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]

    • photo of Wally Bock

      Wally Bock

      Wally Bock posts frequently to his Three Star Leadership blog on management and leadership topics. The posts provide wisdom to help any manager improve the performance of their organization. He includes wonderful short bottom lines to capture the main point of the article, here are some examples:

      • Bosses: Give Frequent and Usable Feedback – “Giving feedback is one of the most important parts of your job. Feedback is only effective if it’s frequent and helpful.” [Few people would argue with this, but it just isn’t done nearly frequently enough in organizations – John]
      • The Attitude Trap – “Working on a “bad attitude” directly is a trap. It gets you argument, denial, or withdrawal. So identify the behavior or performance behind the attitude and work on that. Don’t forget the people with a good attitude. Identify the behavior or performance behind it and make sure you’re giving some positive feedback.”
      • Amy’s Halloween Costume – “Don’t just tell your team members what to do. Tell them why as well. People are more likely to do what you want when they know the why as wells as the what.”
      • Management for a New Age – “Whatever ultimately happens, a knowledge economy like the one we’ll have for some time will require you to tinker less while you support and coach more.”
      • Making the Move to Boss: Three Phases of Transition – “The transition from individual contributor to boss is one of the toughest in life. Don’t try to force it. Give it the time it needs. Revel in the personal growth.”
      • Why people would rather plan than execute – “The important parts of your job are accomplishing the mission and caring for your people. Those are “execution” things. Planning is only important if it helps you execute more effectively.”
      • 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.”
      • Complex Adaptive Systems and You – “Your team is a complex adaptive system. We are just now learning what that means, but it surely means that your job will change so that there will be less planning and more allowing.”
      • Putting Drive to Work: Intrinsic Motivation – “No matter how lowly your spot on the organizational chart, if you’re a boss, you’re the one most responsible for an environment where intrinsic motivation can do its magic.”
      • All three of these blogs, and so many more management blogs, provide managers excellent resources to grow their understanding and capabilities. I encourage you to subscribe to these blogs and many more, from the management blog review, and engage in discussions through the blog comment sections and with those at your organization that share your interest in improving the practice of management.

        As Wally Bock says in Becoming a Great Leader is Up to You: Your leadership development is your responsibility. The abundance of great management content on blogs is a great resource, it is also much less convincing to argue that you couldn’t be expected to improve management in your organization with so many excellent resources available to you if you just make the effort.

        The Curious Cat Management blog carnival highlights management blog posts 3 times a month.

        Related: Improving Software Development with Automated TestsMy 2009 management blog review postCurious Cat management blog directoryCurious Cat Management Search Engine

3 thoughts on “Annual Management Blog Review: Software, Manufacturing and Leadership

  1. Pingback: Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog » 3rd Annual Management Blog Review Part 2 of 2

  2. Pingback: 2011 Management Blog Roundup: Lean Six Sigma Blog » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog

  3. Pingback: Management Blog Review 2012: Not Running a Hospital » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog

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