Category Archives: Career

Involve IT Staff in Business Process Improvement

I started out basically working on management improvement from the start of my career. My makeup (I am never satisfied and figure things should always be better) along with a few traits, experiences and probably even genes made this a natural fit for me. I tend to take the long view and find fire fighting a waste of time. Why fix some symptom, I want to fix the system so that problem doesn’t happen again. My father worked in statistics, engineering and business improvement and as I was growing up I had plenty of experience with process improvement, understanding variation, experimenting, measuring results

I came into the IT world as I had needs and found the best solution was to write some software to help me accomplish what I wanted to. One thing that better software tools allowed is this type of thing when organizations failed to use technology well, individuals could just do so themselves. Without these tools people had to rely on the organization, but today atrophied IT organizations can often be circumvented. Though the IT organizations often try to avoid this largely by bans (instead of by providing the tools people need), which is not a good sign, in my opinion.

I then spent more and more of my time working with technology but I always retained my focus on improving the management of the organization, with technology playing a supporting role in that effort. That is true even as where I sat changed. And I have become more convinced organizations would be served well by using the information technology staff as business process experts.

At one point I sat in the Office of Secretary of Defense, Quality Management Office where I was able to focus on management improvement and using technology to aid that effort. Then I went to the White House Military Office, Customer Support and Organizational Development office and focused largely on how to using technology to meet the mission. Then I was moved into the White House Military Office, Office of Information Technology Management.

And now I work for the American Society for Engineering Education in the Information Technology department. My role started as partially program management and partially software development and as we have grown and hired more software developers I am now nearly completely a program manager.

I believe technology is a central component of understanding business processes today. But the truth is, many business people don’t have as complete an understanding as I feel they should. Now I believe, most anyone interested in planning their management career needs to develop a facility with technology and specifically how to use software applications to improve performance. You don’t need to be an expert programmer but you need to understand the strengths, weakness, limits of technical solutions. You need to understand how technology can be used (and the risks of options).

At the same time I just don’t think it is likely management everywhere will get a decent understanding of application software development. I also believe that in many cases organizations should do software development in house. This is a issue that certainly can be argued (but I won’t do it here). Basically I don’t think organizations should cram their processes into designs required by off the shelf software. Instead I believe they should design processes optimal for their organization and using off the shelf software often does the opposite (forces the process decisions around what software someone decided to buy). There is plenty of use for off the shelf software that doesn’t force you to make your processes fit into them (and sometimes even if it does that is the business decision that has to be made – I just think far too often organizations look at short term costs and not the overall best solutions for the system).
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Improving the Recruitment Process

I have thought the recruiting process for hiring staff was very inefficient. I still think it is very inefficient. I mean that, not only do companies waste time or resources but that we do not do a good job systemically places the right people in the right jobs effectively. So their is waste is the process of hiring but a huge amount of waste in not doing well at finding the best fits for people and jobs. So we have lots of jobs filled with people that are less suited to them than others that would love to be doing the job (and who would do very well) if they had only known about it.

The webcast shows an interview with Gerry Crispin. Interesting statistic he mentioned: without an employee referral a candidate had chances of 200-500 to 1 of being hired, with employee referrals they are about 10-15 to 1. He also said about 30% have employee referrals. Honestly the video doesn’t help me too much but I am desperate to have us improve in this area and maybe others can get more than I can from it. If staff are important to your organization, doing a great job getting the best people for your company should be a process you are proud of. I don’t see many examples of organizations that do this well.

via: Recruitment is a Commodity. Make it an Experience!

Related: Job Listings Online Filled with JargonInterviewing and Hiring ProgrammersIT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Find management improvement jobsThe Software Developer Labor Market

Circle of Influence

In, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey discusses the circle of control, circle of influence and circle of concern. This provides a good framework from which to view issues as you look for improvement strategies.

Within your circle of control you have much more autonomy and have less need to win others over to your plan. However, in practice, even here, you benefit from winning over those who are involved (for example you are their boss).

Our circle of concern covers those things we worry about. Often, we believe because we worry we should find solutions. Problems that fall into this category (but outside our circle of influence) however often prove difficult to tackle. And often people don’t understand why they get frustrated in this case. You can save your energy for more productive activities by seeing some things are outside your influence and avoid wasting your energy on them.

