Have you ever wondered why so many improvement initiatives fail? Have you ever thought there must be an easy way to make improvement happen and succeed?

It is my hope to provide you with a series of articles (BLOG) postings on this topic. This series is not intended to be complete or exhaustive. As you will note from this initial paper, achieving completeness would be nearly impossible; so, I’ll drop that objective at the outset.

Having said that, I encourage you to ask questions, pose challenges; basically, help make this thread interesting. Don’t leave the interest development up to me; I’m getting old and I have often been boring. With that, let’s begin.

As I read the various discussions on quality, improvement, etc. on LinkedIn and elsewhere, I notice that there are basically three active and one inactive class(es) of contributors:

  • Zealots – active (people who have a focused, narrow agenda or set of preferences)
  • Inquirers– active (people who have heard ‘something’ about improvement and want to know more)
  • Rabble rousers– active (people who want to disturb the zealots and want to influence the inquirers)
  • Lurkers– inactive (people who read but do not contribute in a noticeable fashion… those who almost interact push their ‘like’ buttons).

Why should we (or you) care about these classes of readers/ participants, you might ask? Well, quite simply because these groups are also represented in your business or client base; and, people can belong to different groups, at the same or varying times, depending upon the Improvement initiative(s). That may not sound like a big problem at first until you begin to look at how many special interest groups might be ‘out there’. Let me try to provide a perspective.Disco-Dancers-Remix-1-by-Merlin2525

In the software engineering, information technology, and manufacturing realms, the areas with which I am most familiar, there are numerous quality approaches (dare I say, fads?) in use. Some of the ‘fads’ out there include:

  1. AgilePM certification aims to address the needs of those working in a project-focused environment who want to be Agile.
  2. AS9100 is a widely adopted and standardized quality management system for the aerospace industry. It was released in October, 1999, by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries.
  3. AVSQ: quality management model developed for the Italian automobile industry AVSQ
  4. BPR — business process re-engineering, a management approach aiming at optimizing the workflows and processes within an organization.
  5. CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) V.1.3  provides guidance for applying CMMI best practices in the acquisition of products and services to meet the needs of customers and end users.
  6. CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV) V.1.3, which provides a comprehensive integrated set of guidelines for developing products and services.
  7. CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC) V.1.3, which provides a comprehensive integrated set of guidelines for providing superior services.
  8. Deming-Award: Japanese award for Quality management since 1951.
  9. EAQF: quality management model developed for the French automobile industry EAQF
  10. Electronic Industries Alliance Interim Standard 731 (EIA/IS 731), Systems Engineering Capability Model (SECM)
  11. European Quality-Award: European award for Total Quality Management which has been presented since 1991 by the
  12. European Federation of Quality Management EFQM.
  13. IEEE Std 12207, “Systems and software engineering — Software life cycle processes”, is an international standard that establishes a common framework for software life cycle process, with well-defined terminology.
  14. Integrated Product Development Capability Maturity Model (IPD-CMM)
  15. ISO 15504-4: 2005 — information technology — process assessment — Part 4: Guidance on use for process improvement and process capability determination.
  16. ISO 9004:2008 — guidelines for performance improvement.
  17. Kaizen — ??, Japanese for change for the better; the common English term is continuous improvement.
  18. Kansei Engineering — an approach that focuses on capturing customer emotional feedback about products to drive improvement.
  19. Malcom Baldrige-Award: US-American Award for Total Quality Management created in 1987 www.quality.nist.org
  20. OQRM — Object-oriented Quality and Risk Management, a model for quality and risk management.
  21. PDCA — plan, do, check, act cycle for quality control purposes. (Six Sigma’s DMAIC method (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) may be viewed as a particular implementation of this.)
  22. QFD — quality function deployment, also known as the house of quality approach.
  23. QS-9000: quality management model developed for the US automobile industry QS9000
  24. Quality circle — a group (people oriented) approach to improvement.
  25. Six Sigma (Lean Six Sigma)— 6?, Six Sigma combines established methods such as statistical process control, design of experiments and failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) in an overall framework.
  26. Taguchi methods — statistical oriented methods including quality robustness, quality loss function, and target specifications.
  27. The Toyota Production System — reworked in the west into lean manufacturing.
  28. TQM — total quality management is a management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. First promoted in Japan with the Deming prize which was adopted and adapted in USA as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and in Europe as the European Foundation for Quality Management award (each with their own variations).
  29. TRIZ — meaning “theory of inventive problem solving”
  30. TS 16949: special requirements for the application of ISO 9000 for suppliers of the automobile industry TS 16949
  31. V-model represents a software development process (also applicable to hardware development) which may be considered an extension of the waterfall model.
  32. VDA: quality management model developed for the German automobile industry VDA
  33. Zero Defect Program — created by NEC Corporation of Japan, based upon statistical process control and one of the inputs for the inventors of Six Sigma.

Thus if your readers, participants, etc. are adherents of a particular approach, method, or ‘fad’… you will have plethora of special interests and agendas to address, reconcile, and manage.  Imagine having 33 (or more) perspectives that require negotiation, reconciliation, ‘care & feeding’.  Well they are there, and more.

To address this set of challenges most effectively, you need to have methods that will incorporate and reconcile these ‘numerous’ camps into a cohesive, coherent, and comprehensible effort.  We’ll begin those discussions in the next articles.

Mark Rabideau

Mark Rabideau

Mark Rabideau is a Management Mentor/ Coach with over 40 years of Engineering and Management Experience. He is a CMMI Institute SCAMPI High Maturity Lead Appraiser and Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is also licensed to teach both the CMMI-DEV and SVC constellations' courses. You may contact Mark directly by using the PEP contact page.

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on 2015-02-04.
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