All entries for December 2009

December 08, 2009

Stage:20 => Standardise & Review…

Hey all;

The last stages are today's topic. PMI improvement cycle will be ready for 2nd round after completing "Standardise & Review". Be careful; this is the last stage but there is no stop for this cycle. This is a ring thats turning continuously.

We have to standardise our improvement in the process and then prepare a Standardisation Document to handover the project to process management team. They will be responsible for anything else from then on. A standardisation document should include;

  • Process flowcharts,
  • Details of people involved in the process, responsibility and authority,
  • Data collection points,
  • Guidelines (Special causes or changes),
  • Training requirements,
  • And a clear explanation of why the change is required and how to implement it effectively in operational environment.

In order to keep people who are responsible, in the newly standardised method; we can use some visual aids, process checks and new technologies to help them.

This document should be handed over to process management team with explaining them every inch of this document and its responses in practice.

The project team can review conclusion of last project and discuss what they have learned from this experience. They can define if there is any other improvement that can be made to that project or is it on target with minimum variation. If it is on target with minimum variation then it is time for them to think about future improvements and start the cycle again.

I thought about gaming industry which needs an improvement every second. For instance; massive multiplayer online gaming companies. They have to improve their games as well as their facilities to support customers as rapidly as possible. Because; their market is worldwide and they have thousands of players. Blizzard is not one of them. They have millions of players and they have the biggest piece of the cake I suppose. Do I think they will continue to be that popular? I can say that they will be. But; the reason will not be their improvements on games, the reason will be their partnership and resources management. They are improving customer services rather than the game itself. And I mean "World of Warcraft" by game here. It became an addiction for players rather than a game.

Blizzard Leaders; if you can hear me, please use this cycle to improve the game as well. Think about the players that are addicted and cant quit. They want some respect and understanding I suppose. They are also waiting for SCII and DiabloIII. Please be careful Diablo III has good competitors. Watch out for Ubisoft and Activision.


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December 07, 2009

Stage:19 => Implement…

I hope that you have started a very good week;

This stage has three steps which I will cover them all in one entry I suppose;

  1. Understand Implementation Environment.
  2. Develop and Communicate a Plan.
  3. Monitor and Review the Plan.

Lets say; after studying the results, we had decided to adopt this change because it is an improvement for us. We have to pilot this solution within operational environment before complete adoption across the whole organisation. To do that we need to understand our implementation environment. Then the project team have to plan how to integrate the solution into this operational environment. We must be careful about socio-emotional processes here as well as we did in the previous stages. It is important to remember that most of the failed projects were because of socio-emotional issues. Our internal and external stakeholders will be affected by this change. We have to define those affects in this stage.

Here; we need an imlementation plan which is including;

  • Basic actions to take; main changes in the process,
  • Responsibilities and Responsible people; people that changes include and kind of responsibilities they have,
  • Training required for those to be affected; both mental and physical training,
  • time to completion for each task; general timeline,
  • A risk assessment and Contingency plans to prevent or recover from foreseeable problems; a ready Plan B to prevent negative results,
  • Updated Business case information with a cost/benefit analyse; main information that we need to learn.

We should use skill matrix for training plan and we will also need a communication matrix to make it more clear for stakeholders. We have to monitor and review our plan regularly to make it continuous and it will also help us to have some idea about further changes.

In my opinion; this implementation stage is very important for us to see if our efforts are really making it better. But we have to think twice about our plan B. Because; it may not be as perfect as possible in real environment rather than test environment. Operational environment can be very difficult to implement changes. There are socio-emotional barriers we have to overcome as well as some other barriers. Preperation, communication and training comes into play here.

Have a great week.


December 04, 2009

Stage:18 => Study Results…

Good afternoon everyone;

We have to "Study Results" after doing tests. Nooooo... Not just after the tests finished. We also need to watch results if we can while tests are in progress.

We must study data during the tests. See if there are;

  • Assignable cause present,
  • That cause sustained throughout test,
  • Does it represent improvement!!!