A problem with this, I see in practice however, is that if you are creative many things that people think are beyond their influence are not. With some imagination you can find ways to have influence. Good ideas are powerful. And often that is all that is needed for influence is offering a good idea.

Understanding to what extent an issue is within your control or influence can help a great deal in determining good strategies. Where you have a good chance to influence the process you can focus on strategies that may require much more of your participation to be successfully adopted. As you have less influence such a strategy is likely a poor one.

You should remember, that there is a temporal component to your circle of influence. On some current issue, I may have a very low chance of success for getting the organization to adopt an improvement I think is best. But certain actions can build the understanding that will allow me later to have more influence. This can even be completely separate from how people normally think of circle of influence. By building an organization that moves toward data based decision making and therefore reduces HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) decision making I increase my ability to influence decision making in the future.

Long term thinking is a very powerful, and much under-practiced, strategy. Your influence within an organization is limited today but has great potential to expand, if you act wisely.

Thinking about the extent a current issue falls within your sphere of influence is important it determining the best strategies. But the most valuable insight is to understand how import your sphere of influence is. It determines what strategies you can pursue. And building your sphere of influence should be part of your decision making process.

By taking the long view you can put yourself in good positions to have influence on decisions. There are many ways to do this. My preferred method is fairly boring. Prove yourself to be valuable and you will gain influence. Help people solve their problems. They will be inclined to listen to your ideas. Provide people useful management tools and help them apply them successfully. Help get people, that you know are good, opportunities to succeed. Often this gains you two allies (the person you helped gain the opportunity for and the person that was looking for someone to step in). Work hard and deliver what is important. It isn’t some secret sauce for quick success but if you make those around you successful you grow your circle of influence.

Related: How to ImproveHelping Employees ImproveOperational ExcellenceManagement Advice FailuresManagement Improvement

Learn Lean by Doing Lean

In response to: Developing Your Lean Education Plan

If you actually let the lean leaders practice lean management you are probably doing more to help them learn than anything else. Reading is great, but 10 times better when reading to find solutions you need to deal with issues you have in place. Same for going to conferences. Consultants can be a huge help, but if you just bring in consultants without allowing the changes needed to improve they are not much use.

Far more damaging than not approving training, or giving the lean leaders any time to learn, is not giving them freedom to adopt lean practices and actually make improvements in your organization. That is what kills learning, and the desire to learn.

A great lean education plan: give them opportunities to apply what they know. As they gain knowledge and have success give them more opportunities. I think often lean leaders (and management improvement leaders) have to spend so much effort fighting the resistance in the organization they don’t have the energy to seek out much new knowledge. If you can reduce the effort they have to spend on fighting the bureaucracy most lean leaders will naturally focus on learning what they need for the current and future challenges.

Related: Building Organizational CapacityHelping Employees ImprovePeople are Our Most Important AssetRespect People by Understanding Psychology

Job Listings Online Filled with Jargon

The job market is not great, 9.4% unemployment in the USA, and not efficient either. At my full time job, we hired a ruby on rails developer (web programmer) this month, and are looking to hire another.

Job listings online filled with jargon

With unemployment reaching historic levels, online job search traffic is heating up. Sites like Monster.com, Dice.com, and HotJobs.com are gaining steam with anywhere from a 20-90% increase in traffic in February. Somehow CareerBuilder.com managed to dip 3% but SimplyHired.com achieved a 290% increase in traffic, and other sites like Craigslist and LinkedIn are also gaining momentum.

Job search sites are gaining traffic and providing a great service to the unemployed and unhappily employed. Unfortunately, the inability of corporations and recruiters to provide prospective applicants with sensible job postings threatens to render these sites useless.

Filling the entire job posting with corporate and industry acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon – By filling the job posting with nonsensical jargon, a recruiter further inflates their false sense of importance and also avoids the issue that they know absolutely nothing about the job. The applicant is left wondering whether they just applied for a job responsible for fixing Boeing 747s or installing Kimberly-Clark toilet paper dispensers. Pretty much a toss up.

It’s scary to imagine what job postings might look like in 10 years if this trend continues. If anyone is interested in building a Google Translate with a “Recruiter to English” option, I can serve as your Subject Matter Expert.

