Fundamental Concepts Of Quality Improvement

Melissa G. Hartman, ed., ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 352 pp., $32 member, $40 list (book).

This book is a collection of 27 previously published articles on the subject of quality from Quality Progress and ASQ's Annual Quality Congress and Annual Quality Audit conference. The articles were selected because the editor believes they represent the basic enduring ideas of the quality movement.

The book is arranged into four sections: quality basics, teams, continuous improvement and integrated case studies in quality improvement applications. The quality basics section contains articles on W. Edwards Deming, J.M. Juran and Philip Crosby. The articles range from a detailed application of Deming's 14 points to how one company integrated all three philosophies into its quality improvement process. The section on teams focuses on the way teams work and how they contribute to quality.

The last two sections contain 17 articles covering basic tools and methods along with their applications. The tools range from a cost of quality system to benchmarking. The applications include case studies from manufacturing, healthcare and government.

I found some of the articles very basic and not useful. Others were interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who is in the process of creating or maintaining the improvement process within his or her organization.

Gene Placzkowski
S.C. Johnson Wax
Racine, WI

High Quality Low Cost Software Inspections

Ronald A. Radice, Paradoxicon Publishing, 60 Elm St., Andover, MA 01810, 2002, 480 pp., $59.95 (book).

This book covers all aspects of inspections of software development work products. The chapters describe the reasons for doing inspections, the inspection process, inspection roles, inspection data, analysis of how defects got there and re-inspections. The appendixes include checklists, forms and an extensive bibliography.

Radice suggests inspections are good because they are effective and efficient ways to find defects. Defects are more likely to be found near the point at which they were injected, and defects found early are always cheaper to fix than those found in testing. Radice supports a formal method for inspections that includes collecting and analyzing data.

Although the material presented is valuable, the book would have benefited from some more editing. Even for someone familiar with the subject, it was difficult to follow the logic when reading the book from cover to cover because the topics appeared to wander. A glossary would have been helpful because some terms, such as SEPG, were used, but not explained.

This book is recommended for software development shops that want to improve quality but have not institutionalized inspections.

Carolyn Rodda Lincoln
Titan Systems
Vienna, VA

Jack: Straight From the Gut

Jack Welch with John A. Byrne, Warner Books, 1271 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 2001, 479 pp., $29.95 (book).

It is not every day I get to review books that are current subjects of conversation in the office. Jack Welch has become the role model of business leaders worldwide. He has weathered a career at General Electric (GE) spanning 40 years, including some tough times when he was better known for eliminating jobs than improving operations.

The first three-fourths of the book presents a detailed description of Welch's career at GE, the mistakes that were made and steps taken to turn GE into a world-class company with a focus on quality.

It offers specific details about how the Six Sigma program was developed and implemented throughout GE and reflects on Welch's competitive nature, which carries over into his personal life and golf game. In fact, there is a complete chapter dedicated to his reflections on golf. If you aren't a golf fan, skip this chapter.

The only negative to the book is the overly detailed description of internal political struggles at GE, which includes names of various executives.

The book is destined to be a classic. It is not something you will find in academia, nor does it offer any new management philosophies. What it does offer is a series of practical applications of existing theories.

James F. Jaquess

Organizational Mastery With Integrated Management Systems

Michael T. Noble, John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012, 2000, 342 pp., $79.95 (book).

In Organizational Mastery With Integrated Management Systems: Controlling the Dragon, Michael Noble makes a compelling case for integrating an occupational health, safety and environment system into the quality system of an organization. His book emphasizes the specific use of procedures and controlling the work environment at the process resource input and design stages.

Part of the overall management control process is understanding the multiple root causes of process nonconformance. This knowledge is critical for understanding how to improve the process at the design stage to ensure substandard conditions are not designed into the process to become precursors for performance and process failures. The book provides case studies and hands-on tools such as critical process observation checklists and job-task observation reports.

The author notes implementing changes can be disruptive if the organizational culture and beliefs are inconsistent with the continual improvement process. If the organization is not ready, you will need to evaluate how best to improve the culture to effectively integrate management systems.

This book should help managers, hygienists, environmental engineers and executives. I believe the author's ideas can lead to significant improvement in outgoing quality and enhance health, safety and bottom-line business performance by simplifying the processes and looking at management responsibilities.

John J. Lanczycki
Creative Planners
Danbury, CT

Quality Management: Principles And Techniques, Fourth Edition

Geoff Vorley and Fred Tickle, Quality Management and Training Publications, PO Box 172, Guildford, Surrey, England GU2 7FN, 2001, 512 pp., $29 (book).

