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- Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations
measure [parameter] in the hopes of improving [goal]
When dysfunction occurs, the values of [parameter] go up comfortingly, but the values of [goal] get worse. Dysfunction often occurs.
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- More Lean Thinking Applied in Government (2005)
Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center:
the Tanker Division utilized an array of process improvement tools to facilitate improvements while increasing quality, efficiency and safety; thus enabling them to become the benchmark effort in lean implementation for Tinker Air Force Base. The results were dramatic: within four years, the average yearly flow time for a KC-135 PDM dropped 52%, the number of aircraft on station (WIP) decreased 49%, and capacity increased 75%.
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- Lean Government
I was one of the founding board members on the ASQ Public Sector Network (now the ASQ Government Division). I also, created and have maintained the Public Sector Continuous Improvement web site for a decade (some additional details on my background).
There have been many great efforts in the government, but still so much more needs to be done.
Here are articles exploring what has been done:
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- The Dramatic Spread of Lean Thinking
Life indeed will be better for all of us with the improvement of management. The benefits of economic success are large. Good jobs are desired everywhere: USA, India, Germany, Singapore… Those jobs provide positive externalities that create a reinforcing loop of improving conditions.
There are many important factors (education, investment, political stability, rule of law…) to economic success. Effective management is among the factors that can provide dramatic increases in the standard of living of a country or community.
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- Statistical Techniques for Quality
As six sigma has taken the business world by storm in the past 15 years, many organizations have focused on acquiring and implementing the DMAIC methodology with performance benchmarks defined by “sigma levels”. However, after perhaps proclaiming the “six sigma organization” label for the company, it is important for the business leaders to look beyond immediate concerns, i.e. those issues embodied in black belt projects, and adopt holistic and forward-looking perspectives in seriously advancing organizational interests.
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- Innovation and the Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a license that lets the creators of intellectual property clearly define how that property may be used by others. Partially this license is a reaction to the poor way copyright law is being viewed today (see links below).
Partially it is tool that gives creators a way to provide for more interaction with their ideas. And this interaction is a great way to market, in the right circumstances. More managers should be thinking about how their organizations can use this tool to improve performance.
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- Performance Without Appraisal
The comments on the mini-microsoft blog shows performance appraisal continues to be an emotional topic. People on opposite sides of the debate are very passionate.
I admit it took me longer to accept Dr. Deming’s thoughts on performance appraisal than other ideas (and that is even with Peter Scholtes being a friend which gave me the opportunity to discuss the idea with him). So I understand it is not an easy concept to accept.
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- Managing the Supplier Relationship, at Ford and Elsewhere
Ford said they were committed to the Deming philosophy in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Donald Petersen, former CEO of Ford Motor Company, was one of those included in the Deming Library Tapes.
Nothing has changed from 1990 to today [October 2005] that explains why Ford saying they are going to deal with suppliers differently now should work any better then such statements 15 years ago. Until they acknowledge what problems in their management system have caused them to fail to use sensible management practices that have been well know for decades I see no reason to believe their claims that they will behave differently this time.
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- 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 (as systems thinking would predict).
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- SPC: History and Understanding
Setting control limits at 3 standard deviations is a decision based on experience. Shewhart, Deming and others determined it was sensible to take resources to look for a special cause was most effective for results more than 3 standard deviations from the mean – it is not a mathematical conclusion but a empirical conclusion.
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- Operational Definitions and Data Collection
Claims are often made about results that only are justified based on unstated assumptions about the real world results that the data are meant to represent. But those claims are undermined when there is no evidence provided that the assumptions are valid. Without operational definitions for the data there is a significant risk of making claims about what the data means that are not valid.
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- Measurement and Data Collection
I find it useful to ask what will be done with the results of data collection efforts (in order to confirm that the effort is a wise use of resources). If you don’t have an answer for how you will use the data, once you get it, then you probably shouldn’t waste resources collecting it (and I find there is frequently no plan for using the results).
I have found it helpful to ask: what will you do if the data we collect is 30? What will you do if it is 3? The answer does not need to be some formula, if 30 then x. But rather that the results would be used to help inform a decision process to make improvements (possibly the decision to focus resources in that area). I find, that asking that question often helps reach a better understanding of what data is actually needed, so you then collect better data.
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- Deming and Six Sigma
I agree aspects of Six Sigma are bad. I also think some aspects of Six Sigma are good. And I think the same things about TQM.
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- Six Sigma Pitfalls
When people say “Six Sigma is great” or “Six Sigma is a waste” often they are talking about different things. But because in both instances “Six Sigma” is used people believe that the meaning must be the same in both cases. It often isn’t. While I find some Six Sigma efforts, books or consultants very useful many others (that also use the words “Six Sigma”) do not offer much of value.
What exactly is meant by “Six Sigma” varies quite a bit. And execution is critical to what makes one program succeed and another fail.
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- The Purpose of an Organization
W. Edwards Deming described the purpose of an organization in 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.
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