March 21, 2014

Waveriders case

For the first question- whether or not the project should be continued we decided to use risk analysis to make decisions. Because it could help us have a comprehensive understanding about the macro environment that the business will operate in.

We develop the risk analysis following the standard steps. The first step is identifying organizational risk. The first risk identified is prototype failure. If the prototype failure happens it will delay the overall progress significantly, increase the cost and might even lead to the giving up of the program. The other risk is the uncertain market condition and it will directly affect the revenue.

At the next step, we identified the environmental threats following the tool PESTLE. ①The main political threat is the government procurement cutting in military sector. Since Sea Spray which target military customer stands for a significant part of the products sold in Waveriders, your company should considering the development in other market area. ②For the economic condition, the overall economic market is stagnant after the financial crisis and the market shows a risk of changes in the following years. Besides, since leisure industry is your main market, we investigated this area and found that the leisure sector is highly competitive in the UK and the two main competitors have already taken major market share. ③ As for the social aspects, the life-style change could lead to the threat of less spending on leisure. ④ Then, the main technological threat is from your competitors that they have develop more advanced technology. ⑤ There are also some general legal threats. There are restrictions on working hours, the health and safety law and also the employment regulations. Your company must following the instructions even if it could increase your cost. ⑥ Finally the environmental threat. Since Waverider is a manufacturing company, there are restrictions over pollution treatment and noise level that you should follow during the producing process.

The next step we estimate the risk and rank them. We summarize that the prototype failure is more serious than the uncertain market condition. To mange these risk, the technology development and regular marketing are required. Finally, these threats should be reviewed regularly to ensure those risks are effectively controlled.

Based on the analysis over external risk, we could conclude that, the external environment for the current business is not optimistic, a further development in new market area is necessary. Therefore, we suggest your company continue the Sea Catch program.

March 20, 2014

Decision making for Waveriders

The case study about the decision making for Waveriders has been carried about by our team through these days. Through this case study, we were required to utilize decision making tools to make decisions for Wveriders about three issues- whether to continue Sea Catch business, which location should choose and how to develop marketing for new products. Our team was quite organized we quickly met an agreement, that we develop this case study following the standard decision making process. This decision effectively improved the efficiency of our work since we got an explicit plan. Initially, we identified the problems and the decisions we should make. Then we select tools to solve each problem which is the main part of our case study. During these process, I have some new cognition about decision making.

Tools limitation

The decision making tools are not universally suitable for every problems. There are hundreds of decision making tools which all have their distinct advantages and shortcomings. Initially each of our team members chose two of the tools and ensuring each tool have two people to cover. The choices are based on the basic acknowledgement. For example, we think there should have both qualitative and quantitative measures, therefore, when we allocate we ensure both types were covered. However, through the process of using these tools, I found that every tool suits for a certain situation none of the tools can be utilized universally. For instance, quantitative decision making tool like decision tree is suitable for problems like which location is suitable for establishing factory since there are plenty of figures and different probability for different situations which ensure the decision could be measured in a quantitative way. However, decisions like whether we should continue the business or not does not have specific figures in this case and the situation is complex. Therefore, the suitable tool for this scenario is one could analysis for macro picture and describe the situation in a qualitative way. As a result we choose risk analysis for this question.


Through this case, we found we do not have sufficient information in the handout. For example, we decided using PESTLE to decide whether continue the Sea catch or not. PESTLE is a decision making tool for describing the macroenvironment. However, we had internal information about the product and the company, but we do not have any information about the external market and competitors. After consulting, we noticed that this case was based on the real UK marine industry, so all the market and other information are from the real world. Actually, this lead to a significant increase in the amount of work we need to do. I searched for the market information and found that it was so difficult to find these background information since it was hardly to find out a existing document talking about all useful information. This leads to the requirement of selecting useful information effectively. What I chose to do is from general to individual. For example, I read about the PESTLE analysis first and identify the general risk existing for the overall market and then identify some specific problems existing in areas related to Waveriders’s business. I think in the real scenario, when we make decisions, the market research and other information gathering is essential to the decision we could get.

March 12, 2014

Judgment heuristics

I had KDM lectures for two days and it contained plenty of contents that I need to review. The most impressive one to me is the judgment heuristics. It summarized four heuristics that are frequently happened in judgment and affect the decisions we would make. Judgment is the base and initial stage when we make decisions. Therefore, it is essential for my further decision making improvement and also because through the judgment quiz I found my personal shortage in judgment.

