SkyMark, 2003, $295 for one license, $95 for upgrades, $125 for one year upgrade subscription (software).
PathMaker 5 is a dynamic project management solution that combines all the soft tools used in a quality improvement process into one innovative software package. It helps you easily complete all the tasks related to developing, organizing and managing your project and lets you devote more time and energy to what matters most—the improvement process.
PathMaker 5 is a cost effective collection of various tools, such as affinity diagrams, project pathways, Pareto charts and data analysts, that will aid quality professionals as they work on various quality improvement projects.
PathMaker 5 is fully customizable and compatible with Windows 95 and higher. Every component can be modified or created from scratch. Templates are provided for times when customizing is not necessary so you can begin new projects quickly and effortlessly. You can also install PathMaker 5 on a network drive, allowing everyone on your team access to vital project information. PathMaker 5 works online or offline, allowing you to log into the project, see the latest changes and make your own updates.
SkyMark and Minitab have a private label agreement for Minitab to use the PathMaker program as the basis for Minitab’s Quality Companion program. People who own Minitab Quality Companion already have PathMaker.
The Synergy of One
Michael J. Dreikorn, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 209 pp., $24 member, $30 list (book).
The Synergy of One is a book about what Michael Dreikorn calls integrated performance leadership (IPL), how the dynamics of an organization are related and how performance measures and leadership influence the organization’s systems. He emphasizes the entire organization operating as a cohesive entity, particularly with regard to leadership and direction.
To start the book, Dreikorn uses his trip from Hartford, CT, to Osaka, Japan, and the unexpected events that happened en route to relate how IPL can affect an organization’s behavior and performance.
The book is divided into individual sections called constructs: integration, performance and leadership. Dreikorn emphasizes IPL is not standalone and must be focused on the customer. According to Dreikorn, the organization must align the systems behavior and performance expectations to create value for the customer. The key is for leadership to set the stage so the system performs as an integrated unit toward implementing change that ultimately supports the customer.
Dreikorn’s credibility for his IPL concept comes from his experience in various corporate cultures, particularly quality. This book would benefit any practitioner in quality as well as other disciplines. Its focus on organizational dynamics and leadership provides excellent insight into current dilemmas facing many organizations.
Mind Your P’s & Q’s
David Covey, iUniverse, 2003, 104 pp., $13.95 (book).
In Mind Your P’s & Q’s: How To Achieve Quality Through Process Improvement; A Handbook for Humans, Covey astutely recognizes people as integral to process improvement. Readers are likely to be change agents responsible for improvement projects, and Covey’s book will serve as a condensed organizational plan for those projects.
Program managers and novices alike will find Covey’s disciplined methodology beneficial since business is always looking for something to be done better, quicker and cheaper. The subject matter is organized through functional roles and levels.
Covey’s functional roles are policymakers, managers, practitioners and improvers. He relates planning the organization over three levels. Level one consists of objectives, budgets, priorities and scope defined and related to the top level of the company. Level two deals with development units at the group project level. Here budget plans, quality objectives, resource planning and management reporting requirements are connected to the process and quality (P&Q) roles of managers and improvers. Level three is task focused for the practitioner. The specific technical requirement changes are tested, and Covey identifies the P&Q roles of improvers and practitioners.
This book presents a planning model for continuous improvement projects and will assist operations, quality managers and safety managers as well as executives. Covey’s organization and insights into this process are outstanding.
Developing New Services
Caroline Fisher and James T. Schutta, ASQ Quality Press, 2003, 232 pp., $36 member, $45 list (book).
Developing New Services: Incor-porating the Voice of the Customer Into Strategic Service Development deals with quality functional deployment (QFD). However, instead of centering around the manufacturing sector, this book deals with the service industry. Its focus is on taking the voice of the customer, running it through the QFD process and translating it into meaningful output.
The book is broken into three sections. In part one, “Voice of the Customer,” Fisher and Schutta give some excellent examples of how to use tools specifically designed to capture information on how the customer is thinking and translate it into meaningful data for analysis.
There is nothing new in part two, “House of Quality,” from a tactical standpoint. Here Fisher and Schutta take the data and construct a QFD table. This is very typical of other books on the same subject; however, subject matter is geared toward the service industry. Part three, “Strategic Applications,” concentrates on how to make smart business decisions from the data and how to gain an advantage over the competition.
