Mary Beth Chrissis, Mike Konrad and Sandy Shrum, Addison Wesley, 2007, 676 pp., $69.99 (book).

The second edition of CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement is the official version of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) version 1.2. It is well organized and clearly written. In particular, it presents the continuous and staged representations of the model and makes the point that both representations are synergistic and can be considered simultaneously.

The book serves as a guide for improvement of organizational pro-cesses. It consists of three parts. Part one is about CMMI for development, part two lists generic goals, generic practices and process areas, and part three contains appendixes and a detailed glossary.

Of particular interest to the QP readership is the section linking CMMI to Six Sigma. Unfortunately, this section seems to imply that Six Sigma is focused only on the manufacturing world when this is not the case. Six Sigma is widely applied in services such as banking and healthcare, and design for Six Sigma is clearly handling issues in development processes. A more strategic oriented presentation of Six Sigma would have made the comparison more pertinent. However, the fact that Six Sigma and CMMI are fully compatible is made clear.

The section on empirical software engineering as a basis for process improvement is another interesting aspect for quality experts. Overall, at CMMI Level 5 maturity, process improvement is an empirically based activity, turning software and system engineering into a true engineering discipline.

The book contains many case studies covering large and small organizations. Despite its size, it is easy to navigate, providing both interesting reading and an excellent reference. Overall, the book is the most up-to-date and comprehensive volume on the market. I highly recommend it to experts and practitioners alike.

Ron S. Kenett
Raanana, Israel

Getting the Right Things Done

Pascal Dennis, Lean Enterprise Institute, 2006, 232 pp., $40 (book).

Getting the Right Things Done provides an excellent presentation of strategy deployment with an emphasis on practicality and lean. Dennis showcases the elements used to change a facility from a traditional command and control mode to one in which employees at all levels are aligned, focused and engaged in their business.

The author gives a comprehensive view of the process needed to successfully make such a conversion. Tools and methods are not overly emphasized. Moreover, emphasis is placed on implementation and executions in achieving a system cycle of stabilize, flow, pull and improve within the typical concerns of managing a major change.

There are plenty of notes and examples provided to make comprehension easier and to facilitate use. There are numerous side discussions concerning the history, motivation and experience driving strategy deployment.

I found two minor weaknesses with this book. There are numerous double-wide fold-out pages included. This is necessary to adequately show the examples used in the story. However, it is a distraction. The second was continual reference to Toyota, although that might have been unavoidable given that Toyota is the basis of Dennis’ experience as well as one of the largest, most successful users of the technique.

Although I am tiring of the use of parables, fables and stories to impart information and teach, Dennis uses the method well. All leaders, from the first line supervisor to the CEO, will benefit from this material. It does not limit itself to manufacturing. Any industry, including service, can easily take the information presented and develop a fitting, workable course of action following the suggestions and model presented. I am looking for opportunities to use what I have learned from this book and apply that knowledge to more than just strategy deployment.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals

Kanban for the Supply Chain

Stephen Cimorelli, Productivity Press, 2006, 129 pp., $45 (book and CD-ROM).

Kanban for the Supply Chain: Fun-damental Practices for Manufacturing Management is designed to serve as a primer for supply chain management teams that want to implement kanban pull techniques in their organizations. This workbook gives readers an overview of kanban and logically takes them through the steps of setting up a kanban system.

The workbook begins by setting up an ABC classification system for inventory and analyzing inventory behavior using sawtooth diagrams. After that, it explains the concepts of lead time and lot size using the estimated order quantity formula and statistical analyzation demand variability. The latter half of the workbook is devoted to covering the physical implementation and maintenance of a kanban pull system.

The major strength of this workbook is it covers enough theory so that the “whys” behind implementing a kanban system can be explained to management and operations personnel without confusing anyone. It also has sufficient examples of the calculations necessary to implement a kanban system in enough detail that someone with no experience in this area can proceed with little difficulty. All of the calculations can be performed in MS Excel or any other spreadsheet program with relative ease.

If there is a weakness to this workbook, it is the accompanying CD. Cimorelli could have included supplemental material, adding to the text examples of the relevant calculations instead of rehashing the examples already found in the workbook.

Overall, this is a great workbook, and one I am using in my own work. I would recommend it to anyone who needs to learn how to implement a kanban inventory system.

Brian Cocolicchio
Quest Diagnostics
Teterboro, NJ

Doing More With Less

Helen Zak, The Joint Commission Resources, 2006, 131 pp., $75 (book).

This short book serves as a leadership introduction primer for healthcare executives and quickly gets them up to speed on lean thinking as it applies to the healthcare industry. Doing More With Less: Lean Thinking and Patient Safety in Health Care makes the case that there is a burning platform in healthcare and the current state of affairs cannot continue.

The Joint Commission Resources takes all the lean gurus’ basic principles and breaks them down into five steps: value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection. Using these five steps, it applies them to real life healthcare examples. Next, the book addresses specific challenges to lean in healthcare, so professionals cannot say “That’s OK for manufacturing, but it doesn’t apply to us.”

To drive the applicability even further, three case studies are explored in detail: Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center and ThedaCare.

This book is a good introduction to lean and should help convince healthcare administrators and professionals that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a way out of the current morass.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Santa Fe, NM

Transformation to Performance Excellence

Sandra Cokeley, Margaret A. Byrnes, Geri Markley and Suzanne Keely, ASQ Quality Press, 2007, 168 pp., $22 member, $36 list (book and CD-ROM).

Transformation to Performance Excellence: Baldrige Education Leaders Speak Out is a collection of questions and answers and success stories based on ideas specific to the use of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award resources. It is a first person account of how those successes were delivered. The book is a quick read organized with an effective index with direct answers to specific questions from leaders using Baldrige award education criteria for the design and operation of education systems.

This reference book offers reports on how to use the Baldrige award’s education criteria to transform education and school systems. Examples of topics include: getting started, getting buy-in, involving teachers and principals, dealing with resistance, financial impacts, challenges, assessment, and who to get on board as key players in facilitating transformation. It is important to note the programs explored include higher education as well as rural and urban K-12 school systems.

Though the book focuses on the Baldrige award, its value comes from insights about building and delivering successes in transformational programs. It can be read cover-to-cover or by targeting specific questions. The Baldrige applications with documentation and details from specific identified programs are presented on the CD-ROM accompanying the book.

I recommend this book for leaders influencing quality transformation in educational programs. It should be passed on to others considering change, improvement and ensuring quality-as-process and quality-as-result in an education program.

Jerry Brong
Ellensburg, WA


  • Lean for Dummies: A Guide to Improving Performance and Profits for Any Business, Natalie J. Sayer and Bruce Williams, For Dummies, 2007, 362 pp., $21.99 (book).
  • The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implement-ing Lean Six Sigma: The Finan-cial Impact, Robert M. Meisel, Steven J. Babb, Steven F. Marsh and James P. Schlichting, ASQ Quality Press, 2007, 104 pp., $16 member, $28 list (book).
  • Quality Management Essen-tials, David Hoyle, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007, 216 pp., $29.95 (book).

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