All entries for November 2009

November 20, 2009

PMI online learning Part 3

The PIUSS module ended today.  We learnt a lot this week but I would like to write about my final thoughts about the PMI online learning first.  This is because actually I have finished the learning on Sunday but I did not have time to write down my thinking during this busy week.  So, I must first do so or I am afraid that I'll miss some points.

During the business improvement project, we have to find out the root cause of the problem.  It requires the project team to have detailed understanding in the issue and the problem is acutally divided into very small parts.  In the example given, the late delivery problem can be improved by changing the kind of pens used to write the orders.  This is really amazing!  I didn't think of this little issue can actually affect that much.  This tells me the importance to understand our process before changing anything.  It is crucial to be clear in each step and we have to divide our problem into parts and go deep into each component.

Another important issue is the socio-emotional issue.  It is important that when we brainstorm our ideas in a group, we do not comment on others' opinion.  We should pay attention to people's feelings and encourage ideas from different point of views.  Sometimes, crazy ideas help to arouse useful solutions.

In addition, during the improvement project, the team should keep reviewing the process so that they know where they are and see if any changes they have implemented lead to improvements.

One final point is that we should learn from the business improvement process.  The skills learnt in the process help in other improvement project in the future.

To conclude, I find the business improvement process is interesting and also useful to the company.  As long as we stay on track and have a clear goal, it's not difficult to have improvement.


November 14, 2009

PMI online learning Part 2

After completing part 2 of the PMI cycle, which is learning about process, I've learnt several methods or charts that is useful in the improvement process.  As it starts to have more new information and I am getting a bit disorder, I reviewed the chapters again and it's good that it didn't take long.

Studying about the process is not only to learn what is the flow of the process.  We have to link it to the customer requirements and make it useful by defining data for measurements.  After collecting the data, we should have the control chart which helps us to find out the process capability and gives us the knowledge about how the process meet the customer needs.  This is vital to help in prioritizing improvement efforts.  When we have the data in hand.  It's easy to jump to a solution.  But we must remember that this is only the learning process and shouldn't do that.

This part of the cycle helps us to have a clear guidelines on the learning process.  Whenever we face a problem, we should understand it before solving it.

November 12, 2009

personal tutor meeting

Nice chat with my personal tutor, Jane, just now.  This is my first time to meet her individually to have a casual talk.  I really love the idea to have a personal tutor in Warwick.  I think last time I really chatted with my teacher was in my secondary school, like 4 years ago.  In my university, everytime I met the lecturer, it's about academic issues.  So, I am so pleased to have a personal tutor here and we can chat about all kind of stuffs.

I expressed my worries concerning my study here.  I used to learn about more tangible knowledge that I usually have an answer to the questions.  I used to numbers or programmes or so.  But now, what I am learning is much more intangible.  There are no right or wrong answers and it's difficult to tell what actually I have learnt because they are concepts or approaches.  Jane told me that it takes time to adapt it.  What I need to do is to read more.  And when I am reading, I should ask myself more questions.

Usually, I absorb what I have learnt and I can't really express them in words.  Now, I decide to change my style of writing blogs a little bit.  I hope I can develop my thinking through writing here.  I think I need to force myself to actually write down these intangible thinking because this would be more effective when I need to put them in practices.  So, see if this helps~



Wow~ I love drawing graphs! It's more solid and tangible comparing to all those business theories and concepts, which I am not quite used to.  But of course, it's challenging to learn something new and so far I enjoy it.

We learned about variation yesterday.  The most interesting part is using the daily example, which is driving back to the campus from home, to talk about common causes and special causes.  The common cause variation is inherent in the process and has only small impact. Whilst the special cause variation has big impact but it is temporary and often avoidable.

I also learned about predictablility.  Things outside the natural limit is not predictable and the most important is we cannot know how worse can things go.  Thus, we have to improve the process so as to minimize the chance for unpredictable things happen.

How to deal with special cause variation? For example, if things become better than expected, it is good only when you know the reason why they happen and keep it and learn from it.  If something go worse than we expect, find out the reason and fix it.

So, the above knowledge is easier when we are dealing with data because we can plot graphs as the first step to learn about the issue.  I am just thinking about some daily example on how can I realize the special cause in the my life and make good use of what I've learnt to minimize variation so as to reduce risks.


PIUSS starts

In the past two weeks, I worked on my project proposal and the study skills assignment.  I had little time to do my PMA though I have started to read some materials.  But I think I needa work much harder so that I won't get all the stuff pile up.

The second module, PIUSS, started yesterday!  It started with the lecture given by Mr. Jan Gillett from PMI.  We learned the basic concept about business improvement and 6 sigma.  We also put pretty much time on the PDSA cycle.

