Six Sigma Team Dynamics
George Eckes, John Wiley and Sons, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, 2003, 288 pp., $29.95 (book).
With Six Sigma Team Dynamics: The Elusive Key to Project Successes, George Eckes offers a useful guide to team projects that must deliver quality processes and results. The guide ties into specifics of Six Sigma as a process and philosophy.
Two chapters stand out as having useful and somewhat unique information. Eckes provides guidance to Six Sigma project facilitators in Chapter 4, "When Six Sigma Meetings Go Bad." Chapter 6, "Dealing With Maladaptive Six Sigma Behaviors," provides techniques useful in combating forces that rake projects off track.
The final chapter provides a list of pitfalls to avoid in creating Six Sigma team dynamics. These are good reminders for any person with Six Sigma project responsibilities.
The book is useful as a reference during a project and also has high value for use in a group workshop setting. Eckes provides issues for discussion and exploration as well as techniques for problem solving.
Proquis, 2590 E. Devon Ave., Ste. 220, Des Plaines, IL 60018, 2003, $199 boxed version, $189 download version, 75% discount (download only) for registered students (software).
allCLEAR 6.1 flowchart software (Windows compatible) is a smart tool for visualizing and understanding critical business processes. This latest version continues the long history of the program, which has always supported complete text entry of process steps in an outline format.
With allCLEAR, you don't have to draw any lines or boxes. As you type the process steps in the outline, the program inserts and organizes the shapes that represent the steps. Diagrams are unlimited in size, and large diagrams are split into multiple pages at logical points with automatic page connectors.
You can also automatically create diagrams from text files or use the drag-and-drop templates. The templates easily create flowcharts, process control charts, data flow diagrams, deployment charts, hierarchy charts, organization charts, decision trees and fishbone diagrams. An interactive runtime viewer allows free distribution of diagrams to the rest of the organization. Changes and updates in diagrams are quick and easy.
allCLEAR diagrams can be exported to HTML, a Windows metafile, a JPG file and many other formats. You can add notes to the chart in a free format, and other applications or documents can be attached to boxes and run from the flowchart.
You have to spend some time learning the program's punctuation requirements, but with its many features and its unique text based data entry, allCLEAR offers special functionality not found in Visio or SmartDraw. It is a viable option for process flowcharting.
The Biomedical Quality Auditor Handbook
Bruce Haggar, ed., ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2003, 250 pp., $68 member, $85 list (book).
The auditing experience can be richly rewarding yet rigorous on many personal and professional levels. In the medical device field, the knowledge base is extensive, rapidly changing and at times complex, so the auditor is presented with unique challenges. A competent auditor in this field has mastery of the fundamentals and a solid grasp of current developments.
This book more than adequately helps auditors meet those challenges. Haggar and nine different authors contribute insights and experiences, making it unique in its field. The authors cover medical devices from domestic and global perspectives.
Part 1 is a constructive examination of the details and implications of U.S. medical device laws. Part 2 is a sound evaluation of technical subjects affecting medical devices, such as sterilization. Part 3, covering international standards, is current and relevant as it explores European regulations of devices, in vitro diagnostics and active implantables. The authors also write about the impact of the Global Harmonization Task Force. The book ends with a detailed glossary and a handy reference list.
This book serves as the cornerstone in the body of knowledge for ASQ's biomedical quality auditor specialization. The authors have met their goals of creating an excellent reference and meeting the needs of those pursuing certification. It is a must read for those in the medical device arena.
Siemens Medical Solutions
Hoffman Estates, IL
How To Audit the Process Based QMS
Dennis R. Arter, Charles A. Cianfrani and John E. (Jack) West, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2003, 244 pp., $32 member, $40 list (book with CD-ROM).
With ISO 9001:2000's emphasis on a process based system, auditing processes, both internal and external, are changing, presenting a challenge for organizations and registrars. This book's title promises a way to make the transformation, though I am not totally convinced the authors accomplish this goal.
The first section broadly explains the process approach and how organizations should use it in developing quality management systems. It also differentiates between the system approach and the process approach to auditing. There is a short discussion on the "true process auditing principles," but it falls short by not going into more detail on this key subject.
The authors also address the general requirements for establishing and managing an efficient and effective internal audit program and conducting audits from planning through verifying corrective action. The last section contains worksheets, forms, checklists and questions, which are also included as PDF files on the CD-ROM.
This book's title is misleading; the authors don't identify how to make the transformation to a process based auditing system. The majority of the topics can be found in other auditing books that cover the systems approach.
This is a good information source for someone who needs to understand the basics of auditing and how to set up an audit program at an organization. But the quality practitioner who is searching for how to use a process approach to auditing should keep searching.
