Tag Archives: Carnival

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.

The 3rd Annual Management Blog Review Has Begun

Jamie Flinchbaugh has started off the management blog year in review with a look back at the year here: Blog Carnival Annual Roundup: 2010 – Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

Take a look at some of the posts he highlighted from the year and feel free to note some of your favorite posts in the comments below.

Again this year we have many management bloggers joining the annual roundup. Over the next 3 weeks posts will be seen on some great blog, including: Gemba Panta Rei, Evolving Excellence, Stats Made Easy, TimeBack Management and many more.

You can see a full list of hosts and link to their annual roundups on the Management Blog Year in Review 2010 home page. Also, see the wrap ups of2009 and 2008.

Management Improvement Carnival #114

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, October 30th 2010, Washington DC. Photo by John Hunter.

The Curious Cat management blog carnival selects recent management blog posts 3 times each month. Since 2006 the carnival has focused on finding posts to help managers innovate and improve (Deming, lean manufacturing, agile software development, data based decision making, systems thinking…).

  • If Jon Stewart can do it, so can you by Dan Markovitz – “Get it? It’s a process. Even for something as creative as writing jokes, there’s a structure to follow. And by establishing that structure, they can unleash their comedy.” [Process Improvement and Innovation – John Hunter]
  • How I (try to) add value as an investor by Gabriel Weinberg – “I’ve been doing this startup stuff for a while now, pretty much all by myself or with one other person. So I’ve done most startup things, i.e. from incorporation papers all the way to an exit and everything in between. Moreover, I want to be closely involved. For most of the companies I’m involved with, we try to have frequent Skype chats (weekly to every few weeks) to discuss whatever is in front of them.”
  • Inspired by Shingo Again by Mike Wroblewski – “Mr Shingo suggested that every management person should go to gemba at least once everyday, and stay in one spot for at least 30 minutes to observe. This is every person in management, not just the plant production leaders.”
  • 5 Ways to Influence a Culture of Engagement by Trish McFarlane – “2. Provide challenging work assignments… 4. Connect employees to the organization’s mission 5. Be intentional, honest, and interact with integrity”
  • You might think with all the good books and blogs on management, pretty soon there really isn’t anything more managers need to help them. But what organizations keep doing, provides evidence there is going to be work to do for a long time. Beyond Crazy by James Kwak – “The ‘star’ example is Texas A&M, which created a report showing a profit-and-loss summary for each professor or lecturer, where revenues are defined as external grants plus a share of tuition professor P&L.” Taiichi Ohno knew about the failures of cost accounting.
  • Back to Basics with Kanban – “This list of 5 core practices used in organizations with successful Kanban implementations gives us a definition for how to implement the Kanban Method. These practices represent the seed conditions in any organization that may enable a successful Kanban-based change initiative.”
  • Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure by Orrin Woodward – “Let’s go through each step of the PDCA process starting with the Plan step. What is the Plan and how do I use it to improve? The Plan is a way to test ones hypothesis or models of life.”
  • Deming’s long forgotten chain reaction by Gede Manggala – “Too much focus on cost saving will alienate your customers and make your employees unmotivated. This is why, companies which too much rely on cost saving will fall into the ‘doom loop'”
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Posts on Managing People from Around the Web

My thoughts on managing people are based on Dr. Deming’s thoughts on management. The over-simplified explanation is that people want to do good work. Performance problems should be looked at first, second, third, fourth and fifth as problems with the system not the individual.

photo of yellow leaves

I believe organizations should practice continual improvement with the participation of everyone. Decisions should be based on evidence not the opinion of the highest paid person in the room (or even worse – “policy”). Coaching is good. Performance appraisals are bad.

Poor performing processes need to be improved by the people working on those processes. Those people need to be provided the tools (knowledge, time, support) to improve.

People don’t need to be motivated and empowered they need to be given the the opportunity to do what they want to do naturally: a good job. Managers need to help people by eliminating the de-motivation that so many organizations seem designed to create for people at work.

Management and human resource staff need to do a much better job of providing people opportunities to do a good job and take pride in their work. Far too many people are forced to suffer through poorly managed systems when trying to do their jobs. By improving the work environment, organizations can improve their results (customer satisfaction, profit, productivity…) and employee satisfaction.

