Process Driven Comprehensive Auditing

Paul C. Palmes, ASQ Quality Press, 2009, 152 pp., $25 member, $42 list (second edition, book and CD-ROM).

Palmes writes this book for the novice and experienced internal auditor. The goal is to provide an easy-to-understand method for conducting a highly effective process audit based on the ISO 9001:2008 standard.

The book can be divided into two parts. The first four chapters give an overview of how the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle relates to conducting a process audit. The last five chapters describe how the ISO 9001:2008 standard can be integrated into the PDCA-based auditing approach using a tool the author calls the PDCA audit master.

The major strength of the book lies in the last three chapters, the appendixes and the CD-ROM, which contains the audit master template. This part of the book goes through the audit master checklist showing how the PDCA cycle relates to the appropriate sections of the ISO standard.

Appendix B deals with sections 4-8.5 of the ISO standard and explains where each and every subsection connects to the audit master checklist and where the standard requires records and a documented process. An example audit using the checklist is given in appendix C.

Where this book is weak is in showing the novice, in enough detail and guidance, how to go about planning an audit and constructing a relevant checklist beyond what is given in the audit master. Overall, this book is better suited for the experienced auditor.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

Organizational Assessment and Improvement in the Public Sector

Kathleen M. Immordino, CRC Press, 2009, 248 pp., $59.95 (book).

It comes as no surprise that federal, state and local government agencies are struggling to meet growing public expectations for services behind a backdrop of severe fiscal constraints. Organizations, public and private, that seek to more effectively and efficiently serve their constituents fail frequently for lack of an effective and integrated change model. With this book, Immordino provides that model.

The book is not light reading, but it isn’t a scholarly tome either. The author uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award framework as the underpinning for her public sector assessment and improvement (PSAI) model. The model is designed specifically to accommodate the culture, language and needs of government agencies.

The PSAI model is structured around seven performance categories. Each category is viewed as autonomous but interactive with the others. These interactions form two broad groups comprised of human factors and operational factors.

Each performance category can be individually assessed; a strategic improvement plan developed, implemented, measurements and analysis conducted; and dashboard metrics assigned.

The final performance category is focused on organizational change outcomes. This is where the rubber meets the road and where performance results are measured and communicated.

This is a step-by-step manual for improving government agencies, and it provides a clear and practical approach to organizational assessment and improvement in government. If you are serious about improving your organization, you should read this book.

Jim Kotterman
Michigan Manufacturing
Technology Center
Plymouth, MI

Reliability Engineering and Risk Analysis: A Practical Guide

Mohammad Modarres, Mark Kaminskiy, and Vasiliy Krivtsov, CRC Press, 2009, 471 pp., $99.95 (second edition, book).

This book explores the practical aspects of the application of theory rather than the derivation of theory. It goes beyond statistical niceties and into the territory of dealing with real-world problems.

The ultimate practical aspect of the book is the link between reliability and risk analysis. By dealing with these two subjects in one single volume, the authors illustrate the importance of building reliability of survival as the basis for risk analysis.

The arrangement of the topics is logical and concise. From the traditional introductory material to the review of reliability mathematics, the book provides information for readers who have never been exposed to reliability engineering.

It then moves forward in complexity, with extensive coverage given to reliability subjects such as hardware and software reliability, reliability growth, and modeling and estimation techniques. The last chapter delves into a comprehensive discussion of risk analysis concepts and techniques.

This is a very useful book for the practicing reliability engineer and can be used as a reliability engineering textbook. Even with its emphasis on the practical aspects of the theory, it condenses results of theoretical studies. This book is highly recommended.  

Shin Ta Liu
Lynx Systems
San Diego

The Certified Software Quality Engineer Handbook

Linda Westfall, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 672 pp., $80 member, $133 list (book and CD-ROM).

As the title implies, this book is developed and formatted based on the ASQ certified software quality engineer (CSQE) body of knowledge (BoK). Each page is actually tab-marked to cross-reference it to the BoK, making this an excellent study guide for the ASQ CSQE exam. The BoK is included as an appendix.

I found the book to contain excellent examples and up-to-date information. Included with the book is a CD-ROM with practice exams and answers. Also included is a large glossary of terms, an index and a long list of references should you wish to further research a particular knowledge area.

The strengths of this book include cross-referencing with the CSQE BoK as well as being well-written and organized, with numerous figures for different learning styles and comprehension. As with any book covering a broad knowledge area, the subjects are developed more in summary fashion than any deep dive.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to improve organizational or personal software quality knowledge. I completed the ASQ primer course of study and passed the CSQE exam in June 2009. This book would have been a great asset and is certainly recommended reading in preparation for that exam.

Bryan Ruggles
The Boeing Co.
Colorado Springs, CO

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