Posts about blogs

Curious Cat Blog Network

I recently created one RSS feed for all the Curious Cat Network blogs (which also includes other blogs I author). Of course, you can also subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog by itself: Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog RSS feed. RSS readers are by far the best way to read blogs; if you want some more information here is a post on RSS feed readers and how to use them.

The Curious Cat blog Network includes many blogs on topics including: management, investing, travel, engineering and technology. My most recent addition is the Curious Cat Travel Destinations Blog.

John Hunter at Bandelier National Monument

John Hunter at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA.

You may also find several other Curious Cat web sites worthwhile, such as: Management and Leadership Quotes, Curious Cat Management and Curious Cat Investing Resources.

Related: Management Matters by John HunterTouring Factories on Vacation When I Was YoungProcess Excellence Network Podcast with John Hunter

The Benefits of Blogging

ASQ interviewed me, and several other ASQ Influential Voices bloggers for an article published in the current issue of Quality Progress magazine: The Blog Boom.

A couple of my quotes from the article:

I have been blogging for 10 years, which is more than enough time to convince me it is right for me. Blogging fits my personality—I like short delivery cycles. I don’t like the idea of working on a project that takes a year to reach the audience or customers. With blogging, I can have an idea, and in an hour I can share that with people across the globe. Blogging is similar to agile software development in this way: minimize work-in-progress and deliver working software—or in blogging, text—to users as quickly as possible. Then iterate and extend.

One of the benefits I didn’t appreciate before I started was how blogging helps build your knowledge and understanding—in the same way teaching helps you learn the topic you are discussing in a deeper way.

I find myself more thoughtful and engaged with ideas because I think about how I can build on those ideas in a blog post. When I start writing, I sometimes realize I don’t actually understand the idea or topic as well as it seemed I did. So I must think about it more to be able to understand it well enough to write about it.

See the whole article to see the rest of my responses and thoughts from Mark Graban, Jennifer Stepniowski, Jimena Calfa and Daniel Zrymiak. The article is available for free, though you do have to register to view that article (registering will also let you view the other articles ASQ has made available to non-members).

Related: Blogging is Good for You (2006)Your Online Presence (2007)Your Online Identity (2007)Curious Cat Blogs (management, investing, travel, engineering, technology…)

Management Improvement Carnival #200

The Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival has been published since 2006 and this is the 200th edition. The posts selected for the carnival focus on the areas of management improvement I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Guide since 1996 (17 years now, which I find pretty amazing): Deming, lean thinking, leadership, innovation, respect for people, customer focus, etc..

  • Eiji Toyoda – the Master Innovator by Bill Waddell – “He was a master innovator in the days when innovation wasn’t cool, and his focus was not so much on the product as it was on the processes – on management.”
  • The Man Who Saved Kaizen by Jon Miller – “Eiji Toyoda led from the front. His message to leaders within Toyota: ‘I want you to use your own heads. And I want you actively to train your people on how to think for themselves.'”
  • photo of Bill and John Hunter balancing on a log on a beach in Malaysia

    Dad, Bill Hunter and me in Malaysia.

  • The consumer is the most important point on the production-line by John Hunter – “The continued view of the organization as a hierarchical pyramid of authority and responsibility hides the connection of the customer/user to the processes in our organizations.”
  • Lean IT at Toyota by Pierre Masai – “educate yourself on the subject, since so many stories of dramatic or step-by-step improvements do exist out there. Then, soon after, experiment yourself. This is the basis of TPS. Make sure you also get enthusiastic people on board, and take the support of experienced external coaches if you need this to get started. Create a culture within your company where the principles of lean become embedded in everything you do.”
  • Continue reading

Your Online Presence and Social Networks for Managers

This month Paul Borawski asked ASQ’s Influential Voices which social networks do quality professionals use?

TL;DR My bottom line suggestion is to first start with blogs (get a feed reader and subscribe, read and comment on blogs). Next join Reddit and subscribe to the sub-reddits you are interested in, and participate. Next start your own blog. Then join Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. Put your learning first; other measures are largely “fools gold” (such as number of followers).

photo of John Hunter at Zion National Park

John Hunter at Zion National Park, Utah, USA.

