Monday, January 30, 2006
I attended the conference and posted: "Mike Beck gave an excellent presentation at the Deming Institute conference about the United Technology Corporation management improvement system. I plan on posting more about the session." I have not posted an update :-0 but now you can hear it yourself. I also thought the "Back to the Future" presentation by Larry Smith was excellent. You can also read this article, on the same topic (manufacturing at Ford in the 1970s to today) by him.
The Deming Institute is also presenting a seminar, How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business, 24-26 April, 2006 in Boston. I will be co-presenting the seminar. Let me know if you sign up.
The Deming Institute also offers Dr. Deming presenting his Four Day Seminar in 1992 (Eight Video Tape set for $275 - Tape or DVD).
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
In response to: Why executives order reorgs
"We trained hard... but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion; inefficiency, and demoralization."
These lines, from the Satyricon of Petronius written 2,000 years ago...
Unfortunately it seems this quote is not actually his. Instead apparently someone attributed the quote to him to give it the weight of time. I think that the sentiment expressed rings true speaks to the experience of many.
The Improvement Guide: the Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance, is an excellent handbook on making changes that are improvements rather than just a way to create the illusion of progress. The book uses three simple questions to frame the improvement strategy.
- What are we trying accomplish?
- How will we know that a change is an improvement?
- What changes can we make that will result in improvement?
Once the organization does that regularly, the next step is to actually measure the results and validate the success or failure of the improvement efforts.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
China's Economy Grew 9.9% in 2005, Overtaking France
Gross domestic product rose to 18.2 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) after expanding 10.1 percent in 2004, statistics bureau commissioner Li Deshui said today in Beijing. Investment in urban areas jumped 27.2 percent last year, he said.
2003 data, from Geohive (their source the World Bank):
|United States:||$10.9 trillion|
|United Kingdom:||$1.8 trillion|
|South Korea:||$.6 trillion|
Monday, January 23, 2006
My comments on, Take off the Blinders:
I think the question of what other companies have management practices worth studying is interesting. The answer could be very helpful as others could learn from what those companies do. There are at least two difficulties in identifying the: 1) defining what set of criteria would indicate successful organizations 2) most often even companies that are doing many things well leave much to be desired (so picking organizations worth studying can be difficult and even once that is done deciding which practices to credit for the success is often mostly a matter of opinion).
Many organizations do some things very well: Google, Dell, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Grameen Bank, MIT, Gates Foundation global health, Ameritrade, SAS, the Container Store, Home Depot, Apple, Snap-on tools, Wikipedia, McDonald's. Southwest Airlines does some things very well (shouldn't they get extra credit for actually being profitable when all around them go bankrupt). Solectron does some things very well, but they have been doing poorly financially for quite some time.
How do we decide what are good organizations? Inventory turns? Profit margin? Growth? Equitable pay for management and workers? Customer satisfaction? An understanding of lean ideas (either with Lean terms or without)? Use of lean tools? Partnering with suppliers? Elimination of waste from processes. Elimination of waste from the entire product cycle? Impact on society? Sales and/or profit per employee? Low employee turnover? Integrity? Providing ever better products and services at ever lower prices?
In some ways looking for organizations using lean ideas (in different situations) and tools seem sensible (how lean ideas are applied in different situations). In others (if you want to find new ideas that might well be adopted by those using lean methods) looking for "excellent" organizations could be helpful.
I think at least two distinct benefits of exploring these ideas. One is finding practices that can be adopted. The second is learning about management practices in organizations and seeing how those practices work within that organizational system.
Most management practices cannot be plugged into any organization and work well. That practice must be applied in a sensible way given the organizational system. Learning how lean ideas (or other good ideas) are applied in varying systems can provide insight into how to integrate ideas for organization that are trying to apply lean practices.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The Energy production consumption chart is especially well done I think - pdf version of the energy chart.
Via, The best charts I've ever seen.
Edward Tufte's books are great:
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
- Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative (displaying data over time)
- Envisioning Information
Edward Tufte's web site
Thursday, January 19, 2006
As usually Ackoff provides great ideas, in an interesting and entertaining manner. This talk focuses on learning (and education and teaching) and doing the right things (effectiveness). In talking to educators Ackoff criticizes the educational system. Throughout the speech he does his normal excellent job of explaining system thinking. Enjoy.
Russell Ackoff Talk at Great Schools By Design Summit (mp3 podcast)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
When we decided to revisit the quality gurus issue, one thing was immediately apparent: There isn't any one guru who stands out above the rest. In fact, the quality profession is remarkably free of fads at the moment. Six Sigma has settled into the mainstream, and ISO 9001 has become firmly entrenched in Corporate America. So while we wait for the "Next Big Thing," we're also waiting for the next big guru.
