All entries for February 2008

February 05, 2008

a thought derived from model of deployment

I remember guest speaker Mr. Goodsell from PPE, matched CMMI to the process box of the EFQM model in his presentation. I didn't think about it too much at that time, as CMMI is process oriented. However, Mr. Higgis's model of deployment for six sigma gave me another thought on this.

In the model of deployment, he said six sigma only provides a measurement, and it is other success factors which provides the change. He mapped all these success factors as the enablers of excellence. It reminded of me something, CMMI perhaps is a bit more than a process. 8 out 22 CMMI process can be matched to policy and strategy, people, partnerships & resources. Perhaps this should not comes out as a surprise for me, since CMMI is intended to improve the capability of the organisation. Interesting to note, there are some studies on how to use CMMI as framework to improve capability and use six sigma (actually statistical analytic tools) to measure it. (many are software companies)

activity substituting for achievement

Follow-up to Mao Tse–tung from Luo's blog

A recent conversation with former colleagues made me realised why many improvement projects are destined to fail from day one.

It is said there are two ways of keeping yourself in the job as a manager.

  • consistently showing excellent performance
  • or constantly having troubles

First case, is easy to understand. Second case, the reason behind is that: so nobody wants anything to do with the mess, and in turn you keep yourself safe.

Another thought would be, the second case is perhaps more likely to keep yourself in the job  than the first one. It is much easier to keep yourself look busy for many good reasons. So in turn, we see many initiatives. For many, activity substituting for achievement becomes the key for survival.

Perhaps now I know why they say six sigma is a old wine with new bottle, simply because the demand by the management at large. They need something new, something fresh, which can solve all the problems they have. Sadly what they really don't want is having all of their problem solved (If we assume that there is a tool, technique or methodology which can solve all of our problems), because for some this is why they exist at the first place. And you can hardly blame them, can you? They are always seeking for improvement, ain't they? It is only bad luck that they did not succeed in any of them.

Many problems can trace their root back to the management, can't they? 

people vs. process

Dr. Deming once estimated  that about 94% troubles belong to the system which is management responsibility, and 6% troubles are special causes which can be attributed to people.

Interestingly, the guest speaker Mr. Williams said sometimes in certain industries when they are doing good, they think they are smarter than the others. I was not too sure he was trying to imply the aerospace industry or the financial industry.

However, one of my friend, she graduated from Warwick with top grades a few years back. Naturally, she joined one of the biggest investment bank which always ask the best people.  She was assigned to Asset Based Security, as they demanded the best out of the best. Just before the subprime mortgage are making a crack in the industry, she moved from the London office to Hong Kong, but a different bank. Friends asked why, she replied, limited opportunities in mature markets and too much pressure from the top. Recently, thru her blog I read, her boss told her the following "we demand more from you".

If I was told the same thing a few years ago, I would agree with her boss. However, now I take it from a different view. What her boss might not know is the level of significance of individual effort under the current circumstances. (Sure, she might be slacking a bit, which is unlikely based on what I knew her from the past.) You do not need to be an expert to realise the situation with the financial industry is rather caused by the system than any specific reason, do you? However, it seems people who have been there and had their own merit bet on the line, are often trying to think otherwise.

February 2008

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