Applied Concept Mapping: Capturing, Analyzing, and Organizing Knowledge
Brian Moon, Robert Hoffman, Joseph Novak and Alberto Cañas, CRC Press, 2011, 380 pp., $59.95 (book).
This book is about concept discovery and management, the internet and a tool to integrate it all. This allows for concept mapping with a low ceiling and a high threshold.
Concept mapping implementation was initiated in corporations around 20 years ago. Novak, the main developer of concept mapping, was invited by Proctor and Gamble in 1993 to present his ideas in the context of an initiative looking for total quality management tools. This resulted in innovative work done by its R&D department, as described in chapter one. Other chapters include applications to ecological management, product design, corporate education and organizational learning at the local and national level.
The book is the joint work of 37 authors organized in three sections:
- Practitioner’s view.
- Recent case studies and results.
- Pushing the boundaries.
This book provides an effective introduction to concept mapping, which is today even more relevant than it was when it was first introduced. The book is well-integrated with a combination of abstract concepts and real-life examples making it accessible to newcomers and of interest to experienced concept mappers. I highly recommended it to practitioners, researchers and educators interested in this topic.
Quit Feeding the Monsters
J. Kevin Cobb, Two Harbors Press, 2011, 154 pp., $15.95 (book).
This is a short, straightforward book that helps identify some of the "monsters" we encounter in our daily lives. These are the monsters that destroy our motivation or just plain frustrate us as we try to move forward. The intent of the book is to provide guidance on how to starve the monsters, meaning we no longer need to contend with the issues or results brought about by their actions.
Each monster is showcased in an anecdote from Cobb’s experience by recounting its general characteristics or mode of operation. Suggestions are then made on how to deprive it of future nourishment. Sometimes his corrective actions worked, and sometimes they didn’t—that’s the way of the real world. But the loss of a single battle shouldn’t end the war in most cases.
Readers who are looking for a simple way to see where problems exist or a prescription for how to make improvements will not be satisfied with this book. People who benefit from teaching by storytelling will enjoy this book and get the most from its commentary.
The types of problems that are illustrated are the softer, more subtle people issues that aren’t usually discovered by data analysis or traditional quality tools.
Monsters can affect quality in the workplace. Fortunately, the remedies are not difficult or expensive; they just take discipline, will and perseverance to implement.
Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals Inc.
Sustainable Business & Industry: Designing and Operating for Social and Environmental Responsibility
Joseph Jacobsen, Quality Press, 2011, 216 pp., $50 member, $85 list (book).
Social responsibility has become a topic of growing importance and interest with the release of the standard ISO 26000. This book is timely and provides insights for those who want to find more on this topic or who have been tasked with its management in their organization.
Jacobsen discusses a broad range of social responsibility and environmental management issues. He sets the stage by addressing historical context, global warming, ecological footprints and the meaning of sustainability itself. He briefly discusses the connections to quality, such as the teachings of W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran, as well as, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 26000 and lean. Project management, measurement, plant operations and a sustainable economy are all discussed in detail.
The book includes an appendix with an outline of the fundamentals of statistics and a useful survey instrument. These support materials help even those with a limited science or engineering background gain better insight into the topics addressed in the text.
The book provides an engaging, value-added website link to a lecture on each chapter and appendix. And by contacting the author or ASQ, readers can obtain tests for each of the book’s chapters, which are ideal for classes and courses.
Business Excellence Consulting
Project Management for Healthcare Information Technology
Scott Coplan and David Masuda, McGraw-Hill, 2011, 288 pp., $70 (book).
This book takes the synergy that exists among project management, IT and change management disciplines, and shows how they can be used to manage the crisis associated with access to cost-effective and quality healthcare. The introductory chapter highlights several current strategic and operational challenges healthcare delivery organizations face. It then discusses how the application of the book’s method will increase the rate of success for healthcare IT-based projects, which can help end the healthcare crisis.
In chapter 2, Coplan and Masuda briefly describe and define various components within each of the three disciplines and their relationship to project management process groups that occur during the project lifecycle.
In the remaining chapters, each discipline is explored in detail in terms of their respective knowledge areas, supporting processes and analysis of the outputs from each process as they occur within the five project management process groups.
Each chapter includes testimonials from healthcare IT project leaders on the important role the proposed integrated approach played in the success of their projects. These testimonials and the lessons learned shared by these individuals are critical components of the book.
The authors have done a great job of introducing the materials in a concise and organized manner. I considered the supplemental information—a companion website, a syllabus for instructors and a PowerPoint presentation—to be highly valuable. The only thing missing was the authors’ final words of wisdom and recommendations on the implementation of the integrated system.
Six Sigma Green Belt, Round 2
Tracy C. Owens, ASQ Quality Press, 2011, 160 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book).
Six Sigma for Sustainability
Tom McCarty, Michael Jordan and Daniel Probst, McGraw-Hill, 2011, 304 pp., $50 (book).
Lean Six Sigma for the
Sandra Furterer, CRC Press, 2011. 331 pp., $79.95 (book).