Actually I failed in most of the questions with only four of them are right. With since these four correct topics, I found that the way I treat representativeness is better than the other three. The representativeness shows the way a person make judgment based on the likeliness of a sample to occur in the population. I think the reason why I can overcome the representativeness shortages is because of the probability theory and mathematics that I have learnt. It helps me be objective rather than rely on the orderly outcomes.

The other three heuristics have significant negative influences on me. The most significant one for me is availability. It shows when I make judgments, I think of past experience or other examples existing in my memory. I think this is unintentional behaviour since the brain tries to simplify the task and choose the familiar and comfortable outcomes as the solution. For example the question about the English words start with “a” and have “a” as the third letter. When I saw the question, I immediately remember the word list that there is a quite long list of words start with “a” but I can not point out many words have “a” as the third letter. So without further consideration, I made a judgment on which contain more words. This could lead to significant shortages for my decision-making ability.

Anchoring is another heuristics which is similar to availability which is also usually based on the previous knowledge but not entirely the same thing. It suggested that when we make judgment, we might make an approximation in according to additional information received. This additional information could be past experience or other information provided by externals. This could be summarized as conjunction fallacy which indicated that when there are a number a component descriptors seems more convincible than a single one, even if this is not reasonable. This could lead me to weak predictions for future and have shortages in facing the unanticipated issues.

The last heuristic is affect. This indicate that when we make judgment, we could use emotional evaluation rather than making further reasoning estimation. This bias seems not that significant to me.

The above biases could lead me loose rationality when making judgment and have essential influence on final decision making. To overcome these biases, I think I should identify these bias first, keep them in mind and try to avoid them when I make judgment. Then in the decision making process, I should following the standard process and using appropriate tools to facilitate making decisions. With a more rational judgment and decision making ability, it could benefit me in the further work.

February 12, 2014

Definition of leadership

To define the leadership by ourselves, our team read the definitions given by 20 authors, judge their different emphasis and record them in the matrix. There are generally 8 different elements of definition. Each of our team members gave individual judgment the elements contained by each definition, then we conclude together. We considered the suggested time for team study is two hours, therefore when there are different opinions, we would stated individual opinions and reasons then voted for the decision. This method effectively improved the efficiency and welcomed by all members. After the discussion we summarized that there are three elements were accepted by most authors: art of process of influencing or mobilizing the activities or thoughts (15/20), relationship between leader and others, flowers or group (11/20), achievement of purpose or goals (10/20).

Personally, I think these three elements are necessary for the definition of the leadership. Besides, these three elements, some more contents I think should be included in the definition. I think different situations require different leaders. For example, in the emergency situation like the disaster in the lifeboat case, because of the time limitation, a leader who can work under pressure and react quickly with strong professional knowledge as back up can be more necessary than a leader who is good at communication and listening to others carefully. Therefore, we think a comprehensive definition of leadership should emphasis that the requirement for a good leadership can changes in according to the environment. As a consequence, I gave the definition to the leadership is: Leadership is the process of motivating and influencing the members in the team through communication to achieve a congruent goal which is suitable for particular situation and accepted by the overall group.

Besides the elements –‘ particular situation’, other group members emphasized other elements and gave their own definition to the leadership with complementary to the elements included in the matrix.The first element is inner of members: A good leader should value the team members and try to contract the inner of members to improve the ability by developing their potential power. The second element is adorable and ethical goals: When a team working together, they should have a final destination and this destination is accepted by all team members. The overall team is working to achieve these goals and the leader should act the role of directing the team to realise them. The third element is that right person for the right position: The leader definitely in charge of the management of the team, therefore, a good leader should have proper assessment of all employees and give them the most appropriate work. Only in this way, the efficiency of the team could be maximize.

Based on the discussion and summarizing the ideas from the whole group, we concluded a definition of leadership: Leadership is established on the ethical journey to meet the needs of organization/society by coaching and arranging members with a lean way based on leader inner expectations. This definition may not be a perfect one since I think when we learn and experience more, the definition will definitely be giving more elements.

