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Improvement methodologies or Go-With-The-Flow?

September 19, 2016

The point is, I am allergic to rules.

 

I have a good reason for that: if rules are logical, it is absolutely no problem to follow them. But far too often, they are not, so that a strong reward-, and an even stronger penalty system is necessary to enforce following them.

I am a much bigger fan of logical thinking. An open door, seemingly, but I will illustrate how much it is not. In the many of the business courses I provide, I am so often confronted with the question, which methodology to follow, especially, when they are simultaneously following another module as well, which has its own ‘unique’ methodology.

 

Unfortunately, it is difficult to express the despair of participants on screen, but take it from me: it is not to be taken lightly. Because: “in management we use method A and you are now talking about method B and which one are we supposed to use and when?!”.

Since forever we can observe, how much professionals need hat racks and methodologies. Particularly in information technology where large automation companies took on huge projects, of which they very often didn’t have a clear cut picture or how the project would evolve. Let alone the management of the project. A thorough feedback and monitoring system ensured timely adjustments and alignments with reality and a consequent satisfactory result.

 

But when a project like that had ended, the organization planned to exploit the documentation and reporting on the course of the project. Write a book about it and pretend the management of projects is always done according to these methodologies. This has incurred two issues: first of all, there has been a proliferation of apparent project management techniques and even many more books about them. Secondly, software packages, that had been developed in this way, were marketed as standard software.

I much more prefer a problem oriented approach. This means, that I like to clarify the problem and the consequent goal of the project and align the necessary resources. Obviously, this means using proven tools, I mean, the carpenter also uses hammer and screwdrivers. But whether he uses nails or screws, or that he maybe needs to glue it this time, depends on the problem. Exactly the same goes for consultancy projects. And in this case, I think it is completely unimportant, whether we need to use nails, screws, glue or rope, as long as it sticks.

 

You could say I love approaches that have a Deming-type of approach. And a lot of the relatively new development approaches are of the same nature, Agile, Scrum and the likes. Interestingly enough, we have developed a training course that covers these approaches in an organizational sense. The course is called “Improvement starts with “I”; continuous improvement pressure cooker” and aims to have the participants develop their improvement projects and even (part of) their continuous improvement methodology. This will generate an ultimate fit between the problems/challenges/issues and the ability of the organization to deal with them.

 

Now please understand me correctly, in spite of what the title could imply, ”go-with-the-flow” doesn’t mean, that you just charge through an issue blindly. To me it means, that after a clear project definition, I am being guided by observations through logical thinking and iterative approaches.

And everyone exactly understands the purpose, once they know what the problem is. Especially when they understand that is not about the path, but about the destination.

 

Want to discuss continuous improvement in your organization? Please feel free to contact Arvid for more information.

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