Anbar Management Abstracts, Volume 1:6
David Pollitt, editor, MCB University Press, 60/62 Toller Lane,
Bradford, West Yorkshire, England BD8 9BY, 1999,
198 pp., $77.99 for annual subscription. (book)
If you need to keep up with the latest academic and professional journals, then you need the Anbar Management Abstracts. The abstracts cover everything from accounting and finance to human resources and quality management.
The Anbar reviewers read a wide variety of journals in given fields and write abstracts about selected articles. The journals range from professional (Quality Progress) to academic (The International Journal of Quality Science).
Besides being published in book form six times each year, the abstracts are also on the Internet at http://www.anbar.co.uk/index.html. The online version stretches back to 1989 and is very extensive.
The abstracts are quite short; the reviewer's words are mostly descriptive rather than evaluative. The online version uses a star system to score research implications, practice implications, originality and readability. Like any system of purchase based on another's review, this system can lead you to order articles that prove to be less valuable than you hoped.
If you research management topics or appreciate brief reviews of journal articles, then you must get a copy of the Anbar Management Abstracts.
David M. Straker
Cronthrone Berks, England
The Certified Quality Manager Handbook
Quality Management Division, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 1999, 522 pp., member $63, list $77. (book)
This book is based on the body of knowledge for the Certified Quality Manager's examination and was written with two purposes in mind. The first is to assist individuals in passing the Certified Quality Manager exam, and the second is to enhance the ability of users to perform their jobs in the quality arena. The sample exam questions in Appendix D are especially useful.
The collection of authors did an excellent job balancing the amount, depth and breadth of the knowledge presented. The body of knowledge is quite extensive, and without judicious editing, the book could have easily been hundreds of pages longer. The information is presented in a very readable and understandable fashion for the novice. It also includes enough detail to be of use to a senior quality manager.
The handbook is essential for anyone studying for the Certified Quality Manager exam or performing duties that require quality management expertise. If your organization has a quality library, this handbook should be a part of it.
San Antonio, TX
Implementing Your Strategic Plan: How To Turn "Intent" Into Effective Action for Sustainable Change
C. Davis Fogg, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 360 pp., $65. (book)
Implementing Your Strategic Plan helps facilitate change. The foundation of the book is a list of 18 key factors needed to implement a strategic plan. The introductory chapter discusses how some companies and CEOs used the 18-step approach in the past. The 18 steps emphasize commitment to change and the need for good organization for the change process.
The book is an excellent guide for managers seeking to implement change. The examples, flowcharts, caveats and treatment of norms are an invaluable resource that will help managers avoid the pitfalls of moving from the status quo to plan implementation.
I liked Fogg's realistic approach. He does a good job documenting the dangers in failing to take decisive action, the inherent role of leadership, the nurture of good management and ways to look to the future while dealing with the present.
If the book has a weakness, it is its thoroughness. The result is a somewhat intimidating tome, but those who use it as a guide will be rewarded with answers to most questions.
William F. Foster
The Helix Factor: The Key To Streamlining Your Business Processes
Michael R. Wood, The Natural Intelligence Press, 1902 Margaret St., Pittsburgh, PA 15209, 1998, 180 pp., $26.95. (book)
In The Helix Factor, Michael Wood presents a method for business process improvement free of the usual quality jargon. The eight key principles underlying Wood's helix are the foundation for the factors necessary to align project goals with the organization's strategic objectives.
The helix addresses the barriers that prevent success during the implementation of any process change or improvement project. While these barriers are important, the executive overview focuses on another equally important topic: the process for identifying and planning projects. Unfortunately, the application of the key principles is not demonstrated through the implementation of a project in the case study.
The importance of the application of basic tools is also emphasized in the executive overview. Executives, managers and project leaders will find this book beneficial due to the emphasis on executive level involvement.
Many of the techniques will be familiar to the seasoned project manager. However, Wood's process provides a more organized approach for executive planning than other sources on process improvement. In addition, Wood's approach is not limited to a manufacturing environment. For that reason, I recommend this book to anyone involved in the selection and planning of process improvement projects.
Quality Management Resources
Mt. Juliet, TN
Managing Quality: A Practical Guide To Customer Satisfaction
D.B. Murthy, Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, 1999, 226 pp., $45. (book)
Managing Quality is intended to provide a medium-depth look at quality practices and requirements for various commercial endeavors. The author reviews quality from a holistic perspective and covers the different aspects of providing quality goods and services.
The book won't be useful to the seasoned quality practitioner in search of additional technical information. Moreover, the use of examples from India and the sense Murthy gives of the status of general quality implementation in India gave me the impression that the book was considerably older than it is.
The above weaknesses, however, also provide the best opportunities for reflection and discussion of quality as applied to business practices. Portions of the book distill quality and its practice and provide a refreshing perspective unencumbered by minute details about techniques. The summaries of the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO, certification process, quality policy, complaint handling and the future of quality are particularly noteworthy.
The book will be useful to upper level managers who are trying to understand quality. The author provides an excellent view of the need for quality in business processes. People in marketing, finance or sales, who are somewhat removed from the central service providing or manufacturing groups, may also find this book worth reading.
Marc A. Feldman
Tests That Work: Designing And Delivering Fair and Practical Measurement Tools In the Workplace
Odin Westgaard, Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 1999, 400 pp., $49.95. (book)
Tests That Work serves as a ready reference tool for people who use testing--a "measurement tool," according to Odin Westgaard, "used to assess people in the workplace."
The book includes a detailed discussion of the traditional aspects of testing that will bring the novice tester up to speed. It also includes Westgaard's 15 Steps of Test Development. The goal in testing, according to Westgaard, is to have a good, fair test that is valid and reliable. To help people meet this goal, he goes to great lengths to explain the intricacies of planning, development, and the use of language and skill to the reader.