Who does Quality Digest select this time? Dennis Arter, Paul Borawski, Joe Bransky, Michael Carmody, Subir Chowdhury, Joe De Feo, Ellen Domb, H. James Harrington, Mikel Harry, Harry Hertz, Robert H. King, Denise Robitaille, Ola Rollen, Shin Taguchi, Jack West and Donald J. Wheeler.
Who would I select, as the leaders of management improvement (lean thinking, six sigma, systems thinking, continual improvement, customer focus, innovation, leadership, quality management, theory of constraints...) thought and practice today? Answering this question leaves me open for criticism (for those I leave off, which might well just be due to the limits of those I am familiar with, and those I include), but I think it is worthwhile. I think those attempting to improvement management will be more successful if they follow the ideas expressed by those I see as having valuable insight.
I don't know where Quality Digest drew the boundaries of "quality" for coming up with their list so I am not claiming the lists are attempting to do the same thing. I will focus on those who are active (though Ackoff and Box are closer to retirement than fully active at this time). Here is my list of those that seem to have risen to the top of the leaders in management improvement (please bear in mind I am basically writing this off the top of my head, I am sure I will miss some important thoughts and my determination of these first seven is not really well thought out):
- Russell Ackoff - frankly I find it difficult to imagine a list management thought leader list, not including his name. Organizational development, systems thinking, management improvement, planning, policy deployment, learning.
- George Box: statistics, design of experiments, finding solutions (problem solving, process improvement), learning, management improvement
- James Womack and Daniel Jones: lean thinking, lean manufacturing, lean consumption, management improvement
- Eliyahu M. Goldratt: Theory of Constraints (ToC), process improvement, planning, project management
- Gary Hamel: innovation, management improvement, core competency
- Edward de Bono: creativity, problem solving
Many others that have great ideas (some of whom are not very well known): Peter Senge (systems thinking, learning), Peter Block (leadership, community), Roger Hoerl (Six Sigma), Joyce Orsini (Deming, management improvement), Joel Barker (creativity, planning, paradigm shift), Donald Berwick (systems thinking, health care improvement, management improvement, policy deployment), Gerald Suarez (Deming, psychology, systems thinking, management improvement), Clayton Christensen (systems thinking, innovation, strategy), C.K. Prahalad (strategy), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (psychology, creativity), Don Wheler (statistics, Deming), Norman Bodek (lean manufacturing), Llyod Provost (Deming, systems thinking, process improvement, statistics, policy deployment), Soren Bisgaard (six sigma, statistics), Steven Covey (time management, prioritization, leadership), Forrest Breyfogle III (Six Sigma), Chris Argyris (psychology, systems thinking, organizational development, learning), David Anderson (theory or constraints, project management, software development), Robert Kaplan (balanced scorecard), Daniel Goleman (psychology, emotional intelligence), William Waddell (lean).
Retired leaders: Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, Gerald J. Hahn, Masaaki Imai, Noriaki Kano (I am not sure the last two are retired?).
I would love to hear others comments on this topic in general. I would also be very interesting in:
- Who are the top 5 - 10 leading management improvement experts, in your personal view?
- What are the 5 - 10 books that either, you feel everyone interested in management improvement should read, or you personally find most valuable?
- Who Influences Your Thinking?
- Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Directory - many great ideas in these blogs (for whatever reason there are quite a few excellent lean manufacturing blogs - compared to the other areas of focus). Blogs play an increasing large role in influencing behavior (in management and many other areas - management will probably lag compared to many other areas).
Monday, January 16, 2006
I finished reading two very popular books this weekend: Freakonomics and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. While both books were enjoyable and interesting, they really seemed to offer a few good or interesting ideas stretched to fill a book. That is the same thought I had after reading The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. I found all of them fine. I found them to be worth reading, but I don't know they warrant as much attention as they have received.
All of these books are in Amazon's top 30. The only other book I have read, that is ranked so highly, is The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, also by Malcolm Gladwell, which I would recommend more highly.
I also plan on reading Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't (25th on the list) which I have been told is very good. I have just started reading: Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture ("only" number 377 on Amazon).
The freakonomics blog is execellent. And, as I mentioned in a previous post, Malcolm Gladwell - Synchronicity, the podcast of Malcolm Gladwell is very interesting.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Today while using Yahoo they provided this option (named "block" by Yahoo). Good. Using Yahoo Search I can now block site that hide content behind pay, or registration, walls and spam sites. Obviously it would be better if they blocked the spam sites themselves but this is a useful feature for those that sneak through.