Blogs are the best way to use the internet to learn, network, share and grow. That includes reading blogs, commenting on blogs and writing your own blog. Thankfully there are tons of great management improvement blogs (especially on lean thinking) for managers to learn from. There is a great opportunity for six sigma blogs as the field is not crowded with high value blogs on that topic.

Writing your own blog is the very best online way to create a brand for yourself (and to learn and grow). Given the workplace today, and how the future seems likely to unfold, building your own brand is a valuable career tool. Writing your own blog also builds your understanding of the topic. As you put your thoughts into words you have to examine them and often build a more complete understanding yourself before you can write about it.

You also build a network as you read and comment on other’s blogs and as others read and comment on your blog. YouTube can be used in a similar way (though I would use a blog to add text to the webcast and encourage comments on the blog rather than YouTube). Using an RSS blog feed reader is the first social network tool you should use (way before you sign up for Twitter or Facebook or anything). Podcasts can also. I have done a few podcast, most discussing the ideas in my management book. Videos and audio connect more deeply to people so they are wonderful methods to reach people. I should get some webcast up on YouTube; it is one of my plans that I haven’t gotten to you yet.

Continue reading

The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

The W. Edwards Deming Institute logo

I am authoring the new W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog. Make sure you subscribe to the Deming Institute blog’s RSS feed if you want to keep up with my posts there.

Some of the posts so far:

I will continue posting to this blog (the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog): subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

Related: My New Book, Management MattersASQ Influential VoicesJohn Hunter online

Management Blog Posts From November 2006

I have selected a few great posts from the Curious Cat Management Blog back in November 2006.

  • What Could we do Better? – There are many important ideas to improve management. This is one of the most important tips to aid improvement that I know of: it is easy to do, brings huge benefits and most organizations fail to do it. Ask your customers: “What one thing could we do to improve?”
  • Ackoff’s F-laws: Common Sins of Management presents 13 common sins of management, such as: Managers who don’t know how to measure what they want settle for wanting what they can measure
  • Common Cause Variation – “Every system has variation. Common cause variation is the variation due to the current system. Dr. Deming increased his estimate of variation due to the system (common cause variation) to 97% (earlier in his life he cited figures as low as 80%). Special cause variation is that due to some special (not part of the system) cause.”
  • Sub-Optimize by Interrupting Knowledge Workers – “The general consensus is that the loss from interrupting [software] developers is much greater than for interrupting most other forms of work and therefor a great deal of effort is placed on improving the system to allow developers to focus.”
  • Amazon Innovation – “I believe Amazon uses technology very well. They have done many innovative things. They have been less successful at turning their technology into big profits. But I continue to believe they have a good shot at doing so going forward (and their core business is doing very well I think).” [Amazon announced great sales numbers today, continuing their long term tread. They are also continuing to be very slow to grow profits (CEO, Jeff Bezos remains willing to challenge common practices – such as his willingness to build business and sacrifice current profits)].

Management Improvement Carnival #138

Wally bock hosts Management Improvement Carnival #138 on the Three Star Leadership Blog, highlights include:

  • Evidence Soup by Tracy Allison Altman. This is a blog about assessing evidence. If statistics are not your thing, you’ll pick up some tips and tricks that will help you analyze evidence to guide your decision making. If you’re a statistical whiz, you’ll find a lot here that’s just fun.

    Representative Recent Post: Big Ideas may not have supporting evidence, but they sell books by the boatload.
    “Haven’t we had enough of authors pitching an oversimplified analysis of something important? It’s great to boil things down into plain language, but when an entire book is based on A Big Idea, complicated things are glossed over, evidence is cherry-picked, we get bamboozled. (And books are sold. Maybe I’m just jealous.)”

  • Life in Perpetual Beta by Harold Jarche. Harold Jarche’s blog is the point in my universe where a host of sources on personal knowledge management and the changing workplace come together. In addition to his own lucid analysis, Harold supplies pointers to many great sources that are new to me. As a bonus, this blog could serve as a primer on using illustrations to explain concepts. The representative post describes Harold’s view of what the blog is about.

