Jim Benson
Incorporating lessons from a multi-disciplinary background that includes psychology, urban planning, government technology planning, software development, and corporate change management, Jim Benson specializes in the management of knowledge work. Over the course of his 23 year career, he has acquired a rich understanding for how people process information, set goals, and achieve their objectives.

He is the 2012 winner of the Brickell Key Award for excellence in Lean thinking from the Lean Systems Society (LSS) and is also a Fellow of LSS.

In 2007, he started Modus Cooperandi. As the name suggests, Jim believes that the successful completion of any project requires systemic cooperation. To this end, he works with all elements of a project: the individual, the team, and the organization as a whole to ensure that systems are in place that guarantee excellent communication and collaboration.

With that collaborative framework in place, a culture of continuous improvement can result – a culture that actively seeks out opportunities to improve job satisfaction and/or performance. Since starting Modus, Jim has helped The World Bank, NBC Universal, The United Nations, The Library Corporation, Comcast, R.W. Baird and others find collaborative solutions, identify and implement improvements, and create more innovative cultures.

Jim is also the creator of “Personal Kanban,” a way to visualize, track and improve upon an existing process,  and co-author of the Shingo award-winning book of the same name. Knowledge work is a fundamentally tricky type of work, as those engaged in this type of work are by nature inventive. Invention and innovation are unpredictable, and related tasks are often amorphous. For the past two decades Jim has worked at uncovering ways for groups to find clarity in unpredictable and amorphous environments.

Prior to Modus, Jim owned Gray Hill Solutions, a software development firm that focused on government contracts. During this time, he and his teams created software for hire for clients with extremely specific needs. Deadlines, regulations, and strict budget adherence meant that Gray Hill projects needed internal processes that guaranteed quality on-time delivery, and external communications strategies that kept clients informed at every step.

Prior to Gray Hill, Jim was ran the transportation technology group for David Evans and Associates, a Top 50 Consulting Engineering Firm. He led transportation teams from small parking studies to the major freeway and transit construction projects.

Jim understands the trade-offs between marketing and development that inevitably arise in both government and private industry. His Lean and Agile project management backgrounds help him clearly express current work to staff and dynamically prioritize work based on current business needs.

An internationally recognized speaker and writer, he followed up the 2011 release of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life with Why Plans Fail: Why Business Decision Making Is More Than Just Business. His next works, Why Limit WIP and Why Kanban Works, will be released later this year.

Jim has a degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University and Postgraduate studies in Transit Station Location and New Town Development from Meikai University in Tokyo, Japan.

Alaine MackenzieJim Benson