Friday, September 30, 2011

Avoid Bad Technology Non-Solutions Using Agile and PDSA

Automation is Not Always the Answer, in Retail or Healthcare
I’m not anti-technology. I just believe strongly in the “Toyota Way” principle that states: “Use Only Reliable, Thoroughly Tested Technology That Serves Your People and Processes”
Very good post. I am a big proponent of technology. My career path was basically from helping management improve organizational performance to IT program manager doing that same thing. I did that because there were so many opportunities to improve using technology. But there are big problems. Many technology solutions are lousy. If people applied PDSA thinking they would be much better off. agile software development does this to a reasonable degree (I think they could do more in that vein but it is decent now). A big reason I moved into technology myself was because getting IT solutions implemented properly (even half way decently) was nearly impossible. And this is true all over. If you use PDSA, systems thinking (Deming's view not computer systems) and agile software development methods you will avoid the all too common technology messes and instead take advantage of technology. You also need people that have the right skills and knowledge - knowing how to use technology properly seems to be less common that you would think given all the technology around us. Related: Involve IT Staff in Business Process Improvement - Information Technology and Business Process Support

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

History, ASQ and the Future

The Past, The Future, Quality, and ASQ
does the quality community bear some responsibility for making sure its philosophic foundations are not lost to history?
Managers fail to adopt old, proven ideas.  I blame, mostly, managers themselves for this.  Organizations, like ASQ, should also do a much better job, too.  Unfortunately, ASQ has a long way to go in promoting quality.  Huge amounts of historical content is locked away, hidden from the open internet.  Also, I agree with Steve Prevette's comments (Aug 24th comment), in my experience in dealing with ASQ (and watching from afar for years now) there is far too much attention on growing revenue and far to little on promoting good management practices.  That isn't that surprising for a bureaucracy.  They often turn to attempts to grow revenue (and often promotions, bonuses...) over any mission the organization has.

It makes perfect sense for ASQ to focus on the mission and seek revenue to allow greater reach.  I'm sure that is how ASQ wants to see the last few decades.  I don't see it that way, but I doubt that matters much.

I'll actually give ASQ's web presence a good review over the next few weeks.  I haven't paid much attention in a few years and it is good too see if ASQ has started to take providing good content online seriously every few years (but from 1995-2009 I never found much good being done, sadly - the potential is huge for ASQ but it has not been a priority from what I can tell).  At the same time I monitor what is going with management online pretty heavily and find extremely few references to ASQ material in all the content I review (which is not a good sign for ASQ).
I hope ASQ puts promoting better management as the aim and re-orients their actions based on that primary aim, but I am not optimistic. I have seen, for too long, the seeming focus being on maintaining and growing the organization ASQ and selling quality management related material as the means to that end.

Some past, related posts by me: - Classic Management Theories are Still Relevant - Data Based Blathering - ASQ and ACSI - Early History of Quality Management Online