Dove Quality Consulting
From Quality to Business Excellence
Charles G. Cobb, ASQ Quality Press, 600 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203, 2003, 264 pp., $32 member, $40 list (book).
From Quality to Business Excellence: A Systems Approach to Management presents a vision of the future of quality management. Cobb does this by considering a range of current methodologies to understand how they may work together.
The bulk of the book is extractions and discussions about well-known quality topics and systems, including ISO 9000, Baldrige, business process reengineering, total quality management, Six Sigma, balanced scorecard and enterprise resource planning. Popular and respected management texts are frequently referenced, such as Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema's Discipline of Market Leaders and Jim Collins' Good to Great.
Cobb provides a number of short real-world examples of points discussed, although more of these would be useful. There are also many diagrams and tables to explain the integrated approach Cobb proposes.
The book will be less valuable for people already aware of the well-known systems. It includes coverage of ISO 9004, Deming's 14 points and define, measure, analyze, improve, control. It also takes many quotes from the referenced books.
If you are seeking to build a complete quality system that includes aspects of several approaches, this book may help you. It will be particularly useful if you have limited knowledge of these systems and have not read the major works referenced.
Overall, there is a clear need to integrate approaches, and the book might be more useful if it discussed more lower level details of integration rather than repeating information about well-known approaches. Cobb's integrated approach may be intelligent, but it's not very deep.
Syque Consulting and Publishing
Crowthore, Berkshire, England
Project Management Case Studies
Harold Kerzner, John Wiley and Sons, 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030, 2003, 400 pp., $40 (book).
The 68 case studies in this book come from a wide range of
organizations. Covering both small and large projects, they are
presented in 15 categories: methodologies, implementation,
cultures, organizational structures, resource negotiation,
planning, scheduling, execution, controlling, risk management, conflict management, morality and ethics, scope changes and compensation administration.
The content and structure of the book are designed for both the self-directed learner and classroom use. Many of the cases are followed by review questions. The book is useful to college students and individuals preparing to take the certified project management professional exam administered by the Project Management Institute. An instructor's manual (not reviewed) is also available.
This book contains more thought provoking dilemmas than direct answers to questions. The potpourri of cases makes for fascinating reading but leaves readers with the nagging question of what they would have done differently. The would-be project manager will find an almost overwhelming array of helpful insights. The more experienced project manager is more likely to say, "Been there, done that."
The typical nonreader of case studies must fight the impulse to skip over cases that concern industries, organizations or situations different from his or her own. There is knowledge of methodology and practices to be gained from each case. It does require an open mind and the ability to see how the experience of a seemingly alien organization can be translated to your organizational setting and situation. It's worth the effort.
R.T. Westcott and Associates
Old Saybrook, CT
Supply Chain Excellence
Peter Bolstorff and Robert Rosenbaum, Amacom, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 256 pp., $39.95 (book).
In Supply Chain Excellence: A Handbook for Dramatic Improvement Using the SCOR Model, Bolstorff and Rosenbaum endorse the supply chain operations reference (SCOR). SCOR is a model framework developed by the Supply Chain Council and its member companies. The authors use their hands-on experience with SCOR to present a project roadmap and show the value of the SCOR initiative.
Supply chains are important for managing activities that deliver finished products or services to customers. The book does an excellent job providing an implementation plan for this initiative. It helps a project team strategically discover the opportunity for SCOR, analyze the basis of competition, design material flows required to support business agenda and define the informational flows with specific metrics for control of the SCOR initiative.
Bolstorff and Rosenbaum include the Supply Chain Council's best practices to clarify and integrate business objectives, strategy, process and technology. The authors refer to many successful implementations using the SCOR model.
They also cover a useful model called demand chain operations reference. Just as supply chains get products and services to the customer, the demand chain obtains orders for the customer. Businesses should implement both models to optimize and balance their work properly in the supply chain.
This is an easy to read book that effectively teaches how to achieve supply chain success. It is an excellent handbook for the practitioner and a good resource for executives who want to learn about supply chains.
John J. Lanczycki
Baldrige Award Winning Quality: How To Interpret the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, 12th edition, Mark Graham Brown, Productivity Press, 444 Park Ave. S., Ste. 604, New York, NY 10016, 2003, 388 pp., $39.95 (book).
Juran Institute's Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond: Quality Performance Breakthrough Methods, Joseph De Feo and William Barnard, McGraw-Hill, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10128, 2004, 374 pp., $39.95 (book).
Quality Concepts for the Process Industry, Michael Speegle and G.C. Shah, UHAI Publishing, 1731 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023, 2004, 214 pp., $41.95 (book).