    Representative Recent Post: Adapting to Life in Perpetual Beta “On my consulting page, I have summarized my perspectives on 21st century work. It’s called: Adapting to Life in Perpetual Beta.

    There is no such thing as a social media strategy.
    There are only business strategies that understand networks.

I hope you enjoy Wally’s carnival post and find some new ideas worth pursuing. I have added a couple more blogs to me RSS feed reader. The management improvement carnival is posted 3 times a month spotlighting great posts related to management.

Management Improvement Carnival #128

The management blog carnival is published 3 times a month with select recent management blog posts. I also collect management improvement articles through Curious Cat Management Articles, you can subscribe via RSS to new article additions.

  • Resist your machine thinking! by Jeff Liker – “To maintain consistent output, one must continually adjust the system to changing environmental conditions. This is called dynamic homeostasis in systems thinking, or running to stay in place. … Maintenance comes from having clearly defined standards, observing carefully for deviations from those standards, and then developing and implementing countermeasures to eliminate the deviations.”
  • 5 lessons from an Information Architecture career by Martin Belam – “Over the years I’ve learned that pragmatic UX that gets software shipped is more valuable than perfecting your pre-build documentation.
    This lesson is very much tied up with the ideas of progressive iterations, and improving things from the base of a ‘minimum viable product’… There is nothing less compelling than shipping nothing at all.”
  • Pop quiz: Lean-ify this iPad case by Kathleen Fasanella – “Here is a summary of the specific items you mentioned: Having the work piece, waste can, tools and equipment arranged optimally. Component placement was (mostly) eyeballed, several suggested jigs or templates for layout. David suggested notching for more efficient placement. The fabric covers should have been cut with rounded covers to eliminate the messy and wasteful step of hand trimming.”
  • Demystifying the Product Owner by – the product owner leads product discovery: “to help identify and describe requirements, and to ensure that the product backlog is ready for the next sprint planning meeting. It also means that the product owner has to engage in product planning, visioning and product road mapping…”
  • Gary Hamel at Dell: How can IT organizations adapt?

  • Working in the cracks in the system by Wally Bock – “Use the situation as an opportunity for conversation. Talk to John in private. Tell him you’ve noticed that he’s been coming in late and tell him why that matters to you and to the team. After you say that, wait for John to speak next.”
  • Continue reading

3rd Annual Management Blog Review Part 2 of 2

The management blog review this year, had 14 management bloggers review close to 50 management blogs. See part one of the roundup. And here are links to the new review posts:

Mark Hamel posted his 3rd review (the first 2 are listed in part one) covering John Shook’s Lean Management Column.

Karen Wilhelm reviewed Design Thinking, The Lean Edge and Thinking for a Change and posted a diagram showing the links between the blogs involved in the annual review.

Wally Bock provided a look at Management Excellence, Maximize Possibility, QAspire and Winning Workplaces.

I took a look back at Dennis Stevens, How to implement “Lean Thinking” in a Business and the Three Star Leadership Blog.

And Jon Miller wrapped things up with a post on the health care system and DailyKaizen and the Lean Thinker.

Once again I think the review provided a reminder many excellent posts from the last year and showed us some posts we missed. In addition, hopefully you found new blogs to add to the RSS feeds you subscribe to. With the enormous number of excellent management blogs, it makes me wonder why we still see so many management miscues.

I hope you enjoy the reviews and find some useful ideas and some new blogs to follow. Keep up with the regular management blog carnival, publishing 3 times a month.

Related: 2009 management blog reviewmanagement improvement articles

Annual Management Blog Review: Software, Manufacturing and Leadership

In my contribution to the 3rd annual management blog roundup I will take a look at 3 blogs: Dennis Stevens, How to implement “Lean Thinking” in a Business and the Three Star Leadership Blog. This year 14 management bloggers contributed to highlight over 40 blogs, be sure to check out all the posts.

photo of Dennis Stevens

Dennis Stevens


Dennis Stevens writes a blog of the same name focused on agile software development principles with a strong focus on Dr. Deming’s ideas and lean thinking.