Winning margin project

In accordance with the rules, we had a voluntary leader before the case start. Comparing with the lifeboat case, this time we had a leader, therefore the process was much better organized and controlled. Since their only one copy of material, our team leader read the question and explained the task to us clearly. He ensured all of our team members clearly understood questions. Also our team leader listened to all members’ opinions carefully and the discussion was in a delightful order, no one talks over others. However, I suggested that the leader should control of the discussion processes better that shorten the time and increase the efficiency.

This time we also separated the work, each one read one or two pages about the performance of the company. When choosing which aspects of the performance of the company to read, the skills are assessed. One of our team members was good at accounting things so he read the financial statements and evaluated their financial performance.

This time, we also had a voluntary time-manager emerge through the discussion. The time manager played an important role in the team. He controlled the time, reminded the team members and accelerated the discussion process. Especially, when the discussion expanded, members tried to convince each other and could not reach an agreement, the remanding from time manager can effective promote the agreement.

February 11, 2014

Lifeboat leader – group self–assessment

Follow-up to Lifeboat leader– Potential issues 2 from Xiaomeng's blog

Did you work as a team?

We did work as a team. We separate the card and each of us read one character then made personal comments and introduce the character to others in order. Then we discussed which one is suitable for being a leader.

Was there an assessment of skills within the group? If so, how did you use the skills?

In this case, we did not have an assessment of skills since the task do not require particular skills. Therefore, all divisions of work are by self-conscious.

Did you elect a leader?

We did not pick up a leader by purpose and this did cause significant problems to the team. After the introducing of each character, the discussion about who is suitable for being the leader appeared rather disordered. People talked over others and the discussion seems endless and not effective. The overall process were not well planed and controlled, as a consequence, the team members argues with each other without effective outcomes. Although during the process, sometime, some members noticed it would not work if we continue arguing with each other, and try to control the process but with no consistence of the role.

How did your group manage the time and your communications?

We did not have a time manager and this directly lead our team have not finished the work in the limit time. Especially, with time manager and team leader, the discussion of our team became expanded and exceeded the limitation. During the case one of our team member notice the time should be controlled but we already forgot to manage the time at the beginning, so we did not know how time we had already spent. This problem actually happens many time to me during all last three modules, it happens again to me. I really should learned a lesson from this.

Lifeboat leader– Potential issues 2

Follow-up to Lifeboat leader– Potential issues from Xiaomeng's blog

Are various qualities transferable to different situations?

Generally speaking the reason why I chose Brett to be the leader is based on this particular situation that the team is facing the disaster, hence this leader will lead the team to solve the emergency. Under other situation, especially when the crisis is lifted, I do not think Brett is still a good choice. Because, in general situation, a team leader should have excellent ability in communicating with all team members, listening to their needs and comfort their feelings.

What is the likely reaction of the followers?

Under the crisis, I think the team members will follow the person who has the skill to solve problems, therefore I think they will support the leader. However, since Brett is dogmatic and unsympathetic I doubt the unity of this team, therefore, to make the balance, Roger will play the act in complementary to Brett.

Does a leader need to have particular skills or just be good at managing others?

Basically, the leader should have some general knowledge about the related area since they play the act making decisions and they should have their own judgment. However, I do not think they need highly professional knowledge and skills since their main job is lead and manage the team. Comparing having the skills, its more important for them to utilize others skills properly to maximize the power of the team. Nevertheless, in some particular situation, like the disaster in the project, there are some special requirements for leaders as sated before.

What is the leader’s ability to get on with people, organize and motivate others and to communicate as well as the ability to lead and make decisions?

To motivate the team members, this leader initially should be a dynamic and assertive person. At the same time, he should also have the ability to work under pressure and stay clam when others appears panic.

Patience to listening to others and try to maximize all team members’ requirements.

Also, the leader should not be dogmatic since no one could always be right.

When negative emotions appear, the leader should try to comfort their feelings.

When there are arguments on the decisions of an issue, the leader should have the ability to make his own judgment and his decision should be convincible. Therefore, it requires him have at least fundamental professional knowledge and skills.

Lifeboat leader– Potential issues

In this mini project, we chose Brett as the leader and Roger as the deputy leader.

What are the skills and qualities required of a leader in this situation?

Initially, this leader should have the ability to work under the pressure. Since his attitude can highly affect the team, he should keep calm to manage the situation and solve the emergency. As a trained airline pilot, Brett exactly has this characteristic.

