Bullseye! Hitting Your Strategic Targets Through High-Impact Measurement
William A. Schiemann and John H. Lingle, The Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 1999, 224 pp., $29.50. (book)
Bullseye! examines measurement as a strategic element in successful organizations. The authors' original research indicates that companies that manage by balanced measurement outperform their less disciplined competitors. The measurement management companies not only had a significantly higher return on investments; they also exhibited superior performance in key, nonfinancial areas.
The book is arranged in a way that helps readers understand the value of strategic measurement by examining data from the authors' research. The authors explore deterrents to effective measurement systems and the processes required for becoming a high performance, measurement managed organization.
The heart of the book includes a detailed case study defining a four-step process that successfully transformed one company into a measurement managed organization. The book also describes the seven deadly myths that often cause measurement systems to be ineffective.
The postscript chapter is in outline form and illustrates 17 key actions or gates required to implement effective measurement management. The description of each of the 17 actions includes certain things to watch for in the process. The appendix gives some brief examples from the authors' work on how effective measurement systems have been implemented in other situations.
The book is easy to follow and well-organized. The numerous tips and detailed plan will give readers a running start at implementing an effective measurement system. Even though Bullseye! is targeted at managers, anyone interested in improving results will benefit from reading the book.
Fisher Controls International
J. Jerry Kaufman, Crisp Publications, 1200 Hamilton Ct., Menlo Park, CA 94025, 1998, 96 pp., $12.95. (book)
Value Management is one of a series of short guides for management on quality and business topics. The book's brevity is something other authors should embrace because it cuts to the chase and is solid from cover to cover.
The overview simply and clearly describes value management, analysis and engineering. It also covers esteem, exchange and utility value, and the basic principles of either increasing value or decreasing cost. The author also warns readers about seemingly attractive options that may actually damage overall value.
The second chapter covers the job plan or the overall framework stages of information, speculation, planning/analysis, execution/evaluation and reporting/presentation. It is followed by a chapter on function analysis that describes how to identify and analyze different functions in the target system. Together, these two chapters describe the core of value management.
The last chapter shows readers how to make the whole system work by linking customers to determine and prioritize customer value needs. It does seem odd that customers are placed at the end, but at least they're there.
Value management is a very pertinent topic these days, and this book is a good choice for managers and quality professionals seeking a brief, practical introduction to this important subject.
Bracknell Berks, United Kingdom
Learner-Centered Assessment On College Campuses: Shifting The Focus From Teaching To Learning
Mary Huba and Jann Freed, Allyn and Bacon, 160 Gould St., Needham Heights, MA 02494, 2000, 286 pp., $29. (book)
Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses is a practical, example based book that contrasts teaching and learning and examines what the authors believe is a shift toward a learning-centered approach. Though the book is aimed at teachers and administrators in higher education, it is applicable to all levels of education.
The first section of the book, "Developing a Learner-Centered Perspective," begins by assessing where readers place themselves in education. A series of provocative questions and a review of the development of the learning-centered perspective aid in the asses- sment. The material is well-prepared, moving readers seamlessly from the development of the perspective to reinforcement of the perspective through a series of examples and checklists. It is obvious that the authors are knowledgeable about and strong proponents of learner-centered education.
The second section of the book, "Implementing a Learner-Centered Perspec-tive," discusses specific areas where learning (vs. teaching) can be assessed and implemented. To illustrate their point, the authors present several long case studies of colleges that use learner-centered programs. Some of the presented techniques are particularly useful when dealing with students who are off campus or distance learners.
The book is an easy to read, well-written exposition of the learning-centered teaching paradigm. It provides an introduction into what may be the next important change in how educators deliver information to students and how students learn the information following its delivery.
I. Elaine Allen
Babson Park, MA
Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World's Top Corporations
Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder, Doubleday, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, 2000, 320 pp., $27.50. (book)
Though the Six Sigma process has improved the bottom line of major corporations, such as Motorola, GE, Allied Signal and Polaroid, don't expect to be given any of the authors' secrets or "how to" strategies. This is mainly a management information book that is easy to read and supplies a general overview of Six Sigma.
The book begins with an explanation of the Six Sigma process and identifies the eight stages of the Breakthrough Strategy needed to implement Six Sigma. The authors continue by explaining the cost advantage of implementing the Six Sigma strategy and illustrating how benchmarking is advantageous when applying the principles of Six Sigma to other, similar processes.
In the chapters about the metrics of Six Sigma, the authors do a good job of presenting throughout yield, rolled throughout yield and normalized yield. Through simple formulas and graphs, the authors drive home the importance of reducing process variation to reach the Six Sigma level while improving the bottom line.
When addressing the actual implementation and deployment of Six Sigma, the authors give readers a list of activities that must be completed, such as choosing projects and defining organizational structure. The authors also include a fair amount of material about defining the roles of the major players in the process. The end of the book discusses how to select projects for the Six Sigma process and gives some clues on how the process should be prioritized. The authors also include chapters on success stories from GE, Polaroid and Allied Signal.