  • What’s Deming got to do with Agile – “Deming is not about manufacturing. He is about showing management how to create an environment for success. Deming is about culture – and his System of Profound Knowledge creates an environment that is especially effective for knowledge work… In knowledge work, where products are invisible, impact can be difficult to demonstrate. Kanban clearly shows progress and demonstrates the contribution of each person to the delivery of value. Additionally, PDSA provides opportunities for everyone to contribute to improving the quality of the organization’s capabilities.”
  • Kanban Mental Models and Double Loop Learning – “the Kanban cycle supports continuous learning that the team internalizes. Argyris’s model gives us some insight into why Kanban teams are consistently achieving double-loop learning and rapid maturity.”
  • We are Doing QQ All Wrong- “Developers should be using tools that support automated unit testing and only checking in code that passes all their unit tests… Test driven development or test just after development should be ubiquitous – but it is not. Continuous Integration environments that ensure that each check-in results in a valid and testable platform help teams perform integration and build validation.”
  • Shorten and Reduce Variability in Lead Times Using Kanban – ” identify and leverage strategies like reducing waiting, reducing rework, making work ready, defining small size work, and swarming, to improve lead time. Tracking causes of defects and blockages can help make decisions to focus these strategies appropriately. Reducing lead time duration and variability will result in increased predictability, faster feedback, improved flexibility and responsiveness.”
photo of Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson writes the How to implement “Lean Thinking” in a Business blog focused on the lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System.

  • Common Mistakes when we are Problem Solving – “Not utilizing the ‘Power of the gemba’,–or often referred to as “Go see the work/process“.!! I often see teams working together in a room trying to solve the problem by using their experiences, hypothetical guesses, and what their opinion is. I quickly disperse the huddle to “go-see” with their own eyes the current situation.”
  • How many different types of A3’s are there? – “I will briefly describe the 4 different types of A3’s and when to use them based on my experience: Problem Solving A3, Proposal A3, Status Report A3, Strategic Planning A3. All A3’s should follow the PDCA thinking regardless of which type you are working on.”
  • Why is asking “Why” so important? – “It is important to ask why repeatedly when visiting the gemba to determine what is current happening versus what should be happening. In many cases we stop at a symptom to the problem because we are often pressured for results and quickly solving the problem without going past the symptom seems to be the best answer.” [this one is actually from 2009 but I included it anyway – John]

3rd Annual Management Blog Review Part 1

This year the management blog review has 14 management bloggers taking a look at close to 50 management blogs. Here are links to the blog roundups published so far:

Jamie Flinchbaugh started things off with posts on: Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, Lean Reflections, A Lean Journey and Beyond Lean. Jamie did a very nice job of including photos of some of the bloggers and seemed to start a nice trend for some of the other review posts.

Dan Markovitz provided a look at posts from 99% by Behance, Peter Bregman, and Work Matters with Bob Sutton.

Mike Wroblewski followed up his recent regular management carnival post with reviews of Improve with Me, Lean for Everyone and My Flexible Pencil. And shortly will round off his yearly recaps with Training Within Industry.

Tanmay Vora focused on the important topic of developing people through the Glyn Lumley, Great Leadership and Renegade HR bloga.

Tim McMahon took a post for each blog and also included pictures for Jamie Flinchbaugh, Gemba Tales, Gotta Go Lean and Got Boondoggle?. Which also ties Tim with Mike for the lead in reviewing blogs of those those posting management blog reviews (they both reviewed 3 of the 14 reviewers).

Ben Eubanks highlighted posts from A Girl’s Guide To Project Management, Lean Leaders Blog and Making IT Clear.

Shaun Sayers provided a look back on the year at the Learn Sigma blog.

