Autonomy, accountability and tunnel effect

One young employee told me “I don't like my manager to ask me over and over again about the progress of my work. I like to get my objective and then be let on my own to achieve it, I’ll report when I’m done”. Well I thought, you have never been project manager nor in … Continue reading Autonomy, accountability and tunnel effect

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Problem solving: what was the last change?

This post could be a sequel of “Yeah, problem solving” in which I used Peter Senge’s quote: “Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions”. Quite often people we consultants meet are puzzled by a problem they can’t understand: a reliable process or machine suddenly seems out of control, steady performance dropped unexpectedly and with no apparent … Continue reading Problem solving: what was the last change?

Can CCPM reinforce Parkinson’s law?

In this post I share a post-mortem analysis of a situation we’ve encountered while helping a company to improve its performance. This company was specialized in custom-made machine engineering and asked for help to improve its On-Time Deliveries performance. We proposed to install Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), an obvious choice given the circumstances. Critical … Continue reading Can CCPM reinforce Parkinson’s law?

My takeaways from Breakthrough Project Management conference

Paris, October 17th, 2016. Ian Heptinstall, co-author of “The Executive Guide to Breakthrough Project Management, Capital & Construction Projects on-time in less time, on budget at lower cost without compromise” (full title), was there to deliver his conference on the subject. Before you turn away thinking this has nothing to do with my industry, you … Continue reading My takeaways from Breakthrough Project Management conference

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

This quote, often falsely attributed to Theodore Roosevelt (see Sue Brewton's blog), is an excellent mantra for both personal and management use. Too often when facing a problem or a challenge, individuals tend to push it to others, to complain about their insufficient resources and have great ideas for others instead. Think about the latest … Continue reading Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

The man-machine system performance

When looking for performance improvement of a man-machine system, too often management puts emphasis onto machine or technology at large, ignoring the fact that humans associated with equipment, machines or technology form an interrelated system and consequently humans are the discriminating factor. The fallacy of trusting the latest technology There is a strong belief, backed … Continue reading The man-machine system performance

How corporate Lean programs spoil golden opportunities

This is the sad and true story of a manufacturing unit of a major manufacturer in his industry. This company has a corporate program to roll out Lean, with permanently appointed staff to support it. The Lean organisation is structured from a corporate level to sites representatives and staff appointed to support departments within the … Continue reading How corporate Lean programs spoil golden opportunities

What coaching means to me – part two

A coach is a person able to teach, train and advise someone, to improve skills and/or practice and to make his/her coachee reflect about achievements and how to improve from the lessons learned. It takes some experience and skill to coach others, that’s why I am not comfortable hearing the words coach or coaching that … Continue reading What coaching means to me – part two

Continuous improvement: how easily focus is lost

In an industrial environment improvement opportunities are literally infinite, especially if nothing has been done so far about improvement and maturity, about industrial best practices and considering methodologies like Lean, Theory of Constraints (ToC) or Six Sigma was nearly nonexistent. When starting to improve, it happens quite often: committed people get lost and lose focus. … Continue reading Continuous improvement: how easily focus is lost

Six differences that distinguish cost cuttings from cost reductions

1. Arbitrary vs. Rational Cost cutting is an arbitrary decision to suspend some expenses or drastically reduce budgets. It comes quick and unexpected. The often arbitrary, brutal and sudden non-negotiable stop of expenses deserves the name 'cut'. Cost reduction is a rational decision to drive some costs down, usually through a structured and timely phased program. 2. … Continue reading Six differences that distinguish cost cuttings from cost reductions