Challenges With Data 1

Challenges With Data
A recent article in Harvard Business Review calls to attention some of the challenges inherent in analyzing Human Resources data.  The writer, Peter Cappelli, points out that analysis of HR data is hampered by a variety of factors including legal issues encountered when crossing international borders, lack of abundant data, and a sense that not ...

A Case In Multiple Data Representations (or: How to Beat a Dead Horse)

A Case In Multiple Data Representations (or: How to Beat a Dead Horse)
The primary purpose of using data in decision-making is to ensure that the best outcome (driven by data, without interference from personal bias) is achieved.  However, this is a very utilitarian perspective that doesn’t take into account the human factors involved in process change.  Because of these human factors (biases, fear of change, need to ...

Punching Data Analysis Right in the Face

Punching Data Analysis Right in the Face
I’m not always the smartest Continuous Improvement practitioner in the room (unless I’m all by myself…  at least until the cat walks by).  Sometimes I get to pretend I’m smart, and other times I’m smart enough to not even try. One person who I’ll never try to outsmart is Zach Weinersmith.  Zach is a fantastic ...

Who Is On Your Team? 2

Who Is On Your Team?
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe… As a project team leader, you already know the skills you want on your project team.  Sure, you want a process expert.  And “outside eyes” (someone who knows nothing about the process) is a great person to have as well.  You also want a representative from each major function involved in ...

Are You Leaner than a 3rd-Grader?

Are You Leaner than a 3rd-Grader?
Implementation of a new CPI initiative involves interrelated parts moving fluidly through (and beyond) the entire organization.  One method of implementation focuses on using an audit checklist to drive the desired results.  This is related to the concept of “beginning with the end in mind”, and can be an essential part of driving the right ...

Book Review: The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook

Book Review: The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook
Occasionally I run across a new resource that makes process improvement easy. I recently discovered a “new” (to me, anyway) book from 2002 (“The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook”, written by Pande, Neuman, and Cavanagh) that I want to share with you because it presents Six Sigma tools and methods in a refreshingly useful way. ...

Hearing Voice of the Customer at Alamo

Hearing Voice of the Customer at Alamo
My wife and I are on vacation and after a long flight from our home base of Reno to Richmond, Virginia, we wandered up to the rental car garage at the airport; we were tired and it showed.  We were warmly greeted by Tyisha, who was about to become our best friend and the expert ...

Accounting, O-rings, and the Dangers of Extrapolation

Accounting, O-rings, and the Dangers of Extrapolation
I’m currently “knees-deep” (“elbows-deep”?) in a Managerial Accounting course that is part of University of Nevada’s outstanding Executive MBA program, and my cohort is studying Cost Behavior.  Part of the discussion focuses on what is called “Relevant Range”, which is defined as “the range of activity over which we expect our assumptions about cost behavior ...

Sustainment Challenges in Continuous Process Improvement

Initiating a Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) program provides a great deal of excitement.  At the top level, there is anticipation of great benefits to come, either through cost savings or increases in efficiency.  In middle management, there is an exciting opportunity to use new tools to improve your processes.  For everyone else there is a ...