Category Archives: Carnival

Management Blog Review 2012: Gemba Walkabout

This is my second, of two, 2012 management blog review posts. In this post I look back at the last year on Mike Stoecklein’s Gemba Walkabout blog. Mike is the Director of Network Operations at Thedacare Center for Healthcare Value.

photo of Mike Stoecklein
  • In a very long post, Some thoughts on guiding principles, values & behaviors, he provides a sensibly explanation for one the real difficulties organization have making progress beyond a certain point (project success but failure to succeed in transforming the management system). “I’m not saying this approach (focus on tools, teams, events) is wrong, but I do think it is incomplete. I think we also need to work from right to left – to help people understand the guiding principles, to think about the kinds of systems they want and to use tools to design and redesign those systems. Dr. Shigeo Shingo said, ‘people need to know more than how, they need to know why’.

    Most managers view their organization like an org chart, managed vertically. They assume that the organization can be divided into parts and the parts can be managed separately

    It’s what they believe, and what they don’t know is that is is wrong – especially for a complex organization.
    If their thinking was based on the guiding principles (for instance “think systemically”) they would manage their organization differently. They would see their organization as as set up interdependent components working together toward a common aim.”
  • Reflections on My (Brief) Time with Dr. Deming – “The executives thought he was pleased. When they were done with their ‘show’ he thanked them for their time, but he wanted to know what ‘top management’ was doing. He pointed out that they were talking about improvements on the shop floor, which accounted for only about 3 percent of what was important.” When executives start to radical change what they work on the organization is starting to practice what Dr. Deming taught. Mike recorded a podcast with Mark Graban on working with Dr. Deming.
  • Standard Work and PDSA – “What I have noticed is that sometimes people insert another wedge (shown as black) in the diagram below. So, progress gets stopped because some seem to believe that standard work doesn’t get adjusted as you make improvement.” This is a brilliant graphic including the text standard work misued. The 2 biggest problem with “standard work” in practice is ignoring the standards and treating them as barriers to improvement. Standard work should be practiced and if that is a problem the standard work guidance should be changed.
image showing how failure to adjust standard work can block progress

During the year stay current with great posts twice a month via the Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival.

Related: Management Blog Review 2012: Not Running a Hospital2011 Management Blog Roundup: Stats Made EasyStandardized Work InstructionsAnnual Management Blog Review: Software, Manufacturing and Leadership

Curious Cat 5th Annual Management Blog Review – Part 1

This is the 5th year in which multiple management blogs have participated in reviewing the year in management blogging. Once again we have many great blogs reviewed. Each year a few blog authors stop, or nearly stop publishing, but each year more great new management blogs start.

Here are links to the reviews that have been posted so far with the number of years each author has participated in the annual review.

Years Author of blog blogs reviewed
5 Kevin Meyer, Evolving Excellence Edit Innovation and TimeBack Management
4 Dan Markovitz, TimeBack Management Evolving Excellence and Brad Power on HBR blog
3 Tanmay Vora, QAspire HR Bartender, Jamie Flinchbaugh and Seth Godin
3 Mark Hamel, Gemba Tales Old Lean Dude
2 Tim McMahon, A Lean Journey Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, encob blog and Kaizen Notebook
2 Matt Wrye, Beyond Lean Lean Blitz and My Flexible Pencil
1 Michel Baudin Gemba Panta Rei, Lean Edge and Lean Reflections
1 Evan Durant, Kaizen Notebook Gemba Tales and Gotta Go Lean
1 Dragan Bosnjak, encob blog Gemba Coach and The Lean Edge
1 Scott Rutherford, Square Peg Musings Fridge Magnets

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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #183

The Curious Cat Management Carnival is published twice each month. The posts selected for the carnival focus on the areas of management improvement I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Guide since 1996: Deming, innovation, lean manufacturing, customer focus, leadership, six sigma, respect for employees…

    Huge statue at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by John Hunter.