During the test or as the outcome of our test if we can see these on our chart then we have to make a decision to go on with the test or not. We can choose to adopt the changes or adopt changes on our test or abondon it and start from the start with another solution. If test has an improvement on our process we should choose to go on and adopt it. If test has some improvement but not sufficient enough then we can decide to adopt some minor changes on our plan. As last choice if we have negative results or no change at all; we would choose to abondon this solution.

We should use PDSA cycle throughout to;

  • Identify and validate cause of variation.
  • Test solutions to reduce cause.

We have to use test results on charts to control our improvement. This will help us to make our decision to adapt,adopt or abondon. We must consider the new process capability from this charts as well. We can see if we are on target with minimum variation. We need to continue to use PDSA to keep learning on our tests and experience.



December 03, 2009

Stage:17 => Test Theories…

Hey All;

Its time for us to "Test Theories" that we are going to define after these stages we have been through. There are three stages here but I will talk about all in one entry.

First we have to define possible solutions using the diagrams we prepared. There are many ways to define solutions;

  1. Open idea generation; as we all can imagine everyone tell their opinions, solutions loudly and discuss.
  2. Silent idea generation; everyone in the team writes down solutions to a piece of paper then all papers should be pinned on a board for everyone to see.
  3. Structured idea generation; a more structered way to reach solutions than the first two idea generation technics by leadership of team leader.
  4. Reverse idea generation; basicly about finding the reverse idea of real root cause.
  5. Analogy idea generation; considering about a very similar situation in a different sector.

After defining solutions with those idea generation technics; we have to consider which solution is better for us to follow and test it properly. We need to test if its working or not before applying any changes. There three types of selecting the best choice;

  • Voting; everyone votes as you can imagine.
  • Ranking; very similar with voting with usage of ranking system.
  • Criteria Based; more spesific and scientific way to reach a solution. We can identify selection criteria and rank solutions using a matrix.

At the last stage; we have a solution that we should test. Its time to plan and carry out the tests. Our plan would be based on our aim with this solution and is it really going to be an improvement to our process. The test itself needs some attention of course. These attention should be on experimental design, approval and scheduling issues, budgeting and comminucation requirements.

I think we have to be aware of choosing the best method for our team and for our situation to decide possible solutions. Everyone should contribute to this as well as other stages because it is important to us to bear in mind that there is nothing called as "silly question" or "suggestion" will be more appropriate here I suppose. We should prefer criteria-based solution selection to be more accurate. Having said that; it depends on our situation and team members to choose others of course. We have to think about which is going to be more useful for us to reach our aim. We can carry on with tests after planning them very carefully.

It is not easy to use this for managerial position changes and how would that affect a team. Its also not easy to use it to see if a change for coach's position. But you can use these easily on which balls to use while training and which technics can be used to train players I suppose.



December 01, 2009

Stage:16 => Measurement Variation…

Hello everyone;

Third and the last stage of "Investigate sources of variation and waste" is "Measurement Variation".

We created lots of diagrams and charts using data that we have collected but are we really sure about our data show facts. We have to bear in mind that process of taking measurements can itself effect variation. Using different people, using different methods, using different materials under different conditions while measuring would cause variation because of measurement process.

Total variation is made up of measurement variation in addition to true process variation. Therefore we have to monitor and consider improving the measurement process itself continuously. If we observe high variability, we need to improve the measurement process first before studying the actual process.

In my opinion; the most important thing about process improvement is measurement process. Because; we have to investigate and observe facts to see if we could change the outcomes. If we cant measure the facts as they should be then how can we think about improving our process.

I think I may have an example to this. Is victory in games a measure for a sports club's success or not? They are just results so we shouldn't measure a club's success with places that they had in all leagues in all categories. There are many things which we would discuss and examine before going into a decision about their success. Overall perfermance is not enough for decision. It has a good percentage on decision making generally. However; I think it has NOT. The executive board has many different opinions when choosing a new manager for the club. And they generally fall into this mistake of measurement differences I suppose. Some believe victory is important and measure overall performance, some ( less than others ) believe success starts from hearts and measure love and belief for the club.

I hope I could be able to explain it as I really mean to.



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