I would also prefer if Yahoo would let me block all pages that don't display the content (that content that prompted Yahoo to suggest the link for the terms entered) without going through some paid or registration wall. But this block feature is useful in the case that they don't do so. They seem to be starting down that path (looking on the preference page but I still get many sites that are returned as matches that don't go directly to the content that was matched against).
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Public Management-The Bush Administration II by Paul Soglin:
Newt Gingrich is also a supporter of Deming's ideas: "I'm a disciple of Edwards Deming. I really believe in a culture and system of quality."
Any time I find myself in the company of Newt Gingrich, I become a little concerned, especially since he tends to bounce around and not 'drill down' to learn how things work. In addition, I don't accept all of Deming's teachings as universal truth. If anything I am more a student of Peter Scholtes, a Deming student who wrote the invaluable The Leader's Handbook: Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done
Paul Soglin also stated:
My response to his post:
Actually Deming did acknowledge that the United States government was not designed to be as efficient as possible. From page 198 of Out of the Crisis "Government service is to be judged on equity as well as on efficiency." He then quotes Oscar Ornati "We have forgotten that the function of government is more equity oriented than efficiency oriented."
Deming did not focus on the nature of government extensively, but my recollection is that he acknowledged the wisdom of the American style of government (with checks and balances and fairly complex process for creating legislation) even though parts of that system intentionally makes change difficult. My recollection is that he understood the wisdom in designing the system in this way to optimize long term benefits to the whole society, even though that creates sub optimization of certain aspects of the system.
I would be especially interested in comments from those who worked with Deming on their thoughts on his belief about the proper role of government and the balance between efficiency and equity (or other factors).
Trackback: Deming, Democracy, Quality, and Performance by Paul Soglin.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Double Trouble, Don Oldenburg, Washington Post:
He called Verizon to complain. "The customer service representative said that they knew they've been having an issue with their system double-billing," Stevenson said. "When I asked if they were taking any steps to remedy this by notifying their customers . . . or refunding money, they simply said 'no,' that most people call when they notice that they're being overcharged."
So, Verizon claims something else. Just a coincidence that the fix is not made before the person gets the interest of the Washington Post and the Post calls to find out what is going on I guess. My experience did not give me the impression they were focused much on what was important to me as a customers. The service I received seemed to be what I would expect from a company very focused on the idea that the objective of the company is to increase profits at the expense of everyone else. They do not seem to share Dr. Deming's belief that the customer, workers, owners, suppliers... are all part of a system and the company exists to benefit all the stakeholders. As the President of Toyota explained:
To our employees, we must provide a workplace where they can work with pride based on mutual trust and responsibility between labor and management, and respect for people.
Verizon's ads say:
Well, the network is important, but so is customer service. I think the sentiment they express informs us about their mentality. And I don't trust their customer service. If I did, I would get their FIOS service. But I just don't trust them to serve me in the way I would trust: Google, Amazon, Toyota... If those companies were offering FIOS I would get it.
I even came close to getting it through Verizon, but using their web site and then talking to their service representatives was so painful, I was reminded what it was like dealing with them, in the past, and I thought better of entering into business with them again. It just isn't worth risking being stuck dealing with poor customer service.
CNNMoney is not exactly intellectual discussion of economic and investing issues but normally it offers fairly good material for the large number of people. Especially those who really don't want to read Warren Buffett or Brad Setser. Still the following quote in their article, Cashing in on hot real estate is just wrong:
San Diego-based certified financial planners Christopher Van Slyke and Terry Green recommend an unconventional plan: taking out a new $500,000 ARM.
Handel and Laport can pay off their existing mortgage before the rate rises and retire their other debts. They can put the remaining $200,000 into stock and bond funds.
To be sure, borrowing against a house to put the proceeds into the market rarely makes sense. But in Handel and Laport's case it does because so much of their net worth is tied up in their home, and the super-hot L.A. real estate market looks primed for a fall...
They can convert equity that might melt away.
The way to convert some of your asset to something else is to sell that asset (or a portion of it or hedge it in some way though for a house this is not easy or maybe even really possible). It is likely difficult to sell a partial ownership interest in their house (in which the new owner would share in the increase or decrease in the value of that house) but that is the way you would convert the equity in the house to something else.
In general CNNMoney is fairly simplistic. And much of the time that is fine. Improving on the investing of most Americans is not that complicated. First, actually save some money (especially in an IRA or 401k plan). Just doing that gives a very high likelihood of improvement. Second eliminate needless high interest expenses (credit card debt...). And CNNMoney is often demonstrating the wisdom of using a budget to prioritize properly, again likely to be quite beneficial to many.
I have no doubt CNNMoney does much more good than harm, but saying that taking a loan out on the value of your real estate converts that equity, is just wrong, and is dangerous thinking.
It would be like taking a margin loan on stock (remember all those who had huge portions of their entire portfolio in one stock - remember Enron) and saying that converts your equity. No it does not. You still are taking the full equity risk with the investment. Increasing your leverage by borrowing against that investment does not convert the equity.
Another good source (overall CNNMoney is too) of economic and investment learning is Marketplace (daily radio program with podcasts on NPR). Again it is somewhat simplistic economic and investment information, but nevertheless worthwhile. Marketplace is in the second day of two weeks of broadcasting from China - quite interesting. They offer A brief tour of China's economic history (unfortunately they use flash and created a not very usable way to display the information).
Marketplace also offers a blog.
Related Posts and links:
Monday, January 09, 2006
In April of last year I posted on 10 stocks for 10 years. At that time I also setup an fund through Marketocracy, which allows for 3rd party tracking of investing results. See the results so far on Marketocracy's site. Thusfar the portfolio is up 20%, in under 9 months (versus 13% for the S&P 500 for the same period of time.
The 10 stocks didn't meet the diversification requirements for marketocracy, at the time, so I modified the portion of the portfolio for each stock when I setup the fund. The portfolio as of Jan 2006 (17% cash):
|Stock||% of fund||Current Return|
|Google - GOOG||16||114%|
|Templeton Dragon Fund - TDF||12||25%|
|Toyota - TM||10||48%|
|Dell - DELL||8||-13%|
|Petro China - PTR||5||36%|
|Cisco - CSCO||5||8%|
|Amazon - AMZN||4||39%|
|Pfizer - PFE||4||-9%|
|First Data - FDC||4||11%|
|Yahoo - YHOO||4||25%|
|Intel - INTC||3||13%|
|BP - BP||3||5%|
|Walmart - WMT||3||-5%|
|Templeton Emerging Markets Fund - EMF||2||43%|
I also manage a more aggressive fund (more volatile stocks and much more active trading) through marketocracy - see more on the Darvamore Fund The largest holdings in the Darvamore Fund are: DEPO, ATPG, CRDN, GOOG, SFCC and EEFT. More on the Sleep Well Fund.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
My response to the agilemanagement listL
I agree with David, in this thread, as well as pretty much everything else actually. If I understand his writing correctly I am probably a bit more critical of how Six Sigma is actual practiced, but that is fairly minor difference of opinion.
I have posted a couple item on managing innovation
I think David is right to point to Clayton Christen's work - people talking about managing innovation should read it. Others to read: Edward deBono (he especially has very defined processes to encourage innovative thinking) and Gary Hamel articles.
Previous post on Innovation in Organizations. Google also has good examples, on this topic:
Some people dislike the idea of managing processes. In my experience they then invent the idea that slow, boring process improvement is an alternative to innovation. That is just wrong. Process improvement should be part of a well run system, as should innovation. Deming, who many believe focused only process improvement, knew the importance of both. See several of Deming's ideas on innovation.
Because Deming talked about the importance of using data to improve processes some believe he only focused on "incremental improvement." Deming continually stressed the need to innovate. And stressed that those who did not innovate but aimed for "zero defects" or continual improvement of an outdated product or service were doomed to fail.
I have long been an advocate of Deming's ideas (which are the basis for much of lean thinking and a fair amount of Six Sigma also). So I do get annoyed when people try to paint the issue as process improvement v. innovation.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Paul Soglin, former Mayor of Madison Wisconsin, quotes one of Deming's 14 obligations of management:
In looking for online background on Deming thinking in Madison I came across this explanation of Madison's start, on the US Department of Labor site:
My father, Bill Hunter, was very involved (responsible for it, if you want my version of events) with the effort so I am interested in the results. He wrote up the experience for Deming's Out of the Crisis (pages 245-247). It is always nice to see that Deming's ideas have stayed in the minds of leaders (in Madison this is no doubt due to the great work of George Box, Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, Tom Mosgaller, Barb Hummel and many others).
For those partisans who want to hear from the other side (Soglin is a democrat), Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, is well know for his support of Deming's ideas: "I'm a disciple of Edwards Deming. I really believe in a culture and system of quality." (Transformational Leadership lecture, 2003) He met with Deming several times and has long spoken of the importance of Deming's ideas. Gringrich's required reading list (Out of the Crisis and New Economics by Deming, The Effective Executive by Drucker, The Art of War by Sun-Tzu and and 8 others).