  • How would you explain what Lean is to a 7-year-old? by Ron Pereira – “Daddy tries to teach people how to work faster and make less mistakes. And, most importantly, we also try to teach people to be nice and respect each other… that way everyone can do their very best.”
  • We must think of the whole enterprise as a continually evolving system by Jeff Liker – “Customer care call center–This is housed in the same building as Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance California and the call centers function like the work groups in Toyota plants to the extend of even holding weekly quality circle meetings and having a team leader and group leader structure as well as visual metrics with targets for improvement.”
  • The maker/manager transition phase – “One of the hardest things as a developer transitioning into a manager role has been to get a feeling of progress without writing code. Progress is usually clear with code, and harder with manager activities… As a founder you’re in the best position to guide people and help them be super productive. That becomes your role.”
  • How do mid-level managers convince the CEO that adopting lean practices is worthwhile? by Michael Ballé – “You can’t convince your boss to do lean, but you can become more convincing yourself by doing lean rather than talking about it. Few consultants ever get lean because they’re always thinking about getting others to apply it, but not them. As a result, their own learning curve stagnates. Don’t fall into that trap. Lean yourself before you try to lean others.”
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #182

The Curious Cat Management Blog Carnival has been published since 2006. The carnival, published twice a month, links to great, recent, management blog posts. I hope you find these post interesting and find some new blogs to start reading. Follow me online: Google+, Twitter and elsewhere.

  • How to Build it: Lean Prototyping Techniques for Hardware – “Good user feedback is essential, and this feedback should guide making the next round of prototypes. It is an iterative cycle. The key to making good products is making mistakes early and learning from them. This is best done through prototyping and getting user feedback.”
  • 3 Reasons Why Layoffs Don’t Benefit Hospitals in the Long Run by Bob Herman – “Dr. Gruner says ThedaCare has had a “no layoff” philosophy and commitment to Lean techniques, similar to Scripps, since 2003. He agrees with Mr. Van Gorder, saying layoffs are only a patchwork strategy with immediate financial gains and long-term financial and cultural losses. However, focusing on the retention of employees without layoffs is actually the simpler strategy — it just requires an undying commitment and focus.”
  • The Greatest Waste by John Hunter – “The sentiment of failing to use the ability of people is not that uncommon. But putting the thought and effort behind changing that failure is. Dr. Deming consistently re-inforced the creation of a management system that sought to take advantage of the ability of people.”
  • Coach Says: What Do You Think? by John Shook – “Your challenge will be to find a way to reconcile the apparent contradiction. You need to reconcile them not to satisfy the sensei (absolutely not for that reason) but to deepen your own learning. Presume that there is some truth in what both sensei are telling you. You need to determine just what that truth is and how you can make sense of it in this specific situation.”
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #181

The Curious Cat management blog carnival is published twice a month: with hand picked recent management blog posts. I also publish a collection management improvement articles on the Curious Cat Management Articles site.

Management Improvement Blog Carnival #180

The Curious Cat Management Carnival is published twice each month. The posts selected for the carnival focus on the areas of management improvement I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Guide since 1996: Deming, lean manufacturing, customer focus, six sigma, systems thinking, respect for employees…

  • Dr. Deming on Innovation by John Hunter – “What you need to do is know your customers (and potential customers) and business so well that you can innovate to meet their unmet needs (even when those potential customers can’t give voice to what they would like to see).”
  • Just Observing, Sir. by Kevin Meyer – “When you rush around focused on firefighting and fixing things, you miss the nuance of the process.

    Take some time to ‘just’ observe. Better yet, make it part of the ongoing routine of you and your staff.”
  • The most destructive misunderstanding in today’s work life by Sami Honkonen – “Thinking that high utilization leads to good results is the most destructive misunderstanding still prevalent in work life. This misunderstanding is based on the false assumption that working hard is always the best way to get results… We should focus on results, not utilization.”
  • Do We Know How to Learn? by Gregg Stocker – “The power of PDSA thinking lies in the realization that every decision is, in effect, a prediction that a specific outcome will occur. If one consciously adopts this mindset and practices it to the point where it becomes natural, significant learning can occur.”
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #179

The Curious Cat Management Blog Carnival has been published since 2006. The carnival links to great management blog posts; it is published twice a month. I hope you find these post interesting and find some new blogs to start reading. Follow me online: Google+, Twitter and elsewhere.

