Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Most Popular Posts on the Curious Cat Management Comments Blog in 2016

The most popular posts on this blog:

Breakdown of popular posts by year: 2016 - 2, 2015 - 2, 2014 - 2, 2013 - 1, 2012 - 1, 2006 - 1, 2005 - 1.

I started this blog over 10 years ago. After I figured out that I thought blogging would work for me I created a self hosted blog (the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog) and moved the content to that blog. But I kept up the post here since web pages should live forever. For several years (about 2005 to 2011), I posted occasionally to this blog, sometimes the posts were comments made on other blogs.

In 2011 I started to use this blog a bit more consistently to collect the management and leadership related comments I made on other blogs here (when they seemed to say something useful or interesting that were worth posting on this blog - often things I wanted to be able to find later).

Related: Most Popular Posts on the Curious Cat Management Comments Blog (2015 edition) - Most Popular Posts on the Curious Cat Management Comments Blog (2014 edition)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Don't Claim Your Customer's Suffering from Your Management System Results are a "Learning Opportunity"

From, Microsoft finally admits that its malware-style Get Windows 10 upgrade campaign went too far":

It’s all well and good for a corporation to promise that its learning from mistakes, but it’s awful hard to believe such promises when the mistakes in question violate basic principles of software design and customer service

They are exactly right. This is one of the huge problems with the "learning from mistakes" excuse. Some mistakes are a sign of an extremely bad management system.

If you force the consequences of mistakes on your customers making up excuses about how this failure is a learning experience for you is only ok if you actually spell out how you are changing to assure you don't fail your customers due to this same management system failure again.

You need to design your systems to minimize consequences to customers when something goes wrong.

Acting as though a problem is due to some specific issue only with the exact circumstances that created the consequences is exactly the message you expect from businesses that have no respect for customers. It is exactly he cover your butt mentality of organizations you definitely do not want to be a customer of.

We need to stop accepting transparent excuses that indicate no acceptance of responsibility for mistreating customers. This wasn't a mistake about updating software. This was a mistake of a management system that allowed colossally customer hostile action to be taken and then continued and accepted meaningless excuses as if they were relevant. Microsoft manages to fail even the extremely low expectations we have for them over and over again.

I was foolish enough to continue to use Skype after Microsoft bought them. I added money to my account so that I would have access to Skype on my trip to China. 3 minutes into my first phone call they disconnected me. They then put up the most customer hostile form I have ever seen. I literally have over 30 questions that were required to be answered (things like what month and year did you sign up). I can't remember them all but at least 15 were insane to expect any customer to know. Needless to say they provided no way to contact them outside the ludicrous form. You can't have such repeated massive failures of basis common courtesy for decades without a horrible management system being in place.

It is so frustrating that such customer hostility is allowed to continue. Microsoft has a massive, decades long problem with treating customers horribly and making excuses for decades. This is just one more example of that pattern. Supposedly they are less horrible today than 20 years ago. Maybe that is true but they give me no reason to want to test out if that is true with their well publicized continuing of their customer hostile patterns.

Sure Apple's very poor software quality over the last 5+ years makes me frustrated with them. But Microsoft is much much worse so I have no desire to make from Macbook to any Microsoft software. Google has issues but if they would target users that don't have (or want to rely on) great internet connections to use their computer I would consider them. Ubuntu is the leading solution Apple has pushed me into strongly considering. The biggest issue I have not is the hardware for Ubuntu just isn't nearly as good as MacBooks. Granted the latest MacBook hardware choices Apple made are somewhat lame, but still it is much better hardware than others offer. Sadly it is stuck with their bad software and combine that with the sky high prices (the old MacBooks were expensive but well worth it) I just don't think I will buy another. While less than great I think one of the Dell laptops is in the lead for my next laptop.

You can't allow your business to treat customers horribly if you don't have a monopoly (or monopolistic position). Sadly for those stuck with Microsoft, they have close to that monopolistic position and rely on that. They have an extremely long way to go just to stop treating customers horribly. And treating an inexcusable failure as something they are learning from is yet another indication they are not learning at all.

Related: Practicing Mistake-Promoting Instead of Mistake-Proofing at Apple - Making Life Difficult for Customers - Incredibly Bad Customer Service from Discover Card

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Will the Government Adopt Better Management Methods This Time?

Reaction to, New Administration: Real Improvement This Time?

Sadly I don’t believe the odds of appreciable success are good. I think the odds are much lower than they were for previous attempts. I wrote about President Obama’s appointment of a Chief Performance Officer in 2009

it is dangerous if they believe their propaganda and don’t learn from all the previous essentially identical efforts: a claim of “first” is trying to convince people those past efforts do not exist. This self-delusional pattern is very common in the practice of management and a significant reason why the practice of management has not improved more rapidly over time. To achieve success you need to determine why the problem still exists and exploring the very similar past efforts is critical to such study.

in which I pointed out similar ideas as you state here about past efforts that amounted to very little.

I think there were some reasons to hope Gingrich might help apply some better management methods if he were in a position that gave him authority to do so in the 1990s, today I am very skeptical that he would help.

Related: Better Management in Government (2012) - Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site - Transformation and Redesign at the White House Communications Agency - Doing More with Less in the Public Sector (1986) - The Public Sector and Deming (2005)