Given the title and the authors' credibility, I was disappointed that the book did not offer more meat on the subject of Six Sigma. I would recommend the book to readers interested in learning more about the basics of Six Sigma. True quality practitioners and readers serious about the subject of Six Sigma will, however, need to find other resources.
Remaking Teams: The Revolutionary Research Based Guide That Puts Theory Into Practice
Theresa Kline, Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 1999, 176 pp., $39.95. (book)
Anyone already familiar with the mechanics of team organization and implementation will probably find nothing new in Remaking Teams. However, there are three key differences between this book and others, making it a worthwhile reference.
The first difference is that the book includes a disk featuring team exercises and case studies to supplement the reading. The exercise examples include resource assessment, goal setting, role clarity, conflict management, criteria for an effective meeting and ways to measure team satisfaction.
Another one of the book's differences is that it takes a general approach to team implementation. The other books on the market tend to be geared toward quality related activities.
The third difference is that the author is quick to emphasize that the book benefits from " ... high quality, replicated, empirical research in the practice of how to improve team performance."
The book will probably not add much to seasoned practitioners' experience in team organization. Readers who are new to the field of team implementation, though, will likely find the book useful. The main complaint I have about the book is that it contains random references to the empirical studies/theories. The references read too much like an academic exercise, and that does not always translate well in the business world.
Simi Valley, CA
The Roots and Future Of Management Theory: A Systems Perspective
William Roth, CRC Press, 2000 NW Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 99431, 2000, 232 pp., $49.95. (book)
As the title suggests, this is a discussion of the roots or history of management theory; very little attention is paid, however, to the future of management theory. The author guides readers through the key events and thoughts that affected management theory. He begins with medieval times, moves through the industrial revolution and ends up considering the modern day effects of computers.
Throughout the historical journey, the author includes much more than familiar historical events, such as the invention of key pieces of machinery. The author's analysis also includes the effects of philosophical, religious, economic and sociological thoughts on management theory.
The book is organized into three parts: the pre-industrial revolution era, the industrial revolution and the post-industrial revolution era. Each chapter begins with a list of what readers should learn in the chapter and concludes with a list of discussion questions.
Readers who enjoy reviewing history from a sociological perspective will like the book and be challenged by the author's conclusions. On soft topics such as this one, there will always be some disagreement over the amount of impact certain events and thoughts have had on management theory, but the author does make a well-researched and credible case for his opinions.
While some readers will profit from this type of historical presentation, others will be bored and find themselves doubting the benefit of the discussion. Readers expecting "how-to" applications for today or helpful projections of the future of management theory and practice will be disappointed.
World Class Quality: Using Design Of Experiments To Make It Happen
Keki R. Bhote and Adi K. Bhote, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1999, 320 pp., $34.95. (book)
World Class Quality presents Dorian Shainin's approach to design of experiments along with applications of his techniques. The authors first set the groundwork for the material by briefly reviewing past trends in the quality field. They go on to compare and contrast the three major approaches to design of experiments (DOE): classical, Taguchi and Shainin. The remainder of the book contains an in-depth presentation of the Shainin approach.
As with all problem solving techniques, DOE has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on the application. Unfortunately, the authors don't always caution readers about the risks involved in applying the tools and techniques.
Virtually all of the problem solving techniques in the book are presented in a clear, understandable manner. Because the book is designed as a practitioners' guide, the authors refrain from cluttering the book with unnecessary theory. The practical examples help readers understand the concepts and application of the tools.
Practitioners looking for a powerful but simple way to apply techniques to solve problems should take a good look at this book. Readers don't need a lot of statistical or experimental design experience to understand the book.
S.C. Johnson Wax
Insights to Performance Excellence 2000: An Inside Look at the 2000 Baldrige Award Criteria, Mark L. Blazey, ASQ Quality Press, 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 2000, 391 pp., member $33.50, list $40.75. (book)
Profit Beyond Measure: Extraordinary Results Through
Attention to Work and People,
H. Thomas Johnson and Anders Broms, The Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 2000, 246 pp., $28.00. (book)
QSTracker Document Control v5 and Corrective Action System v5, Trackware Inc., 101 First St., Suite 353, Los Altos, CA 94022, 2000, $250 (license cost and CD). (CD-ROM)
Software Engineering Process: Principles and Applications, Yingxu Wang and Graham King, CRC Press LLC, 2000 NW Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 99431, 2000, 752 pp., $99.95. (book)
Video Training Series: Introduction
To Continuous Improvement for Process Operators, IPC Video/CBT, PO Box 389, Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557, 2000, IPC members $300 (one video), nonmembers $400 (one video), IPC members $675 (set of three videos), nonmembers $900 (set of three videos). (video)
Y14.5M-1994 Standard Ease: Electronic Version Of the ASME Y14.5M-1994 Standard, Tec-Ease, 8054 S. Hill Rd., Cherry Creek, NY 14723, 2000, $195 (single user). (software)