The word team appears a lot in my writing and, I believe, with good reason. Most of us work in a team, whether or not that’s what it’s called – and that also applies in our non-work life, too. Charles Handy likens teams to tribes in some of his books, bringing together theories of teams and theories of culture. Continue reading
There’s a whole discipline here – what follows is merely a starting point to follow up. Actually, nothing here should be new to anyone who has studied management and, if it is new, and you do think of yourself as being in management, you probably need to start studying. Continue reading
It’s generally agreed that there are seven basic tools needed to get started in SPC (Statistical Process Control). Some are so basic many people use them without realising they’re getting into statistics (and their link to what we think of as statistics often seems quite tenuous)…
Anyone familiar with computer spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) will be familiar with cell formatting and the different data types (numbers, text, currency, etc.) and a competent computer programmer will be all too aware of the need for consistent data types within variables. With statistical analysis, it’s important to recognise whether numeric data is parametric or non-parametric; I find it useful to also classify non-numeric data into two types – poetry and prose. For brevity:
Numeric:parametric – real values such as length or weight. These can be analysed with the more well-known statistical techniques (mean, standard deviation, Student-t, etc).
Numeric:non-parametric – symbolic values such as first, second, etc., shoe size, preference 1 to 5. Using the more common techniques will give meaningless results; there is a separate suite for these (chi-square, Mann-Whitney U-test, etc).
Non-numeric:poetry – facts that have a clear structure such as the sequence of events in a process. Process maps, flowcharts and tables are often an aid to better understanding.
Non-numeric:prose – facts that have no readily discernible structure, perhaps ad hoc comments in a survey. The lack of structure makes it almost impossible to develop specific analytical techniques for these and, often, it’s necessary to take a step back and hope for inspiration. Sometimes, a pattern and relationships will emerge if they are translated or transposed into another form (or type).
These latter (non-numeric) types are not necessarily fixed but recognising the distinction can help when trying to make sense of them.
I’ve previously written about KPIs and making sure they relate to what is meaningful and are not just set because they’re expected – do that and they can have the opposite effect to what is needed.
The various schemes can only provide a structure – they won’t actually solve any problems (other than the all too common one of not having any structure to the process)! Continue reading
This is closely allied to what I’ve previously written about in presenting some of the key ideas of Deming, Juran, Crosby, et. al. under “Improvement” in that it addresses ways to make changes, and especially Juran with his six-step Breakthrough. However, solving problems is such an important topic that I want to spend a little more time on it. Continue reading