Fri, 01/06/2017 - 11:22

How things are done, processes, the building blocks of business are changing.  You build successful organizations by building processes(sets of activities and decisions to achieve specific goals)  but now it's even more important that you optimize the people, technology and analytics in these processes if you want a successful result (and more literally, if you want to survive).  This is increasingly complicated by the fact that many processes, especially those involving the product or service delivery cycle, involve and flow through multiple organizations. The technology enables it and makes it far easier than ever but  the people issues and choices are more crucial and complex than ever before.     Although some industries have barely been touched as the impact is uneven across industries, it is spreading rapidly and the need to effectively manage these processes across organizations will soon be pervasive.


Many of the causes are self-evident and include the following:

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 09:33

Previously, I discussed a focus on processes, on the how.   I'm going to next address some of the basics that still apply to today's environment and I believe always will. It is hoped that before you dive into any process, quality and/or quality improvement effort, that you'll consider these ideas if you haven't already.


Sun, 12/13/2015 - 09:26

Every organization is comprised of a set of processes - increasingly these processes span organizational boundaries and increasingly they have components (apps, programs…) that pull data from many sources and adaptively "learn".  Processes have become more and more complex to set up but due to technology, often deceptively simple in operation which can hide problems. 


In any case, if any process is not designed and improved on a periodic basis, there is always significant  opportunity for significant improvement.  Improvements come from better taking into consideration internal and external changes and from applying technology.


Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:04

Improving how you do things is a necessary focus of any organization.  When you look at improving your processes you are looking primarily at HOW you do things.  This also forces you to consider WHAT you are trying to accomplish (hopefully first) and then, of course, WHO will accomplish it.   The catalyst however, is ideally HOW you achieve the WHAT.  Let's consider some of the reasons you should have a set of formal processes and milestones to assure this is happening effectively...

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 09:53

Over the last 30 years, there have been a series of buzzword programs in the quality and productivity improvement area in organizations.   These include such alphabetic combinations as  TQM, BPR, Lean, AGILE, LSX, Six Sigma, ERP, MRPII,  TOC, WCM, Kaizen, CIT, CAPM and quite a number of others.    All of them have been attributed to successful business results and a few to many.   On the other hand, when you look at the majority of efforts in almost every case, they have either been minimal or counterproductive.  Why?

Unfortunately, if you implement a buzzword program, like  you would follow a recipe for an entrée, more often than not , the results are poor.  There is no substitute for thinking, for basic problem solving and for achieving a state of actionable understanding so that you can make effective day to day decisions. 

Why have many if not most, failed?

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 12:13

There is a key concept in business and life that can have a powerful impact on your ability to  identify problems and address them effectively.   The concept is variation.   Variation is the difference between what you expect to see and what you actually observe (expected vs. observed).   W. Edwards Deming, who had a profound impact on business practices globally beginning in the 1950s and lasting until today,  had a primary focus on variation.  The key for solving difficult problems and improving processes,  he and others taught is understanding variation and eliminating the portions of which you can control  early in the improvement or problem-solving process.  These concepts are foundational for productivity and quality improvement programs that emanate from Six Sigma, Lean and even Agile 

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 08:40

By Stephanie Garcia



At the beginning of each year, you hear a lot more chatter about getting "organized", getting more done, working smarter, improving personal productivity…. No matter how you express it, the problem typically identified is not getting enough of your work done and in some cases, overcoming burn-out.


In 2015, there are dozens of apps that can form the basis for a system (some are better described as the basis for confusion or activity over accomplishment)  and all kind of techniques.   But tools and techniques alone typically cause confusion and disconnects.  An overall approach is needed for success in the area.    What are the approaches?    Overall, we believe there are  two basic paradoxical approaches.


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:21

Statistical thinking is the ability to understand a situation by accurately assessing probabilities, understanding variation and dealing effectively with uncertainty. 

I just finished teaching a graduate-level statistics class where the textbook material was the conventional hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and n/z/t/f/chi2 distributions... This is all valuable stuff in assessing samples and providing proof of the validity of your data.  Far more valuable, I believe, is the ability to actually think statistically, which actually has very little to do with this. 

A true life skill is the ability to use metrics available including the power of observation to minimize bias, overcome the destructive power of assumptions and bias and draw conclusions grounded in reality with an accurate "forecast" of what is coming. This partly a cognitive skill  and partly based on behavioral traits such as being systematic, having strategic acumen etc..  

This is the life skill of statistical thinking. 

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 06:25

Does HOW you do things matter? Think of anything significant you do- think of HOW it can best be done. Now, consider HOW you do it currently. This is a great line of thought for business leaders to instill in their managers but before you go down that road, you need to ensure they are focused on the right processes.
Not all processes are important but the ones that have the following characteristics are: