Project Management Problem Solving

Project Management Problem Solving by Walter McIntyre

I hear the following a lot.  “He (or she) is a good problem solver.” This is a great quality to have, but it is less than half the needed skill.  It is better to be known for preventing problems.  From both a time and cost prospective, a problem prevented is best, because solving a problem typically adds more time and money to a project, than a solid plan to avoid the problem in the first place.

Culture of Process Improvement

Cultural Aspects of Six Sigma Process Improvement by Walter McIntyre

Whatever the process improvement methodology used, when properly applied, it produces a change in a business’s culture. Outlined below are some behavioral changes necessary to sustain a customer focused process improvement effort.

View the business as an organization of processes:
• If you view the business as an organization of processes, then managing the business becomes managing processes.
• Processes are interrelated and, as a result, they interact with each other. Changing one affects the others.
• If the appropriate processes are in place, managing those processes is managing people. Not the other way around.

Government and History

Government and History by Walter McIntyre

Our current day politicians seem to want to berate Washington, our government and everyone that is there. Don’t be fooled, all of them are trying to become what they criticize, insiders. These naysayers have lost site of the importance of knowing and understanding history. Actually, they should be embracing the history and talent that resides in our nation’s capital. Many decisions that shaped our history, and the modern history of the world, were made by men and women, in desperate times, showing great courage from political office or appointment. There is much we can learn from them. The same cannot be said of any other city in the United States, or any demographic involving corporate headquarters.

Voice of the Customer

Voice of the Customer by Walter McIntyre

Typically, there is not a single voice of the customer.  They are fractioned into multiple groups, each with their own perspective.  Each group may also have different voices in different circumstances.

For the Six Sigma team, identifying the customer involves more than collecting information about who is purchasing the business’s products or services.  Those who purchase the products and services are just one of several customer groups.  Some other classifications are internal supplier/customer hand-offs, customers of competitors, former customers, and potential customers.

Lean Value Proposition

Lean Value Proposition by Walter McIntyre

The basic Lean and business value proposition in looks like this:

Profit = Perceived Value – Inherent Value

Lean process improvement projects address the Inherent Value piece of this equation. The idea is to reduce the inherent cost of production and delivery of the product or service. A common mistake that teams make is to assume that inherent value issues are not customer driven. This is a case of being inwardly focused instead of a more balanced focus (inward and customer driven).

“I See You” Management

“I See You” Management, by Walter McIntyre

Connectivity between human beings is the beginning of synergy.  It is written in our genetic code and expresses itself in our drive to connect to others and be part of a group. Since this is how we are wired, it only makes sense that the most effective management styles, as far as us humans are concerned, leverages this aspect of our specie’s corporate psyche.

I would call this “I See You” management. I did not coin this phrase, but since I cannot remember who did, I will use it for this post. The way I see things, “I See You” management is based upon three levels of recognition.

Estimating Project Timelines

Statistically Estimating Project Timelines by Walter McIntyre

Statistics

Why is it that projects more often than not come in behind schedule and over budget? This question drives business executives crazy. Why shouldn’t there be an even split between on time project delivery and late project delivery? These are valid questions.

Entrepreneur Life

Entrepreneur Life by Walter McIntyre

For the most part, all of us have a robust fear of failure. We are good at counting the cost of trying and failing. We are also pretty much aware of what we don’t want to lose. The result is that we miss opportunities due to not taking the risk of possible failure.

What we are not good at, is evaluating the risk of not trying. We decide to play it safe. Understand, though, you are guaranteed to fail if you don’t try. By playing it safe all the time, you limit your opportunity for success.

Lean Marketing & Product Development

Lean Marketing and Product Development by Walter McIntyre

Lean principles apply to any process based operation. I cannot think of any process that does not have non-value added components in it that create the opportunity for waste production.  In fact, by definition, a non-value added component in a process is waste.

Managing an Innovation Team

Managing an Innovation Team by Walter McIntyre

Innovation is as much about failure as it is success.  Innovation thrives in a culture that is open to challenging the status quo and allowing employees to make mistakes as new ideas are generated. Organizations that do not tolerate failure simply cannot innovate in a way that we would call successful.

Managing an organization that has an innovative culture can be stressful, as there is bound to be friction as new ideas rub up against established ways of doing things and other employee’s ideas. This friction is good if managed right.  This means creating a safe environment for commenting on ideas, introducing ideas and “sharpening the sword” against each other.