Developing Staff, Managing People, Coaching

  • Managing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Your Employees by Jim Keenan – “I believe coaching people is a process. I don’t believe coaching people or managing people can be done reactively… To develop the strengths or mitigate the weaknesses of your employees, get them on the table early and keep them on the table.”
  • The Eight Steps to Driving Successful Large Scale Change by John P. Kotter – “The obstacles take many, many forms: bosses who haven’t bought in; IT systems not capable of supporting the strategies; lack of the skills needed to make the vision a reality; a lack of training to develop these missing skills. The guiding coalition finds ways to eliminate these obstacles, empowering people to do what they want and what the change effort requires.” from his new book Buy-In: Saving Your good idea from getting shot down.
  • Do more experiments faster by Tom Peters – “The best performers, I said, seesawed back and forth between ‘ideas’ and ‘actions.’ That is, they had a ‘big idea.’ (Or a small one, for that matter.) Rather than think it to death, they immediately got the hell into the field and experimented with some element of it (a prototype). They watched what happened, adjusted, and then quickly ran another experiment.” [use this idea in your coaching – (experiment and adjust) and also as a guide to those you are coaching – John Hunter. by the way I completely agree with doing more experiments faster. I completely disagree with the idea systems thinking somehow precludes that.]
  • A Secret No One Tells New Managers by Wally Bock – “Controlled confrontation is a key part of being a boss… Your objective is for your team member to leave your meeting thinking about what will change and not how you treated them.”

Good Policies for Managing People

  • Start at the Wall by Paul Hebert – “How many of the processes actually decrease effectiveness and are really barriers enacted years ago for issues that no longer are issues? What ‘behavioral’ issues could be solved by changing the environment the person is in?”
  • Standardization the prerequisite for any meaningful improvement by Steven Spear – “Without defining what you expect to do and what you expect to happen, you cannot meaningfully determine if what is happening is a bona fide problem or merely the result of work done out of control.”
  • Social Learning = Organically Sloppy. How business really gets done by Kevin Grossman – “Social learning welcomes impromptu scenario-based training and development opportunities. Organically sloppy, the way we really learn to transform ourselves and the business.”
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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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Curious Cat Management Carnival #96

The Curious Cat Management blog carnival selects recent management blog posts 3 times each month. Also visit the Curious Cat Management Library for online management improvement articles.

  • Kanban Systems in Software Development – “In the field, I’ve seen Kanban work best in chaotic environments where upcoming features don’t have much in common.”
  • Renegade Recruiting by Chris Ferdinandi – “I think world-class recruiting is really about three things: Building a pipeline of qualified talent before you need to hire someone. Accurate, valid selection criteria. A fantastic candidate experience.”
  • How to Deal with Complainers – 2 Approaches by Harwell Thrasher – “People who complain fall into two categories: those who complain because they want help in resolving a problem, and those who complain because they want sympathy. Often the complainers themselves don’t understand why they’re complaining, so it’s up to you to figure it out for yourself.”
  • Building Coaching Capabilities
    by Lee Fried – “Let’s be clear the purpose of coaching is to build capability into the leadership line.”
  • How to Deal with Low Performers by Tim McMahon – “A production lead should use this simple 5 step checklist… 3) Has the person been trained?… 5) Has there been regular feedback on performance? An answer of “no” to any of these questions will indicate an area for which focused improvement is needed.”
  • Top Three Motivators For Developers (Hint: not money!) by Dave Rodenbaugh – “Every developer on the planet wants to get better at what they do. We crave new knowledge like some people quaff coffee after a hangover… Nothing is more tedious, horrific, or uninspiring to developers to work on projects that lack any real meaning in the world.” (this is another in a long line of posts about Danial Pink’s Ted Talk – John).
  • We can’t Handle the Truth by Mike Wroblewski – “People who speak the truth are often labeled as a non-team player, a disrupter, a trouble maker or the current tag of being ‘not a good fit’. End result the person either quits or is fired.”
  • Get A Life (Not A Job) by Mark Stelzner – “Great career acts: They all share five key elements – 1) Self-awareness; 2) Continuous self-development; 3) Unique and critical roles; 4) Well-managed time, money and human resources; and 5) Harmony among your work, family and personal life” – buy the book
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Management Improvement Carnival #94

The Curious Cat Management blog carnival highlights management blog posts 3 times each month. I have also collected hundreds of online management improvement articles in the Curious Cat Management Library.

  • Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers by Mark Cuban – “Your customers can tell you the things that are broken and how they want to be made happen. Listen to them. Make them happy. But they won’t create the future roadmap for your product or service. That’s your job.”
  • Pure Genius: Southwest Airlines Baggage Strategy by Eric Joiner – “Consistently sized aircraft, carefully selected destinations and a desire to compete with the big guys only where they can win, has made Southwest profitable where the big guys have failed.”
  • Evolutionary operation by Mark J. Anderson – “a manufacturing improvement method called evolutionary operation (EVOP), which calls for an ongoing series of two-level factorial designs that illuminate a path to more desirable conditions.”
  • Why do we use Kanban? by David Anderson – “(1) Evolutionary, incremental change with minimal resistance (2) Achieve sustainable pace by balance throughput against demand (3) Quantitative Management and emergence of high maturity behavior in alignment with senior management desire to have a highly predictable business (4) Better risk management (the emerging theme in the Kanban community)”
  • MBWA is Not a Gemba Walk by Kevin Meyer – “What if the top executive led groups of people in spontaneous kaizen activities. Teaching, creating, changing. Not just sneaking around and watching.”
  • W.L. Gore: Lessons from a Management Revolutionary by Gary Hamel – Terri Kelly: “Our leaders have positions of authority because they have followers. Rather than relying on a top-down appointment process, where you often get promoted because you have seniority, or are the best friend of a senior executive, we allow the voice of the organization to determine who’s really qualified to be a leader, based on the willingness of others to follow.”
  • How a Simple Office Kanban System Works by Mark Graban – “In setting up a system like this, you just have to be careful that the 2nd bin has enough inventory to last you until the new stock arrives. If you order weekly and the material arrives the day after, the re-order quantity really needs to be six days worth of supply.”
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Management Improvement Carnival #93

Kevin Meyer is hosting Management Improvement Carnival #93 on the Evolving Excellence blog, highlights include:

  • Seven Virtues of the 21st Century Organization (Weekly Leader): Purpose-driven organic adaptability, values that are operational.
  • Value in Lean (Thinking for a Change): How do you define “value” – there are many ways.
  • Listen to the Naysayers (Evolving Excellence): “Be careful not to discount the opinions of dissenters – you may end up with everyone on the same bus… driving off a cliff!”
  • Solid at the Core (Unfolding Leadership): The advantages – and disadvantages -of inner strength and confidence.

Related: Management Improvement Carnival #44Management Improvement Carnival #60Management Improvement Carnival #76

Not related: @nicoleradziwill – Alex: “Is the Easter Bunny a boy?” Me: “No clue.” Alex: “Well let’s look it up on Google.”

Management Improvement Carnival #92

The Curious Cat Management blog carnival selects recent management blog posts 3 times each month. Also visit the Curious Cat Management Library for online management improvement articles.

  • The 7 Software Development Wastes by Jack Milunsky – “1) Keep your stories small, and unambiguous. 2) Ensure that each story has well defined acceptance test criteria (assisted by input from the customer). 3) Ensure that your code is well tested. Adopting good Test Driven Development habits will pay back in spades…”
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Your Team, and You – “Help your people be more successful by helping them develop their strengths and make their weaknesses irrelevant. Help your team be more successful by developing the most effective mix of task assignments.”
  • Plan Vs. Actual – The Swiss Army Knife of Charts by Mark R. Hamel – “The plan vs. actual also spurs PDCA in that the worker is required to identify the root cause of the abnormal condition and ultimately points the worker, team and leadership to effective countermeasures.”
  • Don’t build a roofless home: 3 steps to successfully implementing Counter Measures by JC Gatlin – “Set up a ‘PDCA Implementation Review’ with the entire PDCA group one or two days following the final TARGET date. This should be a simple, short conference call – no more than 15 minutes.”
  • How Google sets goals and measures success by Don Dodge – “Achieving 65% of the impossible is better than 100% of the ordinary – Setting impossible goals and achieving part of them sets you on a completely different path than the safe route. Sometimes you can achieve the impossible in a quarter, but even when you don’t, you are on a fast track to achieving it soon”
  • Creating Employee Engagement, Part 4 by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “Team members must be able to engage in brainstorming, experimentation, and communication to be able to develop, share, and decide on solutions to problems… Skills make this succeed or fail.
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Management Improvement Carnival #91

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

  • A Mindless Worker is a Happy Worker “when people are given a chance to participate in creating something good, solving a problem, and play a role in adding value through the use of their mind, hands, and heart, good things happen.”
  • Creating a Culture of Process Improvement by Rip Stauffer – “If you listen and act, you’ll soon find that you can’t keep up with the suggestions for improvement. That will be the beginning of changing the culture to one of improvement.”
  • Creating Employee Engagement by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “Organizations will often want people engaged and even teach them some skills to get them engaged, but fall short of creating a mechanism that actually enables this.”
  • Why do we spend so much time putting out fires? by Dan Markovitz – “The process keeps everyone up to date on where things stand throughout the organization no tedious, long-winded, meanderings in the 60 minute weekly (or god help you, 90 minute monthly) meeting.”
  • 5 Reasons Why Agile Development Must Be Driven from the Top by Kelly Waters – “Another key concept of agile software development is co-location. Ideally the whole team will all be located in the same place – not just the same office but literally sitting side by side in the same room or space.”
  • Counter Measures: Bringing balance to the process by JC Gatlin – “A Temporary Counter Measure is ‘immediate containment.’ This is an action or series of actions that the PDCA group will take to temporarily remedy the problem. This action may have no connection to the root causes.”
  • Testing in the Data Center (Manufacturing No More) by James A. Whittaker – “This is the challenge of the new century of software. It’s not a process of get-it-as-reliable-as-possible-before-we-ship. It’s health care, cradle to grave health care … prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.”
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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.”
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Management Improvement Carnival #89