This book's three parts cover quality management systems, quality improvements and quality issues. The first part covers the different system standards. The second deals with the philosophies of key quality gurus and quality improvements, initiatives and techniques. The last focuses on quality issues related to supplier quality assurance, statistical quality, cost of quality and computer aided quality assurance.

I found this book to be very informative about software, project and quality assurance. The material is easy to follow, and the authors use charts, tables and flow diagrams throughout. The only word of caution is you will need to have a basic understanding of statistics to fully understand and appreciate some of the chapters.

Newcomers and experienced quality professionals alike can learn something new about quality concepts and standards by reading this book.

Rajesh K. Sharma
Proctor & Gamble

Reference Data for Engineers, Ninth Edition

Mac E. Van Valkenburg and Wendy M. Middleton, eds., Newnes-Butterworth-Heinemann, 225 Wildwood Ave., Unit B, PO Box 4500, Woburn, MA 01801-2041, 2002, 1,672 pp., $124.99 (book).

Reference Data for Engineers: Radio, Electronics, Computer and Communications is a colossal 1,672-page book containing an encyclopedic wealth of knowledge on telecommunication and computing technology.

The book covers telecommunication protocols, standards, integrated circuits and what makes modern telecommunications tick. Some of the quality related chapters are on topics such as radio frequency spectrum management and time frequency standards; information theory and coding; broadcasting, cable television and recording system standards; logic design; probability and statistics; reliability and life testing; mathematical equations and mathematical tables.

This book provides both concise and in-depth coverage. It will benefit telecommunication engineers, designers and business managers who need to know more about modern telecommunication technology.

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego

The Quality Auditor's HACCP Handbook

ASQ Food, Drug and Cosmetic Division, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 258 pp., $62 member, $77 list (book).

This book is a good reference for anyone interested in understanding what hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) represents, the basic activities required to support it and how to implement and maintain a HACCP plan.

The book logically and clearly discusses what can be a daunting subject. It begins with an overall introduction to HACCP, including its history and the basic tasks involved in HACCP plan development.

Seven different chapters are devoted to explaining the key principles of HACCP, including conducting a hazard analysis, determining critical control points, establishing critical limits and monitoring procedures, establishing corrective action and verification procedures, and keeping effective records. The final chapters are devoted to HACCP plan implementation and maintenance, with an emphasis on food processing industries and medical devices.

The book makes good use of examples and includes a supplemental study guide for anyone interested in pursuing the ASQ certified quality auditor-HACCP certification.

Although no book could expect to be completely comprehensive on such a subject, this book offers numerous reference notes at the end of each chapter for further study or verification.

Linda Cubalchini-Travis
Simi Valley, CA

When Teams Work Best

Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson, Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, 2001, 249 pp., $24.95 (book).

When Teams Work Best is a compilation of research conducted by more than 6,000 team members in different organizations. The organization of the book is based on what the authors call the five dynamics of teamwork and collaboration: team member, relationship, problem solving, leadership and organization environment.

As stated in the preface, the intention of the book is "to be an eminently practical guide to success in collaborative teamwork." Chapter one delves into the six factors that distinguish good team members and concludes with a collaborative team member rating sheet. The connect model, a tool to aid in building effective team relationships, is introduced in chapter two. Chapter three outlines the five steps to effective problem solving, and chapter four covers the six attributes of a team leader. The last chapter focuses on the three overarching organization dimensions.

The book provides an organized approach to making teams work and underscores that teaming is not rocket science; it's tougher. By using the principles in this book, you can learn from the experience of others and avoid teaming pitfalls.

Bill Baker


Measuring and Analyzing Behavior in Organizations, Fritz Drasgow and Neal Schmitt, eds., Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 2002, 591 pp., $47 (book).

Metal Failures: Mechanisms, Analysis and Preven- tion, Arthur J. McEvily, John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158, 2002, 324 pp., $90 (book).

Organization and Management Problem Solving, James T. Ziegenfuss Jr., Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, 2002, 310 pp., $34.95 (book).

Organization Development, Janine Waclawski and Allan H. Church, eds., Jossey-Bass, 989 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 2002, 352 pp., $47 (book).

Performance Measurement Explained: Designing and Implementing Your State-of-the-Art System, Bjørn Andersen and Tom Fagerhaug, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 188 pp., $26 member, $32.50 list (book).

Quality Audits for ISO 9001:2000: Making Compliance Value-Added, Tim O'Hanlon, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 260 pp., $35 member, $44 list (book).

The Trust Imperative: Performance Improvement Through Productive Relationships, Stephen K. Hacker and Marsha L. Willard, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2002, 168 pp., $24 member, $30 list (book).

Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Production, Taiichi Ohno, Productivity Press, 541 NE 20th Ave., Suite 108, Portland, OR 97232, 2002, $23 (CD-ROM).

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