In the information technology field the standard practice is to include a large number of basically irrelevant skills as requirements. And then managers wonder why they don’t get decent applicants. You need to include the knowledge, skills and experience you really need and not all sorts of details that an employee can easily pick up, if needed, once they are on the job.

Related: Hiring: Silicon Valley StyleInterviewing and Hiring ProgrammersIT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Joy in Work: Software DevelopmentManagement Improvement Career Connections

Building a Great Workforce

How P&G Finds and Keeps a Prized Workforce by Roger O. Crockett

“We actually recruit for values,” says Chief Operating Officer Robert McDonald. “If you are not inspired to improve lives, this isn’t the company you want to work for.”

The P&G strategy starts on college campuses. The Cincinnati company dispatches line managers rather than human resource staffers to do much of its recruiting.

For the few who get hired, their work life becomes a career-long development process. At every level, P&G has a different “college” to train individuals, and every department has its own “university.” The general manager’s college, which McDonald leads, holds a week-long school term once a year when there are a handful of newly promoted managers. Further training—there are nearly 50 courses—helps managers with technical writing or financial analysis.

Career education takes place outside the classroom, too. P&G pushes every general manager to log at least one foreign assignment of three to five years. Even high-ranking employees visit the homes of consumers to watch how they cook, clean, and generally live, in a practice dubbed “live it, work it.” Managers also visit retail stores, occasionally even scanning and bagging items at checkout lanes, to learn more about customers.

Going to visit the gemba, the actual place is incredibly important, and far too often ignored by managers today.

The emphasis on life long learning (in practice, not just words) is also very wise. In my experience far to little emphasis is placed on continual improvement of what many companies will say is their most important asset: their people. If you don’t invest in education of your staff that is going to harm your long term success. The investment P&G makes shows a respect for people.

Related: Jeff Bezos Spends a Week Working in Amazon’s Kentucky Distribution CenterWorkplace Management by Taiichi OhnoRespect for People, Understanding PsychologyOhno Circle
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Build Your Business Slowly and Without Huge Cash Requirements

Get Rich Slow by Josh Quittner

At no other time in recent history has it been easier or cheaper to start a new kind of company… These are Web-based businesses that cost almost nothing to get off the ground

The term ramen profitable was coined by Paul Graham, a Silicon Valley start-up investor, essayist and muse to LILO entrepreneurs. It means that your start-up is self-sustaining and can eke out enough profit to keep you alive on instant noodles while your business gains traction.

“At this point, it would be hard for companies to get any cheaper,” Graham said. Since everyone already has an Internet-connected computer, “it’s gotten to the point that you can’t detect the cost of a company when added to a person’s living expenses. A company is no more expensive than a hobby these days.”

I see a great deal of truth to this and it provides interesting opportunities. Including being able to build a business slowly while still working full time. I have written about Y-combinator previously they have helped make this model popular. And the services these companies make seem to me to often be much more refreshing than ideas so watered down they lose much passion (so common from so many companies). Though some large companies provide great web sites.

Related: Some Good IT Business IdeasFind Joy and Success in BusinessOur Policy is to Stick Our Heads in the SandSmall Business Profit and Cash Flow

Out of the Crisis Seminar

I will be co-presenting an Out of the Crisis seminar for the W. Edwards Deming Institute next month, April 20-22, in Philadelphia.

Companies around the world are on the brink of destruction. When they get bailed out, or economies improve, they won’t survive if they continue to make products and provide services the same way as before, with the same style of management. They need to change.

It was the ideas of an American, W. Edwards Deming, that transformed Japanese industry after the devastation wrought by World War II. More than fifty years later, American businesses and much of the rest of the world find themselves in a somewhat similar position. Isn’t it time for American industry to wake up? Management practices need to change!

This seminar will help you work on transformation of management practices at your organization. It will show how current governance practice leads to the heaviest losses, how inconsistencies between policy and strategy create sub-optimal outcomes, how mismanagement of people leads to unethical and ineffective behavior. You will learn how to overcome these problems and focus on creating a system of continual improvement, just as Toyota and other Japanese firms did some fifty years ago.

You may find more information and register online. I hope to see you there.

Related: Deming Institute Conference: Tom NolanLouisville Slugger – Deming PracticesCurious Cat Management Improvement Calendar6 Leadership CompetenciesDeming Conference 2005

What to Wear to an Interview

Response to What to Wear for an IT Job Interview?. Is this just a huge bit stereotypical?