The Curious Cat Management blog carnival highlights management blog posts 3 times each month. Also visit the Curious Cat Management Library for online management improvement articles.

  • Three Surprises About Change by Chip and Dan Health (this is actually the full text of the first chapter of their new book, Switch, they wrote the great Made to Stick previously) – “we don’t promise that we’re going to make change easy, but at least we can make it easier. Our goal is to teach you a framework, based on decades of scientific research, that is simple enough to remember and flexible enough to use in many different situations—family, work, community, and otherwise.”
  • The Switch to Kanban – “By limiting the work in progress rather than limiting the work per time Kanban presented a viable alternative we felt better reflected how we actually work, while preserving the discipline necessary to deliver working software multiple times a week.”
  • Not Going Away by Lee Fried – “changes in behavior throughout management, discipline to not stray far from the principles for too long and most importantly each and every employee needs to have meaningful and direct involvement in improving their own work.”
  • Obvious and Underutilized by Kevin Meyer – “How often do we look for a complex solution to what is really a simple problem? Spend a few million on nightmarish ERP software instead of mapping and improving a process to remove complex flows and massive WIP, which will usually show how simple good manufacturing really is”
  • How do you check that you are engaging people? by Bruce Baker – “I take suggestions that recommend fairly specific countermeasures as a sign of higher engagement. When small groups or individuals work really thorough ‘plan phases’ autonomously I take it a sign that they are ‘in the game.'”
  • Designing a kanban board – not as simple as you might think by Adam Shone – “Needless to say, this all came out during our first sprint retrospective and our kanban boards have evolved since that first attempt. But it taught me something – you might think that you can draw out your workflow with your eyes closed, but how closely does your theory match reality?”
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Management Improvement Carnival #88

Since 2006 the Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival has provided links to interesting blog posts for those interesting in improving the practice of management especially focused on the ideas of Deming, Ohno, Ackoff, Scholtes, McGregor, Womack, Christensen

  • Putting the Checklist Manifesto to Work by Wally Bock – “Checklists are simple but powerful tools that can help you improve performance without improving either skill or abilities. Use them to take a load off your memory, assure consistent process performance, and remain calm in a crisis.”
  • The Role of Purpose and Your Role by Mark Graban – “Are you just laying bricks or are you building a cathedral? You want people to understand their purpose, not just their job description or the tasks that are assigned to them. This is very similar to Jim Womack’s ‘Purpose, Process, People’ model. Your ‘role’ (what you are responsible for) is more than your task assignments” [great postJohn]
  • Stretch, Don’t Break – 5 ways to grow your people by Mark Hamel – “Make people think. Don’t give people the answers. Help guide and challenge them to apply PDCA thinking – to become experimentalists. This means that people will often fail. Lean leaders must see these failures as learning opportunities.”
  • Measurement Misnomers, and Toyota Dealership Problems by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “Any time a measurement is tied to an incentive, then it is likely to be manipulated at some level… Metrics are abstractions, by definition. That means they never truly represent reality… Don’t throw out your measurements. Just know that they don’t give you the whole story. Take the time to understand the current state as it actually happens, through direct observation.”
  • Suddenly, Deming is Relevant Again by Art Petty – “I’m also critically concerned about learning from the past and understanding the wisdom of those that came before us. We’ve not yet moved beyond the flaws and failings that Deming saw clearly in the management practices of the industrial revolution. ” [I agree, John – ]
  • It’s not a promise, it’s a guess by David Heinemeier Hansson – “Software development is inherently unpredictable… That’s the true value of estimates. That it sets up conversational constraints that can be used as boundaries for trading concessions.”
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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.”
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Management Improvement Carnival #86

The collection of posts from 10 blogs that made up the 2009 annual management blog are counted as Management Improvement Carnival #85, making this post #86.

