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February 09, 2009
Again, quoting Deming, Life is Variation.
But if life is a set of processes (or perhaps one big process....) what if someone decided to use six sigma tools to improve that process? Of coursethe challenges would be enormous. First, defining what is improvement, what should be improved? Is it getting a better salary? Having a longer/healthier life? Having the biggest amount of time for fun? But let`s supose you createa kind of balanced scorecard (Hoshin Kanri would apply here by using the catch ball process with family or friends or you are the only stakeholder?) based on a personal mission and vision definitions (like the ones I created some posts ago) that would attribute points to several aspects of the life. The process improvement could be directed to improved that dimensions. Would that work?
We already do it on an unconscious way. Every decision we make is towards improving some dimension of our life (oh..I`m to lazy today, need to improve my comfort , forget about PMA`s, I`ll take a nap!).So we are always trying to improve that process. But if we did that on a conscious and structured way, would it work? I think so, because several of the things we do are actually structured ways to do what we could have done by ourselves. For example taking a masters to learn something (not talking about the diploma or the status, just the learning experience). If we read enough books, reflected, discussed with a few people we could learn the same or even more. But having a structured place with people that have studied for many years, are able to recommend the best paths, can promote discussions, etc etc makes things much easier and fast. The same with the gym. You could buy a good book, do some studying, find out the best exercises go outside and do it! But the gym has a method, some machines that makes things easier, some guy giving you tips, etc etc.
So yes, a rational approach to life`s processes could improve it. Even though if you take it too seriously you might became the most boring person in the world!
Ps. I just remembered that there is a game I never actually played but my brother liked for a while, you probably know called "the Sim`s" and it is a life simulator (???!!!?!?!?!?). They do give dimensions that you must attend in order to your little avatar to have a happy healthy life. Is a bit like the scorecard idea I gave before...
February 04, 2009
Life is Variation, would say Deming.
Since I started working with processes in a more structured (even though quite ignorant and naive way) I always tended to think about everything in a processual way. Everything was a process that could be improved. Having a shower, going to work, the service on a restaurant etc (actually that is something that could be surprinsigly improved in many places I go in here).
But now I`m going a bit deeper, I think about variation. I think how I would measure, how to improve, what possible special and common causes I could find, etc etc. A FANTASTIC way to do it is playing tennis. after many years I`m playing tennis again. And tennis is pretty much about consistency. Is about keeping the ball within limits and trying to make the process harder for your adversary so that you introduce a greater variation in his process. Conceptually speaking , hitting in a way that makes things difficult for the adversary so that he gets it wrong is introducing a special or common cause variation into his system?
January 28, 2009
PIUSS module is an interesting one. I still miss more specific discussions but it is obviously impossible to do it with 24 people around.
I liked the guest speaker but I have got to make a comment about the first one. He is the owner of a consultancy that helps in the implementation of process improvement solutions. His material is very good (and I`ve see material from other places, but I think his material is better). But he has he same problem most consultants have. Even though he consciously and rationally would not say that his solution is not complete, not perfect and is not able to solve everything (because it is OBVIOUS that there is no complete solution in the world) he still, quite often, criticises other approaches in a way that seems to insinuate his is the complete, the vest one. It is logical that he likes and thinks his approach is the best, but just as any other serious and structured approach it has gaps and flaws. I`ve seen quite a few presentations from consultants. I`ve worked enough time to know how they talk, what is the speech. And there is always this kind of "My solution is the best, and the others are incomplete because they don`t consider that and don`t think about that other thing." His competitor would say the same about his...
I think six sigma, specially with that Deming approach that actually puts more attention on the system of profound knowledge then in the statistics or DMAIC, DFSS, is a very interesting and clever approach. It is capable of great things (with all the needed support in place) however just like any other method it has its flaws. Them it comes a big question. Is Deming complete? I really don`t think i know enough to answer that question but I will use one of Deming`s principles, the theory of knowledge, to give an idea based on my theoretical thinking. Based on that the answer would be NO, Deming is not complete because nothing is complete, the world changes ideas and science evolve. But from my EXTREMELLY small knowledge I must admit that as time passes I agree more and more with him. Some of the things I did not connect first are making more sense now. But I`m not sure if Deming had this consultant posture they all have and our friend on Monday also had.
Now, just to be and add a bit controversy. This whole idea of "my-model-is-amazing-and-complete-and-much-better-and-wiser-them-the-other-models-and-consultants-around" reminds me a bit of religion. Don`t they all work a bit like that?
January 20, 2009
Working on the PIUSS project we decided to divide the questions among us. It is not the best way learning-wise however is the quickest way and for us now, the quicker the better.
Anyway, did a lot of reading on variation and it`s very easy to relate Deming`s understanding of variation with 6 Sigma. However is not so easy to relate it on an isolated way to Psychology. That is funny since Psy is related to pretty much everything.
So I had a long discussion about it with Cristal and Gilbert on the computer lab. We reached two conclusions, first (and obvious) is that a holistic vision is always needed (and actually Deming says that himself, all parts must be applied together). Psychology must be understood alongside variation, theory of knowledge and appreciation of a system. Secondly is that exactly for being part of all psychology can be related to everything, after all organisations are made of people....But I`d think the best connection between psychology on the SoPK and 6 sigma would be the need of conduct change in which psychology can help but 6 Sigma can also help since it is a structured and tested way. Even the fact that the name "six sigma"is famous can be o f great help to conduct change.