Starting a Book Club

I am sometimes asked what is the smallest useful step that a company can take to move forward with the ideas in the book. One good choice is to form a book club to progressively read and discuss the book. This is attractive because it is inexpensive and it doesn’t require a large batch time commitment. Furthermore, when a group of people reads the same material they look at it from different viewpoints. And, even when some of them don’t have time to read the planned material, they can learn from the other people who did.

I have seen such book clubs done in a single company, and I have seen them done as a community project that spans a group of companies, such as in a Lean Meet-up group.

To aid anyone trying this I have solicited some advice from people who have already used such Book Clubs. If you have also done this, I welcome your ideas – they can help the overall community.

Book Club Experience Reports

Michel Tyrsted – Lego, Denmark

  1. We scheduled a series of weekly meetings with a group of 4 to 6 people.
  2. Each week we cover 1 to 3 chapters – one chapter per week is probably too slow and three chapters is probably the maximum that can be covered.
  3. We normally can cover 5 to 7 principles at a time, and specifically select the ones that are most applicable to our current situation.
  4. For us, the book club has proved an effective way to lead upwards and influence higher levels of management.
  5. Our meetings normally last 60 to 90 minutes.
  6. It is not necessary, but it is helpful if one of the club members has attended one of Don’s workshops.
  7. Shifting the mindset takes time. One of our early impacts was a shift away from emphasizing developer utilization to paying attention to value and throughput.
  8. The first two book clubs have been completed successfully, and new ones are being scheduled.

If you have you own tips regarding book clubs please contact me and, with your permission, I’d like to add them to this page.