Sunil Kumar V. Kaushik, ASQ Quality Press, 2018, 252 pp., $30 member, $50 list (book).
This book is a unique combination of experience gathered in a low-cost bicycle tour that lasted 500 days and an introduction to TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem-solving originating in Russia in the late 1950s. The focus of the book is on non-manufacturing applications that cover process, project, function, product, service, people, method, idea, program and portfolio.
Chapters four and five are about TRIZ principles and the contradiction matrix. Chapters six and seven describe idea generation and system evolution. The book covers classic quality tools such as failure mode and effects analysis, and quality function deployment in the TRIZ context. It also emphasizes the importance of standardization, another basic quality concept.
Overall, the book does not provide new material or methods. The juxtaposition of the bicycle trip experience with TRIZ concepts provides interesting insights. Two issues are quite apparent: the book does not refer to the current availability of big data and pattern recognition technologies, which wasn't available to Genrich Altshuller, the TRIZ originator. It also does not mention the current wave of Industry 4.0 that is being migrated to non-manufacturing domains, such as Health 4.0.
In brief, the book is accessible and readable. The personal experience of the author reflected in the examples is interesting. However, the book is not a state-of-the-art account of the challenges and modern-day potential of TRIZ.
Ron S. Kenett
The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done
Stephen Denning, Amacom, 2018, 336 pp., $28 (book).
Today’s economy must have a radical retooling to be as innovative as it is efficient. Four new management concepts are vital to achieving this goal: transparency, competence, localization and upside. This book explores how some organizations are using agile management and learning to operate in ways that are better for those doing the work, society and the organization in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environment.
The author’s objective is to draw attention to the available body of knowledge (BoK) concerning operating organizations more productively. Along the way, Denning offers practical, financial, legal, economic, moral, political and philosophical critiques of current management practices and strategies by highlighting the advantages of agile management.
The first part of this book covers the principles of agile management: the law of small teams, the law of the customer and the law of the network. The second part explores key constraints to implementing agile management. There are four traps: focusing on maximizing shareholder value, manipulating firms’ share price through share buy-back, cost-oriented economies directed toward short-term profit, and backward-looking strategy. The epilogue explores four centuries of management paradigm shifts and leadership implications for the future to help put this information in context.
Agile management is about working smarter, not accomplishing more work in a shorter time. It is not a technology solution (digitization), but an approach to operating an organization. Agile is a mindset, not a set of tools and processes.
Each chapter has summary boxes that recap the most important points of the chapter including extensive notes, citations and amplification. A complete index is available for quick searching. This book provides a solid introduction to agile management and what is needed to get started in its implementation.
Marc A. Feldman
Mark Allen Durivage, editor, ASQ Quality Press, 2017, 360 pp., $89 member, $135 list (book, third edition).
This handbook is a classic reference text for the reliability engineering BoK. It provides a great introduction and detailed reliability subject matter, allowing readers to understand and apply knowledge in any environment. The book is well written and sequenced in a way that follows the ASQ certified reliability engineer (CRE) BoK. This organization can lead to some repetition in material but makes this text useful when preparing for the ASQ CRE exam.
The subjects are developed in detail where needed, with multiple figures and examples. Each chapter and section have a BoK text box describing the subject matter covered. In addition, there are key concept summary boxes in specific subject areas. The book is broken down into parts-chapters-subject. Part one addresses reliability fundamentals and includes chapters on leadership and reliability foundations. Part two addresses risk management, with chapters on identification, analysis and mitigation. Part three addresses probability and statistics, with chapters on concepts and data management. Part four addresses reliability planning, testing and modeling, with chapters in each subject area. Part five addresses reliability life cycle including design, parts and systems, and maintainability. The book includes multiple appendixes, a glossary, references and an index, making it an excellent reference text.
The reliability subject matter included in this book provides a solid introduction to reliability and is a great launching point to more detailed learning. Beyond reliability, this book is an excellent resource for anyone engaged in process and product improvement, or problem solving. This book also would make an excellent text in any educational or training environment where reliability is the core subject area.
The Lean Healthcare Handbook: A Complete Guide to Creating Healthcare Workplaces That Maximize Flow and Minimize Waste
Thomas Pyzdek, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017, 260 pp., $59.95 (book).
As the small print on the cover indicates, this is a complete guide. After a short introduction to lean vs. waste (muda), the author devotes each chapter to a new technique or integrating the previous techniques into operational processes. Many of the techniques are new applications of quality methods (continuous improvement and process mapping), and some are new ideas for eliminating waste or streamlining processes (spaghetti diagrams).
The focus of the first eight chapters is on specifics of a hospital or healthcare organization, and interesting tips on reorganization and streamlining. For example, the discussion of how to create fast work changeover in chapter eight is a topic of several academic articles over the past three years. Efficient and effective hand-offs by medical staff can improve patient care and create better change control in the organization.
Chapter nine focuses on continuous improvement techniques with a less-healthcare driven approach. Included is a discussion of the usual quality improvement methods, as well as chapters stressing more graphical and charting techniques that are particularly valuable. The final chapters examine kaizen and includes some excellent templates for starting and evaluating lean healthcare in an organization.
This book is great for its comprehensiveness and multitude of techniques explained and illustrated for new adoptees of lean thinking. Great additions to the text would be definitions of the unfamiliar terms such as muda, mura, muri and jidoka. These are not included in the lexicon. An overview of the text in a preface, as well as listing the sections of the book in the table of contents, is another suggestion for improvement. Overall, this is a useful, hands-on way to learn about lean processes as applied to healthcare organizations.
I. Elaine Allen