Tag Archives: blogs

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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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