Who can blame them for not wanting to bother with their wardrobes? Fashion is fickle. Fashion is expensive. Fashion requires imagination and inspiration, and let’s face it, after a long day spent debugging code or trouble-shooting computer problems, there’s not a lot of creativity left for clothing.

But if there’s one professional occasion when a tech worker should think fashion first, it’s the job interview. CIOs says so. According to research conducted by Robert Half Technology, more than one-third (35 percent) of CIOs surveyed say that IT professionals should sport a suit for a job interview.

I don’t see any harm in wearing a suit and tie or such business attire if you have no other information to go on for IT, or other employees. That advice to candidates is perfectly fine. Asking what is appropriate attire when the interview is set is also a good idea. In fact, that is all you need to take from this post as an interviewee, in my opinion.

Is there any value in you wearing a suit? If so, then not doing so might be a negative. The psychology of what makes people uncomfortable is tricky. And dress is one of those factors that may seem trivial but to differing extents most people base opinions partial on dress (even if they claim they don’t). Some organization with casual dress codes may also look at being too dressed up as a bad sign (out of touch…). Basically they are experiencing the same discomfort with your dress even though most likely they would profess to find those making judgments based on dress to be superficial. The Manager FAQ does a good job of looking at the thought process behind some managers thinking on the topic.

My manager seems to dress funny. Is there any way to impress upon him the pointlessness of corporate appearance?

Your manager is probably aware that, in the abstract, the way she dresses changes nothing. However, part of her job is to interact with other people, and there are rules of etiquette for these dealings. Your manager’s clothing, even when she’s not dealing with other people, is selected in part as a way of telling you that she takes you seriously; it’s just like calling people “sir”. It’s a convention, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real convention, and your manager is honoring it.

Even if there is no value to doing so there are many people who make judgments on silly factors like clothing.

Now for the most important point for manager’s, from this post, if you evaluate software developers on how they dress please quit and go work in some other line of work. You really don’t have what is needed to manage software developers or system administrators. If you are hiring someone to sit in meetings with MBAs and translate technology to them, then maybe being comfortable in a suit is a valued trait. But if you are hiring someone to create code 90+% of the time the suit is a completely silly measurement of value.

Related: Curious Cat Management Improvement JobsIT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Hiring the Right WorkersGoogle’s Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm
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Cutting Hours Instead of People

When financial and economic realities reach the point that labor costs must be cut I believe a good option to consider is cutting hours (and pay) instead of people. Some people will have extreme hardship if the cut in hours and pay is significant, but once you get is a bad situation no answers are likely to be without problems. I would try to offer the cuts to those that want them first. I would likely take an unpaid sabbatical, if offered, and the organization was in financial trouble.

Another way of doing something similar is profit sharing (where costs go down when profits go down). You should be careful how such sharing is designed, it can create bad incentives if done incorrectly. Also by paying a portion of wages as bonuses that expense can be reduced when times are bad without layoffs.


The Rise of the Four-Day Work Week

Like many companies, Pella is looking to cut expenses because of the economic downturn. But instead of laying off more workers, the Iowa manufacturer of windows and doors is instituting a four-day workweek for about a third of its 3,900 employees. Chris Simpson, a senior vice-president at the company, acknowledges it’s an unconventional move… it doesn’t want to be caught short of experienced workers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employees who normally work full-time but now clock fewer than 35 hours a week because of poor business conditions has climbed 72%, to 2.57 million in November 2008, from 1.49 million in November 2007.

Related: Bad Management Results in LayoffsSome Firms Cut Costs Without Resorting to LayoffsOperational Excellenceposts on respect for employees

Eric Schmidt on Management at Google

   
Eric Schmidt speaks at the Management Lab Summit on May 29, 2008 in Half Moon Bay, California. Conversation with Professor Gary Hamel.

