Management Improvement Carnival #130

The management blog carnival highlights recent management blog posts 3 times each month. The posts generally focus on the areas I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement guide since 1996 (Deming, lean thinking, agile software development, respect for people, leadership…).

  • Autonomy: condition for continuous improvement by Rob van Stekelenborg – “Teams that should take the responsibility over a (part of a) process should at the same time also be given the opportunity to actually improve something within their area of responsibility… That the team is allowed to experiment with suggestions that were put forward…”
  • Laying Off Hands, Losing Brains by Kevin Meyer – “Remember, there’s a brain attached to that pair of hands. Value can be created even if the hands aren’t being used at the moment.”
  • Lunch by Joel Spolsky – “Ten years ago Michael and I set out with the rather ambitious goal of making a great place to work. Eating together is a critical part of what it means to be human and what it means to have a humane workplace, and that’s been a part of our values from day one.”
  • Tools, Rules, Principles, and Lean Wallpaper by Art Smalley – “You need a critical mass of people that have both the right thinking patterns (know what) but also the right technical knowledge (know how)… Unfortunately I don’t see as much advancement on the actual technical “know how” dimension of the equation and until that problem is solved actual performance results will not match up with the associated performance expectations.”
  • How to succeed in business by doing nothing by Michael Blastland – “the fashion for corporate dashboards displaying up-to-the-minute information about company performance makes me wonder – will bosses everywhere be staring at the numbers, twitching with every down, feeling the pulse race with every up, on the phone demanding action with every flicker on the dial?” [tampering is a common problem – John]
  • Exorbitant Executive Salaries = Resources Wasted On Those Who Don’t Need Them by Aaron Anderson – “The question I raise here is as to if the monies beyond a certain level of salary might not be better spent on developing a pool of resources that can be utilized to generate organizational slack that can invigorate invention, creativity, and lead to new ways of doing in an ongoing way that allows people to break free of the shackles of the long standing tradition or status quo.”

  • When things go wrong, you need to find underlying causes and institute countermeasures (poka-yoke and often measures to reduce symptoms if problems re-occur). Amazon has a technical post on their recent attempts to do so: Summary of the Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS Service Disruption in the US East Region. 2008 post, Amazon S3 Failure Analysis.
  • What should the aim of a Factorial Designed Experiment Be? by John Hunter – The proper aim really depends on the hopes for the designed experiment and the associated costs and risks… The process of discovery is the key but it has to be tempered by the costs and anticipated rewards.

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