More online resources on Madison's efforts:
- Doing More With Less in the Public Sector: A Progress Report from Madison, Wisconsin by William G. Hunter, Jan O'Neill, and Carol Wallen, June 1986
- Quality in the Community: One City's Experience, by George Box, Laurel W. Joiner, Sue Rohan and F. Joseph Sensenbrenner, June 1989
- Not online (too bad) Quality Comes to City Hall, Joseph Sensenbrenner, Harvard Business Review.
Our continuous organizational improvement journey continued in 1986 when Chief David Couper designated me as team leader of a project team to explore the concept of the Experimental Police District - a study of changing the traditional paramilitary hierarchical profession which emphasized control of its employees as well as its citizens to a new philosophy based on quality management tenets. Both would now be called customers. This change effort was premised on developing quality from the inside - out. By developing a new leadership philosophy we called "The 12 Principles of Quality Leadership", we saw improved workplace conditions and employees attitudes which then led to community benefits of improved neighborhood conditions, reduced victimization, reduction of fear, increased citizen involvement, and increased satisfaction with police.
By the way he got the job as Boise Police Chief
- Transformation and Redesign at the White House Communications Agency (pdf format) by March Laree Jacques explores how Deming and Ackoff's ideas were applied in a public sector setting.
- Quality Improvement and Government: Ten Hard Lessons From the Madison Experience by David C. Couper, Chief of Police, City of Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
I can think of a lot of new features or products that I'd like to have, but I don't want to skew the opinions. This thread is completely open-ended: I'm looking for any feature or product that a regular user might want.
I have suggested all of these for years and I still want them:
1) Let me chose the type of files searched (exclude pdfs, word, power point..). Then if I can't find what I want I can expand to include them. At the very least give me some way of making the type much more visible (I realize it is there now but I often click before my mind notices...).
2) Let me remove web sites from my default searches. I would imagine this could even be used to help Google's normal search results by getting a sense of sites huge numbers of people "block" The same spam sites show up for searches and I would rather block them if Google can't figure out how to do so.
3) Let me create site search lists, where I create lists of sties I want searched - then I can target my searches how I want. Actually now that rollyo does this I don't care that much but since they use Yahoo to do so, I would figure maybe Google will finally make this available. It would be nice if you suggested sites others with similar site lists included.
1) It would be cool if I could rate sites and that was factored into my returned results. This could obviously use the Google toolbar for user input pretty effectively, I imagine. A simple 1-5 or 1-10 scale. It would probably be a good idea to let users have some simple way of say having all their bookmarked files automatically give the web site the highest rating so they don't have to manually enter every one. Then they could edit the results. Same with the search lists in item 3 above. It should also be setup so I can accept other users settings. So if I trust John Battelle or Sean Stickle I can have their ratings (obviously only for ratings people make "public") reflected in my results. That would involve complications when one person I chose to include says a site is a 1 and another says a site is a 5 but I figure Google is very capable of figuring out a good way to make that work.
2) I don't have too much trouble with this on Google search results now (but Google News does), let me block non-available content (behind paid or unpaid walls) in the default search (then let me "whitelist" certain sites so they show up - for sites I either just want to see anyway of sites I have registered for...).
I still think Google is excellent but honestly the value of Google's results compared to Yahoo and MSN is much less than it was 2 years ago, in my opinion as a search engine user. To me the others are closing the gap with Google and Google needs to make some improvements more than ever before (assuming Google wants to stay ahead of the others which I think is a fair assumption). It isn't a feature but improving the results is also important - too many spam sites are returned now.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award 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.
Request a 2006 Deming Nomination Packet (mailed in April 2006)
The Graduate School, USDA names the Naval Surface Warfare Center the winner of the W. Edwards Deming Award for 2005.
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
2005 Deming Prize Awardees
2004 Deming Prize Awardees
How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business, W. Edwards Deming Institute, I will be co-presenting this seminar - John Hunter.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Me on the top of the Bear's Hump trail in the park, Waterton, Canada. A great, very steep trail.
Iceberg lake in Many Glaciers area of Glacier National Park, Montana. I started with a hike to Iceberg lake in the morning. Then drove up to the Canadian portion of the park.
And snapped this photo of a rainbow just before eating a great diner at the Prince of Wales Lodge.
More Glacier National Park photos from June 2005. During June I hiked at various parks in the Pacific Northwest, see pictures from: Mount Saint Helens, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park.