  • “The culture can be thought of as a ship and iterate culture with transparency for what people are doing. And that model scales pretty well.”
  • “I have two jobs, two roles. The first is to make sure every issue that is important is really debated to find, not the common outcome, but the best decision… second thing is to put pressure to make it happen quick.”
  • “it [managing better] starts with listening, it has to do with curiosity
  • “everything has to be based on some fact”
  • “It’s only about the people.” [respect for people is critical, Google really acts as though the people are their most important asset – John].
  • “What is the number 1 goal of the company? It is end user happiness with search. What is the number 2 goal? It’s end user happiness with advertising. What is the number 3 goal? The construction of the Google network of partners to effectuate the first two. What is the number 4 goal? To grow and scale the business… You will eventually get extraordinary returns for your shareholders and maximize advertiser happiness if all those things happen… There are a lot of business executives that get confused on what the goal is and they think that shareholder value is the goal. Shareholder value is a consequence of the goal.”

Related: Eric Schmidt Podcast on Google Innovation and EntrepreneurshipInterview with Google CEO Eric SchmidtInnovation at GoogleGoogle: Experiment Quickly and OftenMarissa Mayer Webcast on Google InnovationGoogle Management by Gary HamelLarry Page and Sergey Brin Interview Webcast

Best Places to Work for Six Sigma Professionals

iSixSigma has created a list of the Best Places to Work for Six Sigma Professionals. To be eligible to participate, companies must have been actively engaged in using Six Sigma for at least two years and must employ a minimum of 30 full-time Six Sigma practitioners in either Black Belt, Master Black Belt or Deployment Leader roles.

Sixteen companies met all the entry requirements and completed a two-part online survey. The senior Six Sigma leader submitted answers to an employer survey, and the full-time Six Sigma personnel at each company submitted answers to an employee survey.

Companies were ranked 1 through 10 by totaling the scores from the two surveys. The greatest weight was given to the employee survey, which asked questions in five main categories: job satisfaction, culture, compensation/rewards and recognition, training and career development, and net promoter score (NPS). Of these categories, the most weight was given to job satisfaction, as that is what employees said was the most important factor to them when it comes to a working environment. The companies, in alphabetical order:

  • Chevron
  • EMC
  • Masco Builder Cabinet Group
  • McKesson
  • NewPage
  • Rio Tinto Alcan
  • Textron
  • Volt Information Sciences
  • Vought Aircraft Industries
  • Xerox

The rankings will be revealed later. The details are from from convincing to me that these are indeed the top 10 organization for six sigma professionals. However, it does seem a good list for someone looking for a new job working with six sigma to consult.

Related: Deming and Six SigmaSix Sigma SuccessAgility vs. Six Sigmaposts on management careersSeduce Them With Six Sigma Success

Keeping Good Employees

Understanding Why Good Workers Quit

“What do you need to want to stay?” Most managers, she acknowledges, are afraid to ask this question and that is a reason why their companies have to do plenty of exit interviews. When stay interviews are part of the culture—and this is a practice in very few companies—attrition of the people you don’t want to lose plummets.

“Ask them directly: What can we do to keep you?,” urges Kaye. And don’t be shy or dishonest. If the employee asks for things you cannot deliver, be direct in acknowledging it but also indicate what you can do. Know, too, that just by talking to employees in this way you are scoring points because it’s something that just does not happen in most companies.

More concretely, Karen Fink, vice president of human resources for Edmunds.com, said that the glue her company uses to keep top IT workers is as simple as interesting work. “Technical workers tend to remain with an organization where they have the opportunity to contribute to interesting projects that stretch their skill sets and where they have the opportunity to be educated on the latest technologies.”

Good advice. I like direct, simple, questions. What can we do to keep you? What do you enjoy about your job? What do you dislike? What can I do to increase your joy in work? What one thing would you most like to see changed? What do you want to see continue? Would you like help in some aspect of your career development? What can I do better? Am I providing too much oversight, not enough?

Give honest straight forward answers to questions. If someone wants to move ahead and needs to work harder to advance their career tell them that. If they need to be more cooperative, develop certain skills… tell them. The idea is not just to make the person happy in that meeting. If they need to work on certain things to get where they want then help them do that. Give your best advice and say what they can do to improve.

Related: People are Our Most Important AssetWhat 1 Thing Can We Improve?IT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Silicon Valley Style HiringHow to ImproveRespect for People, Understanding PsychologyThe Joy of Work

Rhode Island Manufacturing

Manufacturing has new look in R.I.

