For my contribution to the 4th annual management blog roundup I am taking a look at 3 management blogs. In this post I look back at the year that was at the Lean Six Sigma blog.
We are lucky to have so many great management blogs to read all year. They provide inspiration and great advice to managers. Though, one of my frustrations is how few good six sigma resources there are online. In this area we are unlucky. The disparity between the amazingly high number of very high quality lean blogs and agile software development blogs compared to almost nothing of similar quality for six sigma content is dramatic (and unfortunate).
Ron Pereira is the managing partner of Lean Six Sigma Academy and the Gemba Academy which provide high quality online lean manufacturing training. One of the ways Ron stands out are his posts that make continuous improvement a family affair (which I appreciate given that I grew up in such an environment).
In Let’s Dance he looks at understanding psychology as it relates to working with groups/teams (in this case his daughters soccer team): “my coaching style and my assistant coach’s style had become a bit too intense and, as a result, the girls were playing tight and scared to make mistakes… We kept this ‘dancing’ theme alive for the rest of the season. During warm-ups before games I, and the girls, would dance like fools. The other teams watched us like we were nuts… but we didn’t care. We kept right on laughing and dancing.” Take a look at this post, it really packs in a ton of great thoughts for managers.
Another way Ron stands out is with his webcasts on discussion lean terms (the gemba glossary). In this webcast he looks at the topic of standardized work processes.
One of the great things about blogs is the focus on what people really deal with day in and day out. It is nice to read about a great management system in a book like the Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes. But what do you do when you are in a much more common situation, where others don’t share your desire to reshape the management system into something new and better? Ron took a look at this in his post: 3 Things You Can Do When Your Manager Doesn’t Support Continuous Improvement: “The best way to combat this is to demonstrate the value without them asking you to. In other words, make something better and let them know about it. And when I say make it better I mean it. Do something to positively impact the business.”
Another wonderful family related post by Ron this year was Training Wheels – “Like most young people my boy was itching to take the training wheels off his bicycle… The best part of all is he’s learning to solve his own problems. He’s not waiting for people to hand him things on a platter… How many times do we continuous improvement practitioners moan and groan about the lack of management support when, in actuality, even though they may not care they won’t stop you from making things better?”
You might notice none of these posts is really six sigma specific. That is fine, much of what is called six sigma came from TQM, Deming and such management concepts. Six sigma also took tools and ideas from lean thinking/Toyota though the adoption of the lean manufacturing terminology and attention to lean thinking is much greater in the last 5 years than it was when six sigma started.
There is still a big opening for those with ideas worth sharing related to six sigma. Get some ideas looking at all the 2011 management blog roundup posts for what people appreciate in management blogs and then share your six sigma experiences. I think it would be very hard for anyone to read all the great lean blog posts (there are just so many now), reading all the great six sigma blog posts would not take much time.
In my final Roundup of 2011, I will take a look at Mark Anderson’s Stats Made Easy blog. While he didn’t use the words “six sigma” on the blog in 2011 (according to a search of the blog) he provides meaningful insight into the statistical thinking so integral to successful six sigma efforts.