Also the leader should have the ability to judge the situation and make right decision. Although some ones argued that the leader do not necessarily need the professional knowledge, I think under the current emergency situation, every minutes is valuable, if the team members argues different solutions, the team leader should have his only judgment and decision to solve the problem as soon as possible. Brett met these requirements.

On the contrary, Brett has obvious shortages over the patience and modest to listening to others. However, under the disaster, the team members could easily became panic, therefore, a role of hero will definitely comfort their emotion and his shortages will not be significant. Facing this particular situation, ability to communicate and listening to others may not take the priority. Another consideration was that Brett has such strong skills to solve the team in this disaster and he also strong confidence to be the leader. There is a possibility that if he is not the leader, he may not fully support and help others since he is dogmatic. Brett has another shortage that he is not unsympathetic to others’ needs on an emotional level. This could be a problem, but I was thinking that, under this disaster, what kind of leader I would like to have? A leader who give you an impression that the problem will be solved from his action or a leader who always tell you that we could overcome the disaster on the emotional level? I prefer the former one. But there do need someone to act the role to comfort people’s feeling and as a consequence, I chose Roger to be the deputy leader as supplement to Brett’s shortages.

How can we be sure the individuals have these skills and qualities?

The main judgment could be made from their experience. For example, Brett is an airline pilot and has been well trained. Therefore, it is convincible that he has the psychological enduring capacity to deal with the disaster and the knowledge to solve the emergency both in the air and sea.

Another core resource for the judgment on whether individuals have the skills is the comment from people who know them well. These comments are generally objective and include both positive and negative opinions. For example, both Brett and his relative said he is good at sailing and therefore, this proves that he is good at sailing.

Comparing to the comments from others, the statement from themselves are less convictive. For example, Brett evaluate himself as having ability to lead, navigate, delegate and comfort those in need however, from the comments from his relatives, he is unsympathetic.

January 24, 2014

Process FMECA – Making & Servicing a cup of tea

Our group chose to make Chinese Oolong tea. We started with define the process of making and servicing Oolong tea. We summarized seven stages: boil water, warm up tea set, add leaves, pour water in, pour out the first cup to tea, warm up tea set again, pour in water to make the second up of tea and finally taste the tea.

We found that sometimes different stages have similar function and operation, therefore, the failure modes are similar. For example, except the third step- adding leaves, all other steps including the participation of water, therefore, aspects related to water- cleanness, capacity and temperature were taken into concern. Due to this reason, the causes of failure also show patterns on the volume and temperature measures. This indicates that, even the process could be rather complicated, the failure and their reasons could have patterns which make the control process easier. As a consequence, we identified unified actions to recover the failure. On the one hand, using special equipment to measure the volume and temperature of leaves and water, like the thermometer and measuring glasses. On the other hand, some problems are caused by human error since people can be careless and not familiar with the process of producing and servicing. Therefore, we suggest to give training and practices to staff.

During this mini project, we experienced two difficulties. The first one is identifying the processes. The processes are complicated so we made some research. After the processes are explicit it was much easy for us to find out the failure and reasons. Another problem is about giving rate to Occur, Severity, and Detective. These rates are given completely by our own judgment. We had a lot of arguments surrounding the rates should give. Initially, I was little worried about whether these kinds of judgment make sense since it is quite subjective, but after calculating RPN I found at least it gives a general rank of these processes. The rank helps us to judge which issues was most urgent to be sold.

January 23, 2014

DFX– UA 232 cases

The main reasons causes the air crash of UA232 in 1989:

There were three engines one this plan and the one on the vertical tail was damaged due to the material defect which was the human factors and manufacturing problem. There were oxygen and nitrogen mixed in the material when producing. As a consequence, the blade fractured, then the high-speed shrapnel hit the turbine disk and blades, which leaded to all three hydraulic systems, lost control and especially the right wing lost functions. Under the condition of without rudder surface worked, the airplane was controlled by the only two engines and tried to make emergency landing at the Sioux City and failed. The plane was overturned when making the emergency landing and over 100 people were died.

To prevent this kind tragedy, from the DFX aspects there are few actions should take. The overall manufacturing is not reliable since the material had defects. Therefore, the organisaiton should pay attention to the design for reliability and manufacturing. At the same time, the poor material and weak engine system leaded to the concern over quality control and maintenance. Besides, the fragments which crushed the hydraulic systems also shows the manufacturing and assemble defects.

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