As we did last year I think the review is providing a nice reminder of some excellent posts from the last year and showing us some posts we missed. In addition, hopefully you will find new blogs to add to our feed reader. There are an enormous number of excellent management blogs. It makes me wonder why we still see so many management miscues :-)

Even with all that we are not quite half way through the review of what the year 2010 offered readers of management blogs. I hope you enjoy the reviews and find some useful ideas and some new blogs to follow. Keep up with the regular management blog carnival, publishing 3 times a month.

Lean Daily

Lean Daily iPhone app

Lean Daily consolidates the latest posts from seven excellent lean blogs in one convenient, free, iPhone app. Learn more about it, see a simulator demo, and download it directly from iTunes.

Mark Graban, Lean Blog, took the lead and a number of us combined efforts to provide this as a free service to our loyal readers:

This iPhone app allows you to read these lean blogs while on the go. You can also listen to and view some multimedia lean content, such as the Lean Blog Podcasts and Video Podcasts and the Gemba Academy sample videos in the app as well. You can also find lean news and some other feeds.

Related: Curious Cat management blog directoryInteresting management content (Reddit)search for management content online



Management Improvement Carnival #105

The management blog carnival is published 3 times a month with select recent management blog posts. Also try our collected management articles and blogs posts at: Curious Cat Management articles.

  • Instead of a Layoff by Gregg Stocker – “Everyone has a stake in the company. When a company has a history of layoffs, though, people feel powerless, disconnected, and expendable. The organization’s leaders send a very clear message that employees are not important when jobs are cut in response to a crisis.” (Also see my 2007 post, Bad Management Results in Layoffs, John)
  • The Importance of the Storefront in Lean Manufacturing by Jon Miller “Like fish, the defects should be ‘sold’ or taken care of that day, because old fish begin to smell bad.”
  • Comparing Lean Principles to the 14 Toyota Principles – “Toyota Principle #1: Base Your Management Decisions on a Long-Term Philosophy, Even at the Expense of Short-Term Financial Goals… Toyota Principle #2: Create Continuous Process Flow to Bring Problems to the Surface”
  • 10 Engagement-Building Behaviors for the Boss by Wally Bock – “Make sure people have the resources to do what you expect. Resources include skills and time and equipment and support. If your people don’t have them, get them before you hold people accountable for results.”
  • Switching to a Data-Driven Culture by Brent Dykes – “How can a data-driven identity transform your online marketing team’s behaviors? Rather than perceiving analysis to be someone else’s job, what if they thought of themselves as analysts, not just marketers?”
  • A chance to prevent failures rather than cleaning up after them – “FMEA is an analytical approach that is used in the development stage as well as operations management to focus on “What could go wrong?” with respect to a product or service. Teams identify potential failures in a system, and in the design stage, try to eliminate these potential failures as far as possible.”
  • Valid or reliable – in the board room by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “In order to maximize the utilization of board time, use of a suite of reliable metrics can provide a steady point of focus. Most of these will be quantitative such as financial, customer-focused, or employee-focused.”
  • Continue reading

Management Blog Posts From June 2006

photo of Jack the cat and a bear

  • Management Advice Failures – It is amazing to me how often we accept non-solutions. If someone objects that we have tried that “solution” and it didn’t work they are often shut down with a version of: “don’t be negative” or “I don’t want to hear we tried that before and it didn’t work” (we are different now) or “we need team players” or “if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem”…
  • Edward Tufte’s new book: Beautiful Evidence – Another great book by Tufte in which he explores how to best display evidence looking at: mapped pictures; sparklines; links and causal arrows; words, numbers and pictures together; the fundamental principles of analytical design; corruption of evidence; and more.
  • More on Obscene CEO Pay – In the 1960’s and a970’s CEO of the largest companies made about 35 times what an average worker did. In the last 15 years they are making 200 times as much. They in no way deserve too.
  • Signs You Have a Great Job… or Not – “When someone is learning a new skill they will often need to spend time developing (which mean they won’t be doing what they do best). Again this is expected but managers, by and large, don’t do enough to support development in my opinion.”
  • Trust: Respect for People – “A bit different than laying off tens of thousands of workers and then taking huge bonuses. And in case you don’t know, I think Toyota’s approach is more honorable and what should be aimed for…”
  • Tesco: Lean Provision – “Tesco’s lean provision system combines point-of-sale data, cross-dock distribution centers, and frequent deliveries to many stores along “milk-runs” to stock the right items in a range of retail formats.”
  • Bad Arguments Against a Gas Tax – the increased prices, which have the same negative impact of a tax increase go to foreign producers and the oil companies instead of the taxpayers. We would have been better off increasing the gas tax 50 cents a gallon and cutting the huge deficit instead of accepting such arguments that a gas tax would kill the economy.