  • Are Slogans Always Bad or Can They Inspire? by Mark Graban – “Why are slogans bad? Dr. Deming writes, in part, ‘They are directed at the wrong people. They arise from management’s supposition that the production workers could, by putting their backs into the job, accomplish zero defects, improve quality, improve productivity, and all else that is desirable.””
  • Fail, Learn, Lead by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “we don’t want to encourage people to make mistakes, but what do we want? We want people to surface mistakes or errors as they occur. We want them to own them and fix them. And we do want them to learn from them when they do occur”
  • Five Change Management Errors that Make You Wish You’d Read this Article Sooner by Jon Miller – “it’s best to spend most of the time debating the guiding principles and values of lean in order to gain deep alignment, and then let the tools and specific solutions follow from that.”
  • Joy, hope, and lean by Karen Wilhelm – “I think it’s joy and hope that propel continuous improvement. We’re just humans, with primitive brains that run on emotions more often than on facts and figures.”
  • Motiv’s Scott Wilbur Teaches Brunswick a Lesson by Kevin Meyer – “Brunswick moved a bowling ball factory from Michigan to Mexico to chase cheap labor… and paid for it in quality. Meanwhile Scott Wilbur decided to stay behind, started Motiv, and became profitable making bowling balls in Michigan.”
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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

2009 Annual Management Blog Review Part 1

The 2009 annual management improvement blog review is underway. Jamie Flinchbaugh found excellent posts from In Pursuit of Elegance, Shmula blog and Got Boondoggle? Those posts include:

Mark J. Anderson has highlighted posts from Work Matters and will be reviewing Seth Godin and the Hexawise blog in upcoming posts. Highlights from Bob Sutton include: Intuition vs. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Some Rough Ideas.

Jon Miller scoured the Lean is Good, Daily Kaizen and Jamie Flinchbaugh and has posted valuable highlights, including:

Be sure to check out each carnival post and each of the posts they highlight. The review shows how much excellent material is published on management blogs. 2009 Management Improvement Blog Carnival provides links to the carnival posts noted above, and will include others as they are posted. This is the second year we have posted an annual management blog review: 2008 management blog review.

Reading these posts will give you plenty of ideas to help you make the new year a happy year.

2009 Annual Management Blog Review

Over the next 2 weeks several management blogs will be posting their contributions to the 2009 year in review of management blogs. Posts will highlight some of the best posts on other management blogs in the last year.

The home page of the 2009 review of management blogs will be updated as new posts are added.

The hosts of the 2009 management blog carnival include the: Lean Blog,
Jamie Flinchbaugh, Stats Made Easy, Gemba Panta Rei and Lean Reflections.

See the 2008 year in review for management blogs. See management improvement carnival posts.

Management Improvement Carnival #84

The Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival provides links to recent blog posts on improving the management of organizations.

  • How Do You Get from Here to Agile? Iterate. by Mike Cohn – “…following an iterative transition process. Making small changes on a continual basis is a logical way to adopt a development process that is itself iterative.”
  • What is Lean? by Mike Wroblewski – “Do we measure leanness on the number of lean tools being used? Let’s see, 5-S check, Kanban check, Regular kaizen events check, A3 no, TPM no, VSM no, (add as many tools to your checklist as your experience tells you)….sorry you are not lean…”
  • How to Deal with a Bad Boss — 3 Approaches by Harwell Thrasher – “There are basically three approaches to dealing with a bad boss: leave, get rid of the boss, or make the situation better.”
  • Defining the Problem Statement by Tim McMahon – “The problem statement should not address more than one problem. The problem statement should not assign a cause. The problem statement should not assign blame. The problem statement should not offer a solution.”
  • Hospitals Saving Millions with Staff Suggestions by Mark Graban – “The baseline number that Norman Bodek often cites for companies like Toyota or Canon is that the company saves $4,000 per employee based on employee kaizen suggestions.”
  • How Much Time In Gemba? by Lee Fried – “Each leader has very clear standard work which includes checking on local standards, progress of improvements and walking frontline processes.”
  • 2 Quick Tips on Meetings by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “First, consider if you even need the meeting to begin with…”
  • The Advantages of A1 Thinking Over A3 Thinking by Jon Miller – “The A1 thinking document is four times larger than the A3 document. It is big. You can read it from across the room. The caveat is that you have to write at least four times as big as you would on an A3. Don’t use the extra space to cram in more information!”
  • Historical Data on the Largest Manufacturing Countries by John Hunter – The first chart shows the USA’s share of the manufacturing output… at 28.1% in 1990, 32% in 2000, 28% in 2005, and 24% in 2008. China’s share has grown from 4% in 1990, 10% in 2000, 13% in 2005 to 18% in 2008.

Related: Curious Cat management articlesCurious Cat Economics and Investing Carnival