Tag Archives: Education

The Lean MBA

Kevin Meyer recaps the ideas of Improving Management Education [the broken link was removed] by M.L. Emiliani in his post – The Lean MBA. I suggest reading his post and the original article.

In the Curious Cat Science and Engineering blog, The Future is Engineering points to 2 great essays on the secret of Silicon Valley. Guy Kawasaki puts it well, though in my opinion far to kind to our current MBA system (the inordinate focus on accounting does actual harm above and beyond the harm of ignoring what managers should learn):

If I had to point to the single biggest reason for Silicon Valley’s existence, it would be Stanford University—specifically, the School of Engineering. Business schools are not of primary importance because MBAs seldom sit around discussing how to change the world with great products.

Some previous posts here that talk about similar ideas: The Purpose of OrganizationsManagement Training ProgramPerformance Appraisal ProblemsFind the Root Cause Instead of the Person to BlameRespect for PeopleManagement Advice FailuresWhat is Wrong with MBA’sCommon Data Analysis ProblemManage what you can’t measure

What is Wrong with MBA’s

Two interesting posts from Compound Thinking: What is Management? [the broken link was removed – this is one of many examples of a good blog’s domain lapsing and being bought by someone to promote unrelated items.]:

Management is helping others become great.

Well said. As Deming would say management’s responsibility is to work on improving the system (to allow everyone in the system to do great work). This encompasses a wide variety of things, including:

  • creating sensible hiring processes
  • designing systems that allow people to do great work and take pride in what they do
  • providing a system of education and training

What’s wrong with MBAs? [the broken link was removed]:

MBA graduates generally aren’t the kind of people dedicated to helping other people achieve greatness.

Instead, they want to achieve greatness on their own — which can be a worthy goal. It’s just a terrible goal for a manager. Good managers are relentlessly focused on helping the people they work for perform at their best.

There certainly is something about MBA graduates that they often focus on measuring how important they are and how much they should be paid. I believe his statement that “managers should be dedicated to helping others achieve greatness.” This can run counter to performance appraisals schemes where people have to claim responsibility for successes in order to get more cash.

It is hard enough to create and sustain great management systems without adding more challenges to achieving success. When the management system results in having credit for each success fought over (to allocate credit to whoever convinces others they deserve the credit) it is much harder.

Related: Joel’s MBADeming’s 14 obligations of managementposts about respect for peopleSeven Deadly Diseases

W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award

W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award [the broken link was removed] from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Graduate School. The award honors W. Edwards Deming for his 22-year association with the Graduate School, USDA as a mathematics and statistics faculty member and curriculum chair.

Award Eligibility:

The W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award is presented annually by the Graduate School, USDA to a federal government unit or department that has successfully completed an innovative and impressive employee development and training initiative that has achieved measurable results. Individuals are not eligible for this award.

Request a 2006 Deming Nomination Packet [the broken link was removed].

The Graduate School, USDA names the Naval Surface Warfare Center the winner of the W. Edwards Deming Award for 2005.

The Graduate School, USDA has named the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division: Naval Systems Command the 2005 winner of the W. Edwards Deming Award. Faced with the prospect of substantial attrition of senior managers due to retirement, in 2001 the Center developed a Management Succession Program. An established training institution delivered two sessions, which honed management skills through improved competencies and action learning. Participants were mostly first-level supervisors, and the courses focused on problem solving, conflict management, leadership and communication skills and the ability to build coalitions and affect organizational change. The first class has achieved concrete results. In just three years these trainees hold more than 20 percent of department head or equivalent positions. The Center anticipates further organizational gain.

Runners-up for the Deming Award are three offices in the Social Security Administration – the Office of Systems Electronic Disability (eDib) Training for the IT Professional, the Office of Training in the Office of Human Resources and the Allegation Management Division in the Office of the Inspector General – and the Fundamentals Training Staff at the National Park Service.

The Graduate School presents the W. Edwards Deming Award to a federal government organization or civilian branch of the military that has completed an innovative employee training initiative with measurable results.

Deming Management Method
Deming Prize
2005 Deming Prize Awardees
2004 Deming Prize Awardees
How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business [the broken link was removed], W. Edwards Deming Institute, I will be co-presenting this seminar – John Hunter.

Lean Education Academic Network

Lean Education Academic Network [the broken link was removed], is a group of academic and industry people interested in bringing lean content into academic programs. The Leaneduc email list will send you announcements from the network.

From Exclusive Q&A with Jim Womack, Part 4:

We recently came across a new industrial engineering text from a major American publisher titled something like “Principles of Lean Engineering” in which the first chapter was about … Economic Order Quantity! It got Jim so mad that he decided it was time to bring together all of the right-minded engineering faculty along with operations faculty from business schools to create the just-formed Lean Education Academic Network (LEAN). The idea is for right-minded faculty to share all of the existing teaching materials and then devise the kind of textbooks and teaching materials that should have been universally used years ago.

Management Training Program

Fog Creek Software Management Training Program by Joel Spolsky:

Finally, when you’re really really good, they let you hang around with Yussef on the ovens. Yussef was about 100 years old and so good at running the ovens it was scary. When Gabbi tried to show me how to solve the problem of bread sticking to the conveyer belts on the way out of the oven, he ran back and forth like a lunatic for ten minutes, turning knobs, pulling levers, redirecting heat, and burning a few hundred loaves while he struggled to get things under control.

But Yussef, facing the same problem, turned one tiny knob on a seemingly-unrelated chimney about one degree to the right. It made no sense, he couldn’t explain why it worked, but it did: it solved the problem instantly and suddenly perfect loaves started popping out. It took me another couple of years to really understand the complex relationships between heat and humidity inside an 80 foot tunnel oven, but it would have taken ten more years before I could solve problems as well as Yussef did.

From the Lion of Lean [the broken link was removed] (an interview with James Womack):

So I said to the Toyota executive, “You’ve only got two or three suppliers per category, and you never take bids. How do you know you aren’t being ripped off?” So this guy, who was around 60, gives me an incredibly frosty look and says, “Because I know everything.” Everything? “That’s my job,” he says.

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Education Improvement

Pattillo Tutors Granville School on Teaching Method [unfortunately the newspaper broke the link so I removed it] by Natalie Jordan, Rocky Mount Telegram (North Carolina, USA):

The model uses a PDSA – plan, do, study and act – component. “Plan” clarifies the purpose; “do” is when an action plan is made and done; “study” involves analyzing results; and “act” is to make improvements.

Through core values and strategic categories, the model is improving the way teachers teach and students learn, Olmsted said.

Education is another area where applying management improvement concepts can be difficult. The Education area does require special care but management improvement concepts can work very well in Education.

David Langford has done some great work in this area. He wrote a book, Orchestrating Learning With Quality, which while I would definitely recommend it for anyone planning on applying these concepts, it does not really capture the power of his contributions in my opinion.

The Quality in Our Schools [new link to related site also by Ivan on School Improvement] site (by Ivan Webb in Australia) also is a good resource.