The photo shows a tabby cat that chased a bear up a tree.

Management Improvement Carnival #100

I started the management improvement blog carnival in 2006. At the time the number of blogs posting useful management ideas had already grown to a large number. It took years after I started my Curious Cat Management Improvement site, in 1996, to have even a handful of consistently useful web sites for those interested in improving the management of organizations.

Blogs really started the explosion of good management content online. Now we have more great blogs nearly every month. This jumbo sized edition could be much larger and still not run out of great posts to include. Hopefully the regular carnivals help you keep up with great management posts from blogs you already enjoy, and introduce you to new blogs to add to you RSS (blog feed) reader.

Photo of Arches National Park

Arches National Park by John Hunter, Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog

  • What’s Deming Got To Do With Agile? by Dennis Stevens – “If you equate Kanban with manufacturing you won’t be successful. You need to understand what Deming has to say about knowledge work and how management is responsible for creating an environment for success. Kanban brings an easy to implement – low friction implementation of Deming’s philosophy.”
  • Remember – We Want to See Problems by Bryan Zeigler – “Well if you designed your system to truly follow the lean ideals, you have problems! That’s the whole point! Make your problems visible instead of hiding them with inventory, extra labor, long lead times, etc.”
  • Control Systems and Feedback Loops by Tom Foster – “why don’t we change this control system into a feedback loop? Why don’t we have the feedback loop tell the team, and why don’t we run the feedback loop in real time? The manager just gets in the way.”
  • My Favorite Southwest Airlines Moment by Rachel Barry – ” If you live with gratitude, you will have reached life’s highest ideals. And your letter is grateful. You are a wonderful woman. Thank you, thank you, for being you and for writing me. The truth is, it just doesn’t get any better than that. ” (Southwest encourages people to act like people [and treat customers like people not numbers] instead of cogs in a machine. Not amazing when put that way but when contrasted with most other large companies it is an amazing difference. – John)
  • Organizational Kryptonite: Fear of Confrontation by Kris Dunn – “Because the world is full of people who suffer from fear of confrontation, giving good, direct, honest feedback in a professional way is often the best way to stand out as someone who can be trusted.”
  • The False Theory of Meritocracy by Nigel Nicholson – “A true theory of meritocracy would acknowledge that we all have multiple talents and motivations; and that we all can learn and improve in most of the roles in which we are placed — though how much and how fast will vary from person to person.”
  • Corporate Renewal, Waste, and Turnaround by Pete Abilla – “Each of us has a responsibility to improve those areas where we have influence. Given that, what are you going to do today to improve the business you are in? Help the people you work with? Improve the world around you?”
  • Show Me the Results by Mike Wroblewski – “Despite our efforts to make all results objective and quantifiable, in many cases, subjectivity remains. Overlooking this problem, we obsess over results… In our obsession with results, do we actually miss something, perhaps something greater?”
  • Drucker’s Surprising View of Corporate Social Responsibility by William Cohen – “Drucker concluded that considerations for workers in and out of the workplace were the responsibility of the corporate leader just as much as the profits, survival, and growth of the business or organization. Therefore, he taught that there were social responsibilities of business.”
  • Continue reading

Finding Great Management Articles, Posts and Resources

Reddit is a web site that ranks web pages by user votes. The site uses an algorithm that has a very large timeliness factor. So top ranked links move down the list fairly quickly. This results in a nice site to look at to find links others have found interesting recently.

