m talking subtle, professional things that are way too much fun. Like, on a list, once we’re done discussing one point, when the next point comes up, the one above it fades to a lighter color, so it’s still readable, but not as obvious as the next one on the list. And it happens at the same time as the second one, with no unnecessary clicking on my part. I have accompanying illustrations that are appropriate and not using those stick people that have been overdone so many times. I have lists that fade into view after a short delay so I can keep talking and they’ll show up without me having to click.
And, coolest of all, I have a slide that once I click a button, it’ll start a timer and if I haven’t moved away from that slide in the set amount of time, it will show a picture of an hourglass spinning, making me focus the conversation and get on with the meeting.
I think it’s amazing. I’ve never had the opportunity to play with PowerPoint before. I’ve never really done presentations and the people I’ve worked for in the past preferred to make their own presentations. But I’ve been having so much fun, I’ve already laid out the next three meetings. They’ll change, of course, as I find out how much we can get through in 50 minutes and what sort of people I have on my team, but I got done with one and thought, “That was great! What am I going to do with the meeting after this one?”
One of my presentations, we’re going to create a current-state value stream map. It’s a complicated thing to look at and it tends to be overwhelming to people who haven’t done one before. So my presentation will go step by step through the process. The first steps happen at opposite sides of the document—the customer’s name goes at the top right corner and the supplier name goes at the top left corner. I have an arrow pointing at the right side that spins around to the left side at that step (while the first step fades to a lighter color). We start putting up data boxes from the end of the process and work our way to the beginning, working from right to left. I have an arrow that floats from the right side of the screen to the left side.
And those are pretty obvious animations, but those are the only obvious ones. The others fit so smoothly into the presentation that they’re hardly obvious at all.
And I love it.
I asked the two gentlemen who are basically my Lean advisors to check over the document and let me know their thoughts. One thought it was the best initial meeting presentation he’s ever seen. And he likes my technique. The other also said it was nicely done. He warned that when I get to management level, when I present my finished project, I’m not going to be able to be so fancy with it. No rotating clocks. Managers don’t have time for that. But I expected that to be the case. The presentation I give at that time will follow official guidelines for presentations.
Until then, I’m having a blast. I’m stuck right now because I’m not totally sure what we’re going to cover in the fourth (possibly fifth if the VSM takes too long). But I’m pretty sure I can find other projects to work on while I think about that.