Book Cover

 

This week we conclude our re-read of The Checklist Manifesto with a few final thoughts and notes and a restatement of a checklist for a checklist that Stephen Adams contributed in the comments for Chapter 9 – they deserve more exposure.  A few of the key takeaways are: (more…)

Book Cover

 

This week we tackle Chapter 9 of The Checklist Manifesto .  The Save is the final chapter in the book.  Next week we will discuss our final thoughts and decide on the next book.  In chapter 9 Atul Gawande expresses his experiences with the surgical checklist he helped to create.  A combination of emotion and evidence.

The Save is the shortest chapter in The Checklist Manifesto weighing in at only 5 pages.  Perhaps I should have considered the chapter when we talked about The Fix (chapter 8) but I even though the chapter is short the message is important.  The two major points in this chapter are:

  1. Don’t be a hypocrite.  Change agents must eat their own dog food. In this instance, Gawande talked about how he used the checklist in his own practice.  When you are helping to shape change, using your own advice provides a number of benefits. Those benefits include generating feedback based on first-hand observation and taking and holding the moral high ground.
  2. Checklists are effective at improving outcomes.  In the chapter, the author references several examples, including one that saved a patients life, of how checklists are effective to help improve outcomes and generate the conversations between team members.

Given the title of the book, wrapping the up the book with a statement about the effectiveness of checklists is not a shock.  The example of a patient that nearly died that is the backbone of the chapter is important as a final statement because it reiterates that we have to think and talk about what we are doing even if we have performed the action a hundred times before.  Gawande’s message is not dissimilar to the message that L. David Marquet delivered when he described deliberate actions. Our actions regardless of the outcome will have an impact on the world around us, therefore, try to make the impact as positive as possible. Our review of chapter 8 (last week) ended with the admonition “try a checklist,”  After chapter 9 I would add, “because our actions matter.”

We need your input to choose the next book.  I will cut off the poll on October 3rd. Make sure your voice is heard!

Remember to buy a copy of The Checklist Manifesto and READ along!

Previous Installments:

Week 9 – The Hero In The Age of Checklistshttps://bit.ly/2PWu2TC

Week 8 – The Fix – https://bit.ly/2NeKyBE

Week 7 – The Checklist Factoryhttps://bit.ly/2wV3yu3

Week 6 – The First Tryhttps://bit.ly/2Q0PhVt

Week 5 – The Ideahttps://bit.ly/2PCs0Zz

Week 4 – The End Of The Master Builderhttps://bit.ly/2BmIGBc

Week 3 – The Checklisthttps://bit.ly/2KMhVFR

Week 2 – The Problem With Extreme Complexityhttps://bit.ly/2AGZQZX

Week 1 – Approach and Introductionhttps://bit.ly/2LYi9Lv

In week 6 of re-read of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along) we read about Atul’s first try using a checklist to solve a big problem.  The Chapter is titled The First Try. Let’s just say it is a learning opportunity.

The chapter starts with an example of Dr. Gawande engaging with the World Health Organization (WHO) to help address safety because of the massive increase in the number of surgeries. The problem was not that surgeries were being done, surgery saves lives, but rather the number of complications that happened in conjunction with the surgeries. The rate of post-surgical complications was unacceptably high. (more…)

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Software Process and Measurement Cast 490 features a return visit from Michael West.  Michael West is the author of Return On Process (ROP): Getting Real Performance Results from Process and Real Process Improvement Using the CMMI Michael and I talked process improvement and how process improvement translates to the bottom line.  Mr West originally appeared on the SPaMCAST 308 [https://bit.ly/2ITlKsf]

Michael’s bio:

Michael West is a life-long practitioner and student of process improvement. He is the co-founder of Natural Systems Process Improvement (Natural SPI), a consultancy specializing in designing, developing, and deploying process systems that enable measurable business performance improvement gains. Mr. West’s process insights and innovations have helped many organizations in various sectors of the economy achieve real process and performance improvement. His process consulting clients include ATK, Autodesk, AVL, BAE, BB&T, Crane Aerospace, DCS, Deloitte, Sandia National Labs, Reliability First, and the US Navy. Mr. West frequently presents and speaks at industry conferences, and is the author of Real Process Improvement Using the CMMI (CRC Press, 2004) and Return On Process (ROP): Getting Real Performance Results from Process Improvement (CRC Press, 2013).

Contact Michael at:

Web: http://www.naturalspi.com/

Email: michael@naturalspi.com

Twitter: @ItsTheProcess

Re-Read Saturday News

In week five of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! (https://amzn.to/2qujXmL) we tackle chapters five and six.  These two chapters, titled Call to Action and Whatever They Tell Me To Do! continue to tell the stories that form the basis for Marquet’s leadership model.