I created a management sub-reddit (a distinct topic-focused-area on the management improvement topics covered in this blog) in 2008. The sub-reddit seems to be about ready to reach a critical mass, so I am making a push to get those interested in management and specifically Deming, lean management, agile software development, six sigma and the things I normally write about on this blog to participate.

If you sign up you can not only vote on the links displayed but add new links (that then will be voted on by others). I think Reddit does a very good job of using social aspects of the internet to provide recommendations that are worthwhile (I have used the site for years).

The management subreddit depends on the community of users to voice their opinions. And I have an interest in having the community form around the management ideas I value (see my other blog posts for what that is). So I encourage you to give it a try and vote on links you enjoy and add new articles, web sites, blog posts… The benefit of this subreddit will grow as we grow the number of participants and if it develops a shared culture of value.

Related: Creating the Management Sub-Reddit (2008)John Hunter’s social site links (Reddit, Kiva, LinkedIn)Dell, Reddit and Customer FocusCurious Cat Management Improvement LibraryManagement Improvement Blog Carnival

Management Improvement Carnival #90

The Curious Cat Management Improvement blog carnival provides links to recent blog posts for those interesting in improving management of organizations.

  • Leader Standard Work Should Be…Work! by Mark Hamel – “A lean leader’s standard work, among other things, may require him to check a particular work cell once in the morning and once in the afternoon to ensure that the workers are maintaining their plan vs. actual chart (usually by hour), and that specific and meaningful reasons for any shortfalls are documented.”
  • Innovations in innovation by Karen Wilhelm – “Innovation, for example, is hampered by patent processes and the extensive litigation often rising around them… These models all seem to fit into the emerging philosophy of Open Innovation growing out of the open-source software movement.”
  • “Single Piece Flow” in Medicine by Mark Graban – “They could have done it at the doctor’s office at the same time as the EKG, but the insurance company won’t pay for it there, so she has to take this afternoon off to go to the hospital instead.”
  • A different view of leadership by Glyn Lumley – “1) Thinking and acting systemically 2) People are the route to performance 3) Achieving through impact on others”
  • Identifying the Root Cause by JC Gatlin – “By taking systematic steps to get to the root cause of a problem, the trouble shooter should be able to avoid assumptions and logic traps to keep the problem from recurring in the future.”
  • The Emerging Importance of Nemawashi by Connor Shea – “it’s about aligning individuals to see the whole picture, share a disgust with the actual, and agree to a standard / standard process to close the gap.”
  • Continue reading

Management Improvement Carnival #87

The Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival provides links to recent articles to help managers improve the performance organization.

  • Lean in Sweden: Tools < Thinking by Mark Graban – “Tools have some value, but only in context of lean thinking and the lean management philosophy. Tools aren’t value-less, but thinking is better.”
  • Manufacturing starts to come home by Dan Markovitz – “NCR sees domestic manufacturing as key to increasing sales as well. It enables them to make higher value-added products that their customers want.”
  • Correlation or Causation? Interceptions and the Playoffs by Jeff Hajek – “this is a classic case of confusing correlation with causation. If this data truly was a cause and effect relationship, meaning interceptions caused losses, fixing the problem would be simple… If you never threw the ball, you could win nearly four out of five times.”
  • Learning from Toyota’s Stumble by Steven Spear – “But as we are now sadly seeing, the capacity for developing people can be overstretched. It was not recognizing this and succumbing to the temptation to make growth its first priority that led to Toyota’s current problems.”
  • When in doubt, timebox it by Mark Imbriaco – “If we can solve the compatibility problems in those 30 minutes, it will be a nice win and we can make use of the plugin that we want to. On the flip side, we already have a known solution to the problem.”
  • Be Proactive – Prevent your problems! by Sonja Hughes – “Monitoring process performance through statistical process control or other performance measures allows us to detect changes or trends so we can take appropriate action before problems occur.”
  • Continue reading

2009 Annual Management Blog Review Part 3 of 3

The 2009 annual management improvement blog carnival continues with more bloggers posting highlights from some of their favorite management blogs. Also see 2009 Annual Management Blog Review Part 1 and part 2.