The book outlines the best practices and concepts of a good test, including examples and references. It is not a quick, how-to manual for the casual, infrequent tester. There is probably more detail than most testers will find interesting, but it is comprehensive.
The strength of the book lies in the discussions about how to use the test results and evaluate the test itself.
The book is an excellent resource for professional testers, educators and human resources personnel. After all, major decisions about people and their careers will be made from interpretation of test results.
People-Friendly Data Tools For Problem Solving and Business/ Quality Improvement
Stephen Rowe, Data-Driven Improvement, PO Box 148, Fremont, IN 46737, 1999, 18 pp., $30. (book)
The manual is designed to offer simple, graphic techniques for analyzing and presenting complex data sets. Rowe refrains from making a mathematically based analysis of the data and successfully addresses the concerns of applied statistics practitioners.
The method of collecting data is just as important as the analysis in attempts to define a problem or improve a process. Unfortunately, Rowe doesn't cover proper data collection techniques. He also doesn't cover techniques for selecting the proper data analysis tool.
The data presentation tools used by Rowe allow for easy interpretation. His use of colors and symbols helps identify significant factors, and the overall presentation of the material is clear and concise. The manual can be read several times in an hour, thereby allowing the reader to comprehend and apply the tools immediately.
Rowe's manual will be useful for individuals who know how to properly collect data but still need guidance in analyzing and presenting it. The methods in the manual can be used by anyone to quickly identify potential causes of variability within a process.
S.C. Johnson Wax
Planning and Control Of Maintenance Systems: Modeling and Analysis
Salih O. Duffuaa, A. Raouf and John Dixon Campbell, John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012, 1998, 371 pp., $90. (book)
Maintenance systems play a key role in achieving organizational goals and objectives. This book presents maintenance as a system that needs to be planned, designed and implemented using analytical techniques.
The key strength of this book is its comprehensive coverage of the concepts related to planning and control of maintenance systems. The quantitative modeling of maintenance systems is explained well, and a modest level of mathematical rigor is used throughout the book.
The book is suitable for use as a textbook for undergraduate or first-year graduate level courses in maintenance for industrial, mechanical and electrical engineering and industrial management students. It is also suitable for use as a reference book for maintenance professionals and practitioners.
Pennsylvania State University-Altoona
Skyhooks for Leadership: A New Framework That Brings Together Five Decades of Thought--From Maslow to Senge
John A. Shtogren, editor, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 422 pp., $29.95. (book)
Skyhook is a mining term for a bolt driven into the ceiling of a mineshaft to keep it from caving in. In this book, Shtogren describes what he considers the seven leadership skyhooks: vision, trust, open communication, meaningful work, empowerment, teamwork and transformational style. Each skyhook is defined in a succinct, yet thought provoking manner. For example, vision is defined as the need to "develop and communicate a picture of an attractive future."
Rather than recreating the wheel, Shtogren provides a collection of writings from authors such as Peter Senge, Robert Waterman, Abraham Maslow, Robert Blake, Jane Mouton and so on.
Each skyhook is covered in its own section. Within each section, there are two chapters, each explaining the leadership trait being emphasized. The first chapter is usually one that first appeared between the 1950s and 1970s. It is paired with a more contemporary chapter that was written during the last two decades. Together the chapters show the topic's enduring importance.
Shtogren's book is a must read for today's managers and tomorrow's leaders. It provides the keys to successful leadership backed by the works of the most influential thinkers on the subject over the last 40 years.
Thinking Tools for Kids: An Activity Book for Classroom Learning
Barbara A. Cleary and Sally J. Duncan, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 1999, 160 pp., member $23, list $28.50. (book)
The authors of Thinking Tools for Kids have created a workbook that introduces quality concepts to elementary school children. A detailed message for parents, teachers and students introduces quality in terms each group can easily grasp and apply.
Each chapter builds on one idea with numerous activities and illustrations. The book moves from collecting ideas to making connections to recording data to looking for patterns. There are examples to give the teacher ideas to strengthen the concept prior to working on each exercise with students.
By the end of the book, students will be able to identify a problem, hypothesize, and gather and summarize data. I think this is a great way to introduce quality tools and the scientific method to elementary school children. I also think that most of the exercises could be used in middle and high school curricula with some modifications.
The authors do an excellent job of showing their understanding of quality tools and their knowledge of how to teach younger students in a meaningful way.
I. Elaine Allen
The Best on Quality: Book Series
Of the International Academy for Quality, Volume 11, Madhav N. Sinha, editor, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 2000, 317 pp., member $67.50, list $82.50. (book)
Continuous Improvement in the Primary Classroom: Language Arts, Karen R. Fauss, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 2000, 169 pp., member $23, list $28.50. (book)
From Baldrige to the Bottom Line: A Road Map For Organizational Change and Improvement, David W. Hutton, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 2000, 319 pp., member $30, list $37.50. (book)
Managing Change: Practical Strategies
For Competitive Advantage, Kari Tuominen, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 2000, 335 pp., member $36, list $45. (book)
The Nordic School of Quality Management,
Bo Edvardsson and Anders Gustafsson, editors, Studentlitteratur, PO Box 141, 221 00 Lund, Sweden, 1999, 412 pp., approximately $40.55. (book)
Quality Is Everybody's Business, Patrick L. Townsend and Joan E. Gebhardt, CRC Press LLC, 2000 Corporate Blvd. NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431, 2000, 379 pp., $39.95. (book)
The World of the Theory of Constraints:
A Review of the International Literature, Victoria J. Mabin and Steven J. Balderstone, CRC Press LLC, 2000 NW Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431,
2000, 223 pp., $39.95. (book)