Current Installment:

Week 5: Call to Action and Whatever they tell me to do!https://bit.ly/2IXZugS


Previous Installments: (more…)

The goal of learning and leveraging lean principles in an organization is to improve value delivery. In order to get the biggest bang for the buck, practitioners need to take a systems approach to what they analyze and change. Lean, like agile, works best when we change the flow of work. This is one of the reasons value stream mapping is a powerful lean tool. Given the expansive – soup to nuts – perspective, lean practitioners use many techniques to stay focused. The 5 Ms from lean manufacturing is a focusing tool. The 5 Ms provides a framework to consider five of the controllable inputs into any process. While the 5 Ms are part of lean manufacturing, it takes very little imagination to use the 5 Ms as a focusing tool for any process flow. The 5 Ms are: (more…)

Quote from Mark Twain - too much whiskey is barely enough

Can you prove it?

Organizations and team embrace a framework or technique for a purpose. That purpose is generally to address a real or perceived problem.  When you get very specific, each change is done a different reason.  When teams or organizations are asked whether they attained their goals, solved the problems they intended or realized the promised benefits, very few have gathered more than a handful of success stories before losing focus and moving to the next big thing. Unless you can answer whether the framework or technique delivered tangible value,  leaders will be reluctant to spend money on changes.  Best practices are a point in case.  Best practices are, by definition, practices that some have found useful (or at least that someone has professed are useful).  Every process improvement and/or best practice adoption that is not legally mandated needs to follow the following high-level feedback loop.

  1. Decide why you are making the change and what the outcome of the change will be in tangible terms. Developing a solid reason for why you are making a change may sound like a trivial step, however, the rationale will often directly impact the passion for making the change. People pursue survival changes with a lot more vigor than incremental quality of life improvements.
  2. Develop a hypothesis of why the change you are making will satisfy the rationale for the change.  Changes that actually work rarely are the outcome of magical thinking or dumb luck. If there is no logical reason the change you are proposing will have an impact you are very likely wasting time and money.  Use the scientific method!
  3. Set SMART goals that will be used to track and evaluate the change.  As a reminder, SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.  The goals should cover the journey and outcome based on the hypothesis crafted in step 2.
  4. Benchmark the process you are changing.  Consider collecting data specific to the change and data to evaluate the impact on the overall system.
  5. Make the change.  You still have to make and support the change.  Your journey measures will be helpful to make sure that the change is being implemented well.
  6. Collect the data to show the impact (compared to the benchmark developed in step 4) for several cycles after the change has been implemented.
  7. Use the data you collect to tune the process. Pick a feedback loop and tune the process.  Rarely are major changes perfect right out of the box.  Using feedback to tune the process helps to ingrain the change and to make sure it is delivering value.
  8. Report your findings.  Share the impact with everyone involved.  Positive data will help to reinforce the change and will help sell the next round of changes.  In scenarios where the change doesn’t deliver value reporting reinforces the principle of transparency.  If a change doesn’t deliver, don’t double down on a failure; revert back and try something else.

People make changes to how they work on a daily basis.  Some changes are minor and, in some cases, are not worth developing a full-scale proof of impact. For example, deciding on whether to order grilled tofu or pizza for the team lunch doesn’t require a proof of impact.  Some large-scale changes like adopting Scrum, Kanban or DevOps require a great deal of time, focus, and money. It makes sense to be able to answer the question of whether you got what we thought you would get with something more substantive than a shrug.

Next an example

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SPaMCAST 455 features our interview with Michael King.  We talked about Michael’s approach to Agile, process improvement and the CMMI at Halfaker and Associates.  Michael provides a glimpse into making a change in the real world.  Mr. King delivers more than just theory.  One word describes the interview – insightful.

Michael’s Bio:

Michael King serves as Chief Technology Officer at Halfaker and Associates (www.halfaker.com), leading customer solution architecture, internal IT operations, business process architecture, and quality management activities.  Michael has 14 years of systems engineering, project management, and process design experience within the Federal contracting industry.  He has previously served as Halfaker’s Chief Operating Officer.  Prior to Halfaker, Michael worked within Lockheed Martin’s Critical Infrastructure Protection group, providing system engineering support related to identity management, physical security, and cyber security.  Michael holds a Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Information Systems and Technology from Johns Hopkins, and several professional certifications (PMP, PMI-ACP, SAFe SA).  Michael King writes about organization design, Agile, and process management at https://designinggreatorganizations.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikehking

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikehking/D

Re-Read Saturday News

This week Steven dives into Chapter 3 of Paul Gibbons’ book The Science of Successful Organizational Change.  This chapter has provided me several sleepless nights considering the difference between complicated and complex systems.  Understanding the difference is important making change happen, work, and stick!  Remember to use the link in the essay to buy a copy of the book to support the author, the podcast, and the blog!  

This week and previous installments: (more…)