She used the auto industry as an example, pointing out that in the early years of the last century Henry Ford manufactured Model-T’s that were all the same. The consumer today demands a choice in models, colors and a host of other features when buying a car. “Manufacturers must be able to change processes very easily and very quickly,” she said, to meet constantly changing consumer demands.

The closing of an old-fashioned assembly-line, low-wage factory always makes headlines, contributing to the image of the industry as one with a bleak future, Taito noted, while advanced manufacturers who steadily grow and add three or four jobs a year win no notice. “But that’s real growth, sustained growth,” she said of the latter.

Grove said RIMES has promoted the advantages of the lean initiative to Rhode Island manufacturers for about 10 years. “When you adopt lean manufacturing, it becomes the process of the whole shop and, by necessity, employees have to be more of a team than in the past,” he said. On-the-job training is routine at Pilgrim, according to Grove.

Still, the industry’s transition has not been painless. The number of manufacturing jobs in the state has declined steadily. In 2002, there were 64,796 people employed in manufacturing in Rhode Island and, 30 years ago in 1978, there were 134,654, according to figures from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

Yet another illustration of what I have been saying for years. USA manufacturing continues to grow and USA manufacturing jobs continue to shrink (as do worldwide manufacturing jobs). And as I have been saying for years, China manufacturing output continues to grow very quickly and China manufacturing jobs continue to shrink (China lost 7 times as many manufacturing jobs as the USA from 1995-2002).

Related: Manufacturing and the Economy (2005 post)Creating JobsTop 10 Manufacturing Countries 2006America’s Manufacturing FutureWisconsin ManufacturingManufacturing Employee Shortage in Utah

Mississippi Plans Manufacturing Management Center

Ole Miss plans manufacturing center

Ole Miss plans to build a center to teach manufacturing management skills. Gov. Haley Barbour, Ole Miss officials and Toyota executives announced the $22 million Center for Manufacturing Excellence on Monday in Jackson. Construction of the 47,000- square-foot center could start this fall.

“We in Mississippi continue to have a larger percentage of our population employed in manufacturing than the country as a whole,” Barbour said. “One way to help our businesses innovate and stay successful is to give them world-class people to employ, whether it’s engineers or business majors or people who work on the line.”

By teaching principles of lean manufacturing, total quality management and just-in-time inventory delivery, the center will produce workers for many sectors including aerospace, electronics, technology and polymer sciences.

The center’s funding comes from the state’s $323.9 million incentive package for Toyota. The automaker is building a $1.3 billion plant in Blue Springs, about 50 miles from Oxford. Toyota reset the opening of the plant from early 2010 to May 2010 for economic and model-changeover reasons.

The center will offer four bachelor’s degree programs, two business-related and two engineering-related, all with a manufacturing emphasis. Barbour and Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat will appoint a board to create a curriculum and oversee the center.

“We have completed the building drawings and expect to be receiving bids shortly. I would hope that construction would begin this fall,” Khayat said.

He said he expects 20 to 40 students the first year, with enrollment increasing dramatically in the following years. Most of the initial students likely will switch their majors from engineering or business. The interdisciplinary program will include cooperatives and externships.

“We’re going to see an interesting marriage between engineering and business. We think it will be a model for the future of manufacturing,” Khayat said.

Related: Engineering Innovation for Manufacturing and the EconomyManufacturing Employee Shortage in UtahGlobal Manufacturing Data by Country (Feb 2006 post)Trends in Manufacturing Jobs

Management Improvement Jobs

Curious Cat Management Improvement Career Connections provides a source of jobs targeted to those interested in this blog. Take a look at the jobs listed now including: Lean Manager at Erlanger in Kentucky; Senior Lean Six Sigma Specialist at Cooper Crouse-Hinds in New York and CEO of Jefferson State Forest Products in California.

At the recent Deming Seminar in Colorado Springs I met the CEO of upstream21, which owns Jefferson State Forest Products: Bryan Redd. He has a great understanding of how to put Deming and lean manufacturing ideas into practice. Having a boss that is knowledgeable and passionate about the management improvement is a huge plus. I think this is a great opportunity.

So if you are interested in looking at new career opportunities look at the jobs posted on the job board and good luck. And if you have a management improvement opening, go ahead an add the opportunity.

