ISO 9000 Projects – not just paperwork!

Recent events have made some organisations consider ISO9000 again as a badge to reassure their customers that they have a consistent way of doing business. It is more than a simple visit from an auditor but needs a commitment from everyone in the organisation to work in a consistent way. Read more of this post

Complete Understanding of a Business

The best business modelling considers the business from different aspects:
1. business processes (the inputs, and steps that produce the outputs)
2. decision points and associated business rules
3. measures (KPI and operational) and controls for the processes
4. data definitions, status and life cycles

and for a human driven business:
5. roles, responsibilities, and levels of authority 

It is very rare I see these in one place and without all 5 parts, there is an incomplete understanding of the way the business works.

Without that complete understanding it is difficult to assess if an upgraded system solution will give real benefits or simply give a need for different work rounds.

Speed of Change in Business Systems

Business systems are the systems that help an organisation run: software like ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) to do the accounting and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to support contact with customer.  Like every other technology, they change surprisingly quickly. Most suppliers of these systems launch major updates every 9 to 18 months. Read more of this post

What is Lean?

Lean is an approach to business operations that was first developed in manufacturing and formalised in the Toyota Production System.  At its core is the question, “how to do this with the least overall waste?”  That means viewing the operation holistically and dividing work up to be the most efficient way of using time, money, effort and resources to achieve the overall results. Read more of this post

Blueprint for Success

A team at Warwick Business School has surveyed 500 above average trading performance businesses employing between 20 and 250 staff.

These business had these approaches in common:

  1. Striving for growth – seeking to increase sales
  2. Managing flexibly
  3. People planning – skill needs and focus on staff development
  4. Marketing – reach new customers with broadcast
  5. Research and development – technology, new ways of doing business
  6. Process changes – reducing costs, improving service quality

How does this apply to programme management, change management or project management?   We can use these to consider things we might need to plan to under pin the success of our projects. Read more of this post

7 Tips for Implementing CMMI

CMMI (Capability Maturity Model)  is used in a number of businesses to help improve how they work.  It was started in the technology industries and with big organisations but you could apply parts of it to your organisation. The point is to get your organisation to do things in a predictable way (giving benefits in being able to estimate what new work will cost) that is measured so you can make business decisions based on real information not guess-work.  There is another blog that talks about the structure of CMMI. Oh yes, the model is free to use but if you want a badge for your business, you’ll have to pay a qualified assessor. Read more of this post

What is IDEF0?

I’ve refered to IDEF0 in a number of posts.  Its time to explain what I mean.

IDEF stands for Integrated  DEFinition and the zero is there to distinguish this functional process modelling from the other tools in that tool kit.  It was originally intended to define manufacturing processes but it works for human work too. Read more of this post

people don’t follow the process …

… so make the process the people’s responsibility.

That might be provocative for managers who believe it is their job to define the process. Let’s look at realities. Read more of this post

Checklist Quality is Bad Value

Kaoru Ishikawa lead the thought that said everyone was responsible for quality.  Ray Kroc founded McDonalds success on a work system of very tightly defined tasks performed by people who needed minimal training to do that job as well as their company’s expert.  Richard M Hodgetts defined check sheets (checklists) as a way to “record data on a form that readily allows interpretation of results from the form itself”.

These developments are helpful to quality: make everyone care about quality, define the job and train people, give them tools to monitor and interpret progress made on their work.  That way is the road to great management and excellent performance.

So why does it go bad?  Read more of this post