• How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers - This idea is simple. Creating an environment where this is actual the way things are, not just the way things are said to be, is difficult. That is why I believe so strongly in Deming's management philosophy. The organization must be viewed as a whole. Benefits can be gained by adopting some concepts in a piecemeal manner. However, many benefits accrue only when the positive interactions between Toyota Production System (TPS - Lean) concepts occur... more
  • Operational Definitions - This leads me to suspect that 'washing your hands' might not be operationally defined as running your hands under the water but instead using soap and water for something close to 20 seconds. But the sources explaining the methodology they don't define what is considered 'washing your hands.' When collecting and reporting data it is important to include the operational definitions associated with that data.
  • I finally have posted photos from my June 2005 trip to North Cascades National Park. See more photos from the same trip: Mount Saint Helens, Olympic National Park, North Cascade National Park. Photos from other trips: Curious Cat Travel Photos.

  • Leverage Universities to Transform State Economy - The authors want to increase the investment in engineering education (which I support). The other funding options (at public schools where politicians are heavily involved), often have more vocal special interest group backing, and more immediate and direct visible benefits. The challenge is to raise the awareness of the decision makers and the public that the long term benefits of such investments are the best decision to make.
  • Deming on Management I have added a new section to Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections titled: Deming on Management.
    W. Edwards Deming's management ideas have greatly influenced modern management practice. Many quotes and thoughts are attributed to him. Sometimes these represent his ideas accurately, and sometimes they do not. In the Deming on Management section, I attempt to clearly indicate what he actual said and include some of my thoughts on the topic. continued
  • Japan Airlines using Toyota Production System Principles
    By applying the ingenuity and originality of the Toyota Production System to their cargo operations at Tokyo's Narita Airport, Japan Airlines are on the way to saving millions of dollars annually and making huge strides in improving efficiency and productivity, while at the same time maintaining service quality and safety.
    more on TPS at JAL
  • Six Sigma Success?
    Six Sigma efforts are missing some import ideas that would improve them, in my opinion. Still, I would rather take a good Six Sigma effort and then add more of Deming's ideas than take a company that has not had any such effort (just like I would like to build on a good implementation of "TQM" or Lean Thinking...).
  • W. Edwards Deming described the purpose of an organization in the New Economics, on page 51, as: The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain - stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment - over the long term.
    Like so much of what Deming said that makes sense to me. It is my sense the "conventional wisdom" would state something more along the lines of the purpose of a company is to make money. I would not agree. Rewarding the owners is important, but other stakeholders should be included in the purpose. continued
  • After efficiency study, L.A. jail saves time processing crime: Chief William Bratton told the Board of Police Commissioners that Toyota methods have produced dramatic changes in a jail division once beset by delays, inefficient transportation, personnel shortages and troubles with medical treatment.
    The City of Madison Police Department applied Deming's ideas in the 1980's. Quality Improvement and Government: Ten Hard Lessons From the Madison Experience by David C. Couper, Chief of Police, City of Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
  • Investing in Science and Engineering
    Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: "It may come as a surprise that, in the most recent year for which data is available (2000), out of 2.8 million first university degrees in science and engineering granted worldwide, only 400,000 were granted in the U.S.A. while European universities granted 830,000 and 1.2 million were earned by Asian students in Asian universities." continued
  • Less Common uses of Design of Experiments
    I am reminded of an article by my father, William G. Hunter, from 1975: 101 Ways to Design an Experiment, or Some Ideas About Teaching Design of Experiments. Examples of the topics of the designed experiments his students performed:
    • taste of stewed chicken
    • quality of ground malt for brewing beer
    • distance football was kicked
  • continued
  • I highly recommend reading this article by David Anderson. My work happens to straddle both the management improvement and software development areas that this article covers. But, if you are interested in either area, this article offers some great material. And if you are interested in both, you are in for a treat.
    Stretching Agile to fit CMMI Level 3: "At Microsoft, we've adopted the teachings of W. Edwards Deming and stretched our MSF for Agile Software Development method to fit the requirements for CMMI Level 3. The resultant MSF for CMMI Process Improvement is a highly iterative, adaptive planning method, light on documentation, and heavily automated through tooling."
  • New Toyota CEO's Views: I believe they are getting better over time but they still have a long way to go. With a result based on common cause you want to look at the entire system when designing an improvement plan not at the root cause of the seat belt issue. See Responding to Variation online and the book, Forth Generation Management, by Brian Joiner. continued
  • Management is Prediction
    I believe Deming's thoughts about prediction are most effectively put into action using the PDSA cycle. Specifically, you must predict what the results in the planning phase (prior to piloting improvements). I find that this is rarely done. I don't think the form of that prediction is critical narrative with loose numerical guesses, precise numerical prediction...). The critical issue is making the prediction, then comparing the results to that prediction and then figuring out how your original understanding can be improved based on the new data.
  • Could Toyota Fix GM
    Yes, Toyota could fix GM. Even the right leaders and managers, within GM, could fix GM but it is a huge long term job and it would be harder to do it internally because you will have to do it while competing with Toyota. Also they have some difficult issues to deal with since their previous managers did not thank of the long term (20-50 years out from the decisions they were making in the 70s though 90s).
    I wouldn't buy GM if I were Toyota, though. Why bother. Just grow Toyota, it is working very well so far... continued