Related: Signs You Have a Great Job, or NotDeming CompaniesHiring the Right Employees

Internships Increasing

Hard to find a job, but not an internship

The bullish market for interns is good news for those in college, who find that internships are increasingly required for landing that first job. The summer posts allow students to bolster their resumes, learn more about their field of choice and meet executives who could hire them for full-time positions one day. And they often pay a good wage: on average, $16.33 an hour, or $7,850 over 12 weeks, Luckenbaugh said.

“Students are looking for internships even after their first year,” said Sheila Curran, executive director of Duke University’s career center, noting that 88% of Duke students graduate with at least one internship under their belts. “It’s become expected that you’d have at least one internship during college.”

Universities are also recognizing the increased importance of internships and are working harder to secure spots for their students, said Richard Bottner, founder of Intern Bridge, a college recruiting research and consulting firm. Some colleges are even requiring students to do at least one internship to graduate.

graphic of Deming Scholars internship cycle

The Deming Scholars MBA program at Fordham includes a heavy dose of internships [broken link removed] (“Subject matter is delivered in five integrated learning cycles. Five eight-week sessions of classroom lectures, seminars and study are linked by seven-week internships at participating firms”). Integrating well planned internships can be very valuable to improving learning. By the way if your company would like to host these students you can contact the program to discuss the opportunity.

Curiouscat.com has a web site for locating internships. I would love to get some good management improvement based internships added – there is no charge to add internships. For actual jobs try the Curious Cat Management Improvement job board.

Related: Hiring the Right EmployeesIT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Young IT Workers DemandsJoel ManagementThe Joy of Work

Management Seminar in May

The Deming Institute is sponsoring, How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business, 12-14 May, 2008 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Kelly Allan and I will be presenting the seminar. Please let me know if you sign up.

Twenty-seven faulty management and corporate governance practices create most of the problems in any organization. These practices will be identified, and better practices recommended. It will be shown that as better practices are introduced, quality of products and services increases, costs decline, and you create a globally competitive advantage for your organization.

Learn how governance practice leads to the heaviest losses, how inconsistencies between policy and strategy create sub-optimal outcomes, how mismanagement of people leads to unethical and ineffective behavior, and how to overcome these problems. Study the theory and practice of management. Not quality management, not good management, not excellent management, not knowledge management, not risk management, not process management, not performance management, not supply or asset management, not technology management, not time management, not emergency management, just plain management.

Related: Deming on ManagementCurious Cat Management Improvement CalendarDeming Seminar and ConferenceDeming Companies

A Programmers Take on Agile Software Development

A Case for Agile: Benefits for a Programmer’s Career by Theodore Nguyen-Cao

Through agile development, I’ve been able to deliver working software time and time again. I’ve been exposed to all different aspects of the business. I’ve learn what I like and don’t like to do. I’ve learn what pieces of business I’m interested in and the pieces I don’t care much for. I’ve developed some really good working relationships. I’ve tackled some hard problems. I’ve learned to respond and adapt to the change and turmoil of a startup.

Most importantly, I still feel I’m growing as a developer. I honestly believe the best thing a developer can do in their career is to always be learning. Everything else will follow.

I am also a strong proponent of agile software development. Information Technology projects have a poor success rate. The best method, I have found, to provide better software solutions is agile development (and I find a grounding in management improvement techniques is useful – customer focus, process improvement, systems thinking, understanding variation, data driven management…). My experience is with custom application development (rather than developing Commercial Off The Shelf software – COTS) for which I think agile is a great fit.

Related: Joy in Work for ProgrammersAgile Software Development PresentationMetrics and Software DevelopmentManagement Science for Software EngineeringProgrammers at WorkJoel Management

Manufacturing Employee Shortage in Utah

Utah scrambling to meet need for technical workers

The state faces challenges in generating necessary interest to fill available manufacturing jobs for what Utah’s governor has called the state’s “Aerospace Hub,” both immediately and in the future, the report said.

The situation continues to worsen, with jobs being created and unemployment remaining low in the state. And as the current work force ages, the supply of skilled workers is diminishing, forcing employers to recruit outside of Utah and sometimes leave Utah altogether, the report said.

The college’s Lean Manufacturing Center was built from an old warehouse with state funds and $30 million from rocket-booster manufacturer Williams International. Williams provides the college with equipment and mentors to train students with practical, real-world applications, said Lloyd McCaffrey, the Lean Center’s director.

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