Archives for May 2011

Constraints and Excuses

It is really easy to blame other people when you can’t do something, when constraints get in the way.  To rail against the inadequacies in life, to find somebody to blame. It makes us feel vindicated, it isn’t our fault,  and because it isn’t our fault we can’t be held accountable.  Poor performance becomes OK. […]

Fessing Up

The Americans have an unpleasant phrase: to “fess up”, or admit what the issue is and take responsibility for it.  It isn’t a nice thing to have to do. Running a long way isn’t nice either.  The first time you do it your heart pounds, you get hot and sweaty, your lungs feel like they […]

Error Proofing Suicide

Here is a process improvement idea; you should make it easy for people to get something right and difficult for them to get it wrong.   Classic examples include flat pack furniture that only fits together one way, or the fact that all around the world a red light means stop. The converse principle also exists, […]

Zombies and KPI’s

I subscribe to quite a few performance measurement emails, web sites and blogs.  I’ve noticed a worrying trend of sites offering “off the shelf” KPIs.  In fact you can now buy books packed with “ideal” KPIs for all sorts of businesses (oh, how the long winter nights must fly by). Are the measures in these […]

Arnie Says “Do It”

I don’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger much, he is at best smug, and at worst, well it’s probably best if I don’t go there.  There is a lot that can be learnt from him though. At the age of 15 he started weight training When he was 23 he won the Mr Olympia body building title […]

The Problem with Analytics

We have become obsessed by analytics or “the application of computer technology, operational research, and statistics to solve problems in business and industry”. Analytics uses databases and algorithms in an attempt to resolve problems.  Analytics uses infographics to present data. This is not the same as analysis or “the process of breaking a complex topic […]

All You Will Ever Need to Know About Analysis

Improving performance isn’t very difficult, it is just about fixing things that don’t work too well.  The problem is trying to work out which bit to fix, what is important, where will you get the most bang for your buck.   It is easy to fall into a world of analysis paralysis, pain and despair. You […]

The Pandora’s Box of Service Improvement, Dare You Open it?

At the heart of Lean Thinking is a beautifully simple idea, it is that you should only do things that a customer is prepared to pay for.  Anything else you do is “waste”. I prefer the word “stupid”.  It is harsher and blunter than waste but gets the point over.  (I didn’t graduate form a […]