When I first heard about the PDSA cycle in CBE module, I thought it's just a simple knowledge that everyone knows.  We don't even talk about this because we expect everyone understand this good practice.  However, this cycle is important in business improvement and also personal development.

Since this is a cycle, where should we start?  Jan gave us the answer which is to study.  We should understand the issue before we can decide on our plans and take actions.  I like the use of the word "study" here.  Because what is meant is not simply know about the issue, we have to go deeper and understand it.  This makes this simple knowledge much more complicated but this is crucial.

I think this cycle is useful and we can actually put it into practice.  But the first thing is I shouldn't expect this is ordinary and forget it in my daily life.  I am glad that I am reminded by my lessons and I hope I could make it become my habit in handling daily issues.

November 10, 2009

PMI online learning Part 1

I finished the PMI online learning Part 1 about the selecting priorities last night.  I think this is an easy, convenient learning method.  I can control my time.  And the pace is good and it is very clear with the example for us to follow.  I like using this.

Alright, I am going to talk about what I have learnt in the first part of the online learning.

The PMI Improvement cycle helps improving business process.  The first stage is selecting priorities and the very fisrt step is to select a strategic issue to address.  Sometimes, when we realize there are some problems in the business process, we deal with them all together.  But it doesn't work because you aim at solving the problem without understanding.  Thus, we need to focus on one particular issue at a time to study and find out the solution through understanding.  This makes me think of the mini-projects for CBE.  When I first got the 6 mini-projects questions, I just wanted to learn all the module materials online so that I might be able to answer the question.  My problem was I did not focus on particular topic or model to learn and it's not effective as I didn't have a learning direction.  After the first meeting with my teammates, I learnt that we could deal with the questions one by one and that made things easier for me.  I think it is, in fact, a simple theory.  But human tends to forget the most fundamental knowledge.  I keep in mind this experience and I think this helps me in dealing with multiple tasks.  In last two weeks, I was busy with the project proposal, study skills assignment and PMA.  I priortize these things and so far I feel quite good to handle these one by one.  Of course, sometimes when I got bored in writing the study skills assignment, I read materials for the project.  But I think I was more focus at a time when I am doing a particular thing.  So, that's good, right?!:-)

Then, I have also learnt the project charter, SIPOC, project contract and so.

Another thing that I found interesting about is the people involved in the improvement process.  This is important to include different levels from the company.  Communication is essential.  I think this is easy for a small company like in the example.  I just doubt about how possible can we do it in a big company?  I remember what I learnt about the learning organization. Paul told us to change the company culture within our own department first and then to influence the whole company.  This is very ideal and I think it needs strong belief in this philosophy and has to insist on it.  This is challenging.

Just a quick thoughts about business process improvement.  I used to think that after realizing the problem, what next should be finding a solution.  I don't know the improvement actually takes a period of time and that can be several months.  That's interesting.  Though it's much more complex than what I thought, I think what I learnt so far do helps a lot and are very useful.^^

Actually, I am not sure how to write the reference for the PMI online learning.  Could anyone help me?
Sorry for missing the reference at this moment.

November 06, 2009

Study skills assignment

I met my personal tutor, Jane, just now.  This is my first time to see her.  She is really nice and I will definitely be happy to meet her again.=)

I've done my study skills assignment! I spent 2 days to look for useful materials and learn about referencing. Then, it took me 2 days to write it and I think the time spent is ok as this is the first time to write a 'formal' paper.  I found it's quite useful for me as a practice for my PMAs.  I've read some books about online research and I've learn some skills which helps to do our research using the online materials.  I am sure this will help with my  project proposal and CBE PMA.

And I went to a library resources tutorial for WMG students yesterday.  I found that there is a huge source of academic materials available for us.  That's really too much and it is difficult to get start.  But this tutorial is quite useful and there are some recommandations for the databases to choose and I will definitely benefit from this.  I wish I could have two to three more years staying in Warwick and make good use of these valuable resources, not just for academic purpose but also for my own interests>0<

It's week 5 already.  So far, I really enjoy my academic life here.  In the past two weeks, I don't have classes but I read a lot about my module, the project topic that interest me and the study skills thing.  I didn't read that much in my previous university life.  At that time, I hate reading academic materials.  But now, I just find that I really enjoy learning, reading and staying in the library.  I think the reason must be I can concentrate a lot more in Warwick as I come alone.  There are not many things that burden me here after I have settled down.  I feel really good to concentrate on my work.  I believe I should learn a lot from this experience and keep this working style throughout my life.  Of course, I don't mean to work overseas, away from my home town.  I am sure I will go back to Hong Kong after a year.  What I meant is the way I focus on my work.  I've only realized that I did not work like this before.  What a surprise for me!  Anyway~ keep this up!!CHEERS^^

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