  • Lean Versus Historical TPS by Art Smalley – “identify what are your impediments to improvement and work on those. In particular as what are barriers to higher equipment uptime, higher process capability, safer equipment, higher capital and labor productivity without adding cost, more highly trained personnel, and you will be on the right track. I call this building better process stability and it is an essential yet often ignored element of the historical Toyota Production System.”
  • 5 Critical Control Chart Characteristics You May Not Be Aware Of by Ron Pereira – “No matter if you call yourself a ‘lean practitioner’ or ‘six sigma practitioner’ or some combination of the two… one ‘tool’ you should have a deep understanding of is the control chart.”
  • photo of Mount Merapi in Indonesia

    Mount Merapi, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia by John Hunter.

  • Adaptability vs Evolutionary Change by David J. Anderson – “Organizations with evolutionary capability have resilience – they remain relevant despite changing circumstances and maintain high levels of effectiveness as the environment around them changes. Kanban is a means to install evolutionary capability and deliver on higher level agility. Evolutionary capability defines second generation Agile methods.”
  • Completion: Limiting WIP Post II by Jim Benson – “When we limit work-in-progress, we not only limit the number of projects we are working on, but also the number of tasks. This helps us complete tasks efficiently and effectively. When we are done, we understand what we did. While we are doing the tasks we are fully aware of how long they are taking.”
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #178

The Curious Cat management blog carnival is published twice a month: with hand picked recent management blog posts. I also collect management improvement articles for the Curious Cat Management Articles site.

  • Disruptive Management by Bill Waddell – “The professional management experts break the fundamental rule of lean – they miss Dr Deming’s essential point. Failure is ascribed to personal failing, rather than flawed processes.”
  • Amazon’s Play by John Gruber – “What he’s [Bezos] done that is Jobs-like is doggedly pursue, year after year, iteration after iteration, a vision unlike that of any other company — all in the name of making customers happy.”
photo of stupas at Borobudur Buddhist temple with mountains in the background

Stupas at Borobudur Buddhist temple in Java, Indonesia. Photo by John Hunter. See a video and more photos of the Borobudur temple.

  • The absurdity of the 40 hour workweek by Dan Markovitz – “Even if you’re not a plumber or a lawyer, there’s a tendency to focus on the amount of time you spend on a project and what the output is.”
  • Metrics in Lean – Deming versus Drucker by Michel Baudin – Deming “thought MBO was a bad idea and he would not pussyfoot. 15 years later, Drucker himself came around to the same point of view and recognized that MBO had failed.” [also many comments on the post are interesting – John]
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #177

I am returning to publishing the Curious Cat management carnival twice a month; from the schedule of three times a month that has been the case recently. The posts selected for the carnival focus on the areas of management improvement I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Guide since 1996.

  • Delegate or die: the self-employed trap by Derek Sivers – “Because my team was running the business, I was free to actually improve the business!”
  • Why You Must Stop Putting Out Fires: the Urgent Disrupts; the Important Erupts – “Firefighting, sadly, is a lot easier than fire preventing. It takes comparatively little thought. You just get into “action mode” and can be really busy. Busy resembles productive. And you feel like a hero. But, when you really stop to ponder the matter, wouldn’t it be better if you allowed the important, planful, preventive work to erupt from the constraints you’ve placed on it so those fires never occurred?”
  • via, Innovation is Nothing but ECRS by Jon Miller – “The letters ECRS stand for a work analysis and redesign method originating in industrial engineering and commonly used as part of kaizen. The work is observed and the observer looks for opportunities to improve by taking steps to eliminate, combine, rearrange or simplify each step.”
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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #176

Karl Scotland is hosting the 176th Management Improvement Carnival. Highlights include:

  • One set of posts that caught my eye was on Agile Fluency. The original post by James Shore and Diana Larsen proposes “a model of Agile fluency that will help you achieve Agile’s benefits. Fluency evolves through four distinct stages, each with its own benefits, costs of adoption, and key metrics”. Dave Nicolette responded that “the gist of the article appears to be that we can effect organizational improvement in a large company by driving change from the level of individual software development teams…
  • No, Really: We Don’t Do Forced Ranking and Performance Reviews