Modus Cooperandi

We Help Design
Thoughtful Organizations

Work With Us

Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria help
individuals, teams, and organizations
build systems that get work done and
produce value they can be proud of.

Courtesy RW Baird, Milwaukee, WI


See your work. Set limits to stay within capacity. Simple rules foster massive returns.When priorities shift, the team easily shifts with them.

Courtesy The Library Corp, Inwood, WV


Teams (and managers) know what work is in flight, who is doing what, who needs help, what is stuck, what work remains, what the priorities are, and what is completed at a glance.

Courtesy Grand Rapids Fire Department


Visual systems for teams extend into meetings, providing powerful new formats to hold quick, meaningful, and productive working sessions.

Announcing the Modus Institute

Lean Agile Visual Management Program

The New, Improved Modus Institute.

RIGHT NOW: Everywhere - Launches January 2021

The Lean Agile Visual Management Certification and Accreditation Program

Whether you’re a solo-preneur or work in a large team, a workforce "veteran" or just beginning your professional career, join us to learn how to STRESS LESS. FOCUS BETTER, COMPLETE QUALITY WORK, COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE more EFFECTIVELY, and surface opportunities for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT.

The Pain:

Individuals, teams, and organizations constantly feel the pain of overload. Plagued by constant distractions, ambiguous and ever-changing priorities, and a seemingly endless workload-in-flight, while constantly negotiating (and re-negotiating) deadlines, we can't seem to focus, finish, prioritize, or even plan our day let alone improve our work or the way we go about doing it. But not to worry - this is a solved problem.

The Solution:

Visual management is actively taking the information we all need, but tend to hide, and explicitly making is useful. Seeing workflow, decisions, expectations, improvement, onboarding, and alignment visually leads us all to visualize, track, communicate, collaborate on, and improve your work in a brain-friendly way.

Creator of Personal Kanban Jim Benson, along with Tonianne DeMaria, his co-author for the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, will teach you how to build flexible collaborative systems to understand, plan, and act on real options.

Pre-registration is live for our first cohort with a massive first-wave discount. Learn from whereever you are and at your own pace. Perfect for the Covid-era, both because of the subjects and how the Modus Institute online community supports students.

See more about the LA-VM Program

The Road to
a Healthy Company

is not paved with the actions of other companies

We believe that there are lessons everywhere, but not blueprints.
Learn from Toyota or Spotify or Herman Miller.

Don't copy them, own your Modus.

Your company has a unique culture comprised of unique people who build a unique product for unique customers. Why would you take your process from someone else's playbook? Your company's way-of-working - its Modus - is too personal and too important to cut and paste from another company.

A healthy organization’s design requires participation from you. It requires you and your teams to get together and define what is important, how you work together, what you need from your customers, and how you want to grow into the future.

You need to own your own process. You need to own internal agreements about how you work. You need to own your culture.

You need to own your Modus.

Your Modus is how your company works and acts right now, and you can change that at any time. You can see your status quo as a trap, “That’s how we’ve always done things around here.” Or you can see it simply as a “Where you are currently” and use it as a launchpad for improving the way you work.

You either change based on what (sort of) worked for someone else somewhere else, or you change based on your real context. You have control.

We help companies achieve performance through collaboration - their Modus Cooperandi. We help you build ways of working tailored to your needs and supportive of your people. After all, it’s your people that make your company work. They’re the ones who solve problems and innovate. The ones who actually bring value to your customers.

Curious? Let's talk about a few clients...

Contact Us

Turner Construction

New York, New York

A Client Story

Building Skyscrapers is Harder Than You Might Think

Turner Construction is a 117 year old global construction firm headquartered in New York. The amount of teamwork involved in estimating, procuring, and building a modern structure boggles the mind. Dozens of companies, hundreds of people, designers, architects, plumbers, woodworkers, steelworkers, tile setters, and on and on. It is an arcane dance that involves constant learning, constant communication, and expert adjustment to keep to the schedule, to the budget, and especially to keep everyone safe. We worked with Turner in all aspects of planning, procurement, and construction to visualize work, increase the fidelity of communication, and provide constancy of purpose for all involved in their jointly herculean task.

Collaboratively Creating a New Way of Working

Everyone Involved

Visualizing real time work and long term milestones - responsive and responsible systems

The World Bank

Washington, DC

One Week that Helped the Entire Planet.

Short projects can yield amazing results. In a one-week writeshop, we worked with 12 researchers and scientists from 11 countries to create the REDD+ report - a document that set the standard for providing carbon credit monies to individual landowners around the world. To do this, we employed a simple collaborative way of working that allowed all 12 professionals to make the most of the expertise in the room and create their own product at the same time. Partially visual, but strongly collaborative, this system resulted in a concise, understandable product.

Geolocation Services

Vaughan, Ontario

Before You Can Focus, You Need Shared Understanding

Visualizations and collaboration are great, but the team needs to understand what they are building, why they are building it, and the steps they taketo build it. What are we doing and when? Who is responsible for what decisions? What do handoffs look like? When do we talk to the customer? When do we talk to each other?

At Trimble, through value stream mapping, Lean Coffees, and other exercises, we worked with a team of 18 years to come to an agreement of how they worked every day (and it wasn't always easy). We helped them replace assumptions with understanding, so they could focus, finish, and fine-tune without a lot of unnecessary conversation.

Why These Matter

What We Really Do

Modus Cooperandi's Secret Sauce

We have been thrilled and humbled to have worked with Spotify, the United Nations, Legal Seafoods, Riot Games, JP Morgan, Limeade, Northwestern Mutual, and a host of other interesting companies. Each place has had its own character, its own culture, its own reason for being. In no company has business process been more important than the people doing the work. In the end, we believe that process is their social contract -- how they decide to work together, how they express their professional acumen, how they find professional satisfaction.

W. Edwards Deming said "A bad system will beat a good person every time," we have seen time and again that when we build good systems teams become more focused, more effective, and happier. Teams in that state are more profitable, more in touch with their customers, and just plain give a damn.

If this sounds attractive to you, we should talk.