The only real criticism is there is some confusion in following the two examples throughout the book—one a pizza delivery service and the other a doctor’s office. With much more emphasis on quality in the service industry, this book will be very helpful to companies that need to identify the voice of the customer and construct services that will meet their needs.
Dove Quality Consulting
Full Steam Ahead!
Kenneth Blanchard and Jesse Stoner,
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2003,
171 pp., $19.95 (book).
Full Steam Ahead! Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Company and Your Life explores the process of creating a vision not only for your organization but also for yourself. Blanchard and Stoner take years of experience in facilitating the visioning process in diverse organizations and create a compelling storybook format presentation of this journey.
These lessons are brought forward in an inspirational story of two people who are able to develop a vision for their workplace as well as their own lives. The primary character is Jim Carpenter, president of an insurance agency, who is struggling to capture a vision for the company he inherited from his father. The other primary character is Ellie Atkins, who is recently divorced and re-entering the workforce after years of being a stay-at-home mom. Together they discover significant purpose, clear values and a picture of the future. Continuing through this journey, they learn how to ensure the vision comes alive in principles of how it is created, communicated and lived.
I found this book easy to read and understand, with principles being reinforced throughout the story. The book demonstrates that having a vision is not only necessary but also achievable. The primary audience of this book would be leaders in any organization wanting to develop a meaningful and powerful vision. Any person interested in creating one for his or her company, department or own life will find the book an inspirational and useful tool.
Sanden International (USA)
Identifying and Managing Project Risk
Tom Kendrick, Amacom, 2003, 354 pp., $32.95 (book).
Risk is one of the devils of any project and is a critical source of waste in many companies. Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project is the result of Kendrick’s 25 years in the field, including 12 years in Hewlett-Packard’s core project management initiative.
Although his background is in technology project management, the author seeks to extend learning to other areas, using the building of the Panama Canal as an example to bring to life many of his points.
Each with its own chapter, the areas of risk covered include project scope, project schedule, resource, project constraint, documentation and activity. These are supplemented by chapters on analysis, monitoring and active management of risks, deliberately aligning with the framework of the project management body of knowledge.
Some traditional quality risk tools, such as failure mode and effects analysis and process decision program charts, are not used, although Pareto charts and cause and effect diagrams are. Kendrick includes some mathematical analysis derived from program evaluation and review technique analysis and a very useful risk questionnaire.
Overall, this is an excellent book on project risk that embodies practical knowledge. Although best used to support technology projects, it nevertheless should be a very useful addition to any project manager’s collection.
Syque Consulting and Publishing
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England
The Portable MBA in Project Management
Eric Verzuh, John Wiley and Sons, 2003, 436 pp., $34.95 (book).
In The Portable MBA in Project Management, Verzuh and 11 other contributors span the critical elements and issues confronting project managers.
The book is broken into four parts with part one building a case for project management by emphasizing the strategic advantage of making a change to a project based organization. Part two addresses key elements and practices of project management. Part three focuses on building the high performance project team, including the critical success factors of the rapidly emerging virtual teams. Finally, part four deals with integrating project management into the enterprise and creating an environment for successful projects.
• Project selection through using numeric and nonnumeric models, identifying evaluation factors, establishing ranking criteria and managing the project portfolio.
• Organizing tasks and task rela- tionships.
• Estimating work packages and calculating a schedule.
• Assigning and leveling resources.
• Stakeholder analysis.
• Establishing control and escalation requirements.
• Using earned value analysis in measuring schedule and cost variance.
• Assessing and managing known and unknown risks and using a probability impact matrix.
• The relationships of quality management and project management.
• Using stage-gate processes, especially for new product development.
• Profiles of best practice companies.
• The five phases on the path to project maturity.
The text is accompanied by charts, tables and diagrams illustrating the practices discussed. On some topics, Verzuh and his other contributors take the reader into depths not found in most project management books. A little knowledge of basic project management tools will be helpful in understanding the more advanced concepts presented. This book is well worth its modest price.
R.T. Westcott & Associates
Old Saybrook, CT
Lean Supply Chain Management: A Handbook for Strategic Procurement, Jeffery P. Wincel, Productivity Press, 2004, 228 pp., $40 (book).
The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated
Circuits, second edition, Thomas H. Lee,
Cambridge University Press, 2004,
775 pp., $75 (book).
Insight to Performance Excellence 2004: An Inside Look At the 2004 Baldrige Award Criteria, Mark L. Blazey, ASQ Quality Press, 357 pp., $48 member, $60 list (book with CD-ROM).
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