Mark Graban’s review took a Boston theme covering Chasing the Rabbit, Running a Hospital, Gemba Coach and John Shook’s Management Column. Highlights include:

In the 3rd carnival post on the Stats Made Easy blog Mark J. Anderson took a look at Seth Godin’s blog and among other things liked: Godin suggests that under the bright light of the internet being generous and fair in business dealings pays off now more than ever.

Bryan Lund found some inspiration from the Three Star Leadership Blog, Process Rants, Capable People? and the Leadership Styles Blog. Highlights include:

And I covered, Training Within Industry, Visual Management Blog and Making IT Clear to bring the annual management carnival to a close. Highlights include:

This year 10 blogs took a look back at excellent post from 34 management blogs in 2009, providing some great idea to help managers improve. Don’t forget to visit each carnival post and find some excellent ideas you can use and perhaps some new blogs to add to your RSS reader.

Related: Management blog directory2008 Annual management blog review

2009 Curious Cat Management Blog Carnival

10 management blogs are participating in the 2009 Management Blog Carnival. Be sure to check out all the great posts. Here we are looking at some exceptional posts on the , Training Within Industry and Making IT Clear. The quotes below are taken from blog posts on these blogs (and include links to the posts they are taken from)

Visual Management Blog by Xavier Quesada Allue

photo of a software development task board

“Visual Management is the practice of using information visualization techniques to manage work. A simple example is using sticky notes on a wall to manage a list of tasks, a better (and more complex) example is kanban.”

Agile and lean management both stress to the importance of making work in process visible. With agile software development workload is often managed using short iterations to create software code and deploy it (similar to continuous flow). “The goal is that any team can do any story in the backlog. You should stress that the ‘real’ Team is the big one. Sub-teams are just created for communication and coordination purposes. In my opinion, they should not develop too strong a team identity. For example, I would not measure sub-team velocity, and I would make sure people rotate from sub-team to sub-team a lot.”

Short software development iterations “require both soft and hard commitments from team members. The team is required to work as a team (for which soft commitment is required) and to commit to finishing a certain amount of work in one Sprint.”

Training Within Industry by Bryan Lund

Another method of making in process work clear is to make clear what the process is.
Building up Standard Work Using Job Instruction explains why job instruction is critical skill that supports standardized work, in that training is used as a countermeasure against variability. An important idea that is far to often ignored.

“The primary purpose of a Job Breakdown Sheet is to serve as a trainer’s aid. It is not meant to be read by the trainee.” and “My experience is that Work Instructions are used so a number of objectives may be achieved”: reduce training time, have trainees more directly involved with training and compliance and accountability through a a chain of approvals.

Early in the year Bryan included a series of lean comics, including:

Remove clutter comic by Bryan Lund

Making IT Clear by Harwell Thrasher

Harwell Thrasher focuses on explaining IT issues to a business audience, and giving business people advice on how to improve the effectiveness of their IT organizations. “IT doesn’t succeed because of technology — it succeeds because of its contribution to the business.”

He has several posts with straight forward ideas for managers such as How to Become a Manager – 13 Skills You’ll Need: “Obstacle Removal… Part of your job is to remove the obstacles that are preventing your employees from doing their best.” Managers responsibility to intervene in the system to remove obstacle preventing people from doing their best is a big key to management I believe. One great thing about agile software development is how clearly this is shown to be a project managers responsibility.

As he says in The 7 Biggest Challenges of a Manager “If you ever get to the point where you honestly have no idea how to improve things further, then you should either (a) seek outside advice, or (b) look for another job. There’s always a better way, and you have to keep looking for it.”

“Most technical people who become managers do so because they want more scope and control… perhaps most important, you don’t become a good manager by being good technically – you become a good manager by being able to get things accomplished through other people.

Take a look at the full list of posts pointing to excellent posts from over 30 management blogs from 2009.

Related: 2008 Curious Cat Management CarnivalManagement RedditCurious Cat Management Search

  • Recent Trackbacks

  • Comments