Monday, August 16, 2010

"Quality System Assessment (QSA)" - qualityg style

During these hard economic times it is critical that organizations (including educational institutions) take preventive measures to ensure that waste and non-value added activities are removed from their company (school system) before they let more people go to the unemployment lines.

I have been involved in many audits (Baldridge, ISO, Educational) that include large corporations and educational (school systems) and most of them have been a political joke. Have the time the auditors had no idea what they were doing and it came down to 1 or 2 people who made all the decisions regardless of data and information. Unfortunately, I have been on some of these type of teams and I was embarrassed to be associated with the group and the organization that conducts the audits.

The intent is good but like most plans they fall short because of political and monetary gain (by audit & company leaders) by those overseeing the audits to make sure they gain a long term commitment to keep the money, audits,recognition flags and patches coming.

Many managers/administrators have no idea what their people are doing in a full day. There are too many employees still making errors and their are still far too many consultants getting paid to come in and tell leadership what is already known within their own organizations.

Create your own internal Quality System Assessment. Use the following as a model:

Over the years I have created and developed a Quality Tool/Technique that I call "Quality System Assessment" (QSA). It was designed to be used for any industry (quality, business, education, government). The major design inputs were taken from the Deming Award, ISO 9000, Motorola, Malcom Baldridge and my own quality assessment experiences.

I have been certified and trained as a Baldridge Auditor and Judge (Michigan). ISO Auditor and Lead Auditor. Certified ASQ Manager & Auditor. Trained as a Lead Quality Advisor from Florida Power & Light (Deming Award Winners). Six Sigma Black Belt (AT&T). Attended numerous classes at Motorla University.

My hope in sharing this is for the reader to be able to have a model to create/design their own QSA that will help improve systems and processes within any organization.

I will post the Slides in a PowerPoint Presentation format.

Click on SLIDE To Enlarge & Print

Remember to Click PICS to Enlarge

Click Slides to Enlarge

It is my hope that you will be able to use my QSA Model to identify potential problems and improvements in your systems.

Soon I will provide some QSA analysis questions to help with the Assessment.

Updated 8/15/10 - go to

please let me know if the model proved useful to you or your organization.

Owned, Developed and Created by qualityg

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Brainstorming - I THINK NOT!

Process Improvement and Quality Consultants get upset when I talk bad about some of their tools and techniques used to generate ideas and solutions on how to identify root cause and suggest solutions.

Today the subject is “Brainstorming,” and why it is not worth your time and effort.

I read the following headline today in the Detroit Free Press:

“Hundreds of people concerned about the ailing state economy came to the University of Michigan on Tuesday to brainstorm ideas on how to increase Michigan's role in the global economic environment.” (qg says ...why then do we have a department in Lansing that is supposed to know how to increase and improve our state economy - if they can't ---> get rid of them).

First let me provide a definition that is usually found in many quality and process improvement training books about Brainstorming.

Most problems are not solved automatically by the first idea that comes to mind. To get to the best solution it is important to consider many possible solutions. One of the best ways to do this is called brainstorming. Brainstorming is the act of defining a problem or idea and coming up anything related to the topic - no matter how remote a suggestion may sound. All of these ideas are recorded and evaluated only after the brainstorming is completed.

It is a means of aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.

  1. In a small or large group select a leader and a recorder (they may be the same person).
  2. Define the problem or idea to be brainstormed. Make sure everyone is clear on the topic being explored.
  3. Set up the rules for the session. They should include:
    * Letting the leader have control.
    * Allowing everyone to contribute.
    * Ensuring that no one will insult, demean, or evaluate another participant or her response.
    * Stating that no answer is wrong.
    * Recording each answer unless it is a repeat.
    * Setting a time limit and stopping when that time is up.
  4. Start the brainstorming. Have the leader select members of the group to share their answers. The recorder should write down all responses, if possible so everyone can see them. Make sure not to evaluate or criticize any answers until done brainstorming.
  5. Once you have finished brainstorming, go through the results and begin evaluating the responses. Some initial qualities to look for when examining the responses include:
    * Looking for any answers that are repeated or similar.
    * Grouping like concepts together.
    * Eliminating responses that definitely do not fit.
    * Now