mardi 29 mai 2012

Working together to understand measures

A paradox in most of Organization is that figures used to measure improvements can limit learning, don’t tell us what’s going on or worst can mislead. However those reports are predominantly used in Services. Leaders are used to analyze productivity using monthly reports showing current productivity, average productivity to date, variation between current productivity and productivity for the same “month” last year,… People working on the field knows that average data means nothing. They know that their job is subject to variation. By reviewing such data, it’s impossible to explain why data varied. Is it due to variation in the process ? to variation in the workers capabilities ? to variation in the demands ? to variation in the environment ?...Leaders are most often ready to listen to their collaborators and have the anxious feeling that workers are right. Unfortunately, they have to explain the KPI. So they ask explanations for any figures which are not good as they wanted. They ask us to write reports to explain why and action plan to improve performance. However, most often actions taken are waste without knowing what's due to system. I don’t say that no action should be taken. If variation is due to special causes, a direct action is appropriated but if variation is due to the system, the direct action would be tampering. Understanding variation is key in the leadership of people. So, what should you do when you’re confronted with such “common” situation? Stop and take time to learn about SPC chart. You will find insightful articles about SPC in "out of the crisis, Deming "and "Understanding Variation - the key to managing chaos - Wheeler. SPC chart really helps to reconnect leaders and workers, helps to take the right action the right way and helps to think about improvements . It also helps to understand that taking actions is not just a question of figures but a question of profound knowledge. No data have meaning apart from their context (Dr. Shewart's principle) 95% of variation are due to system (Deming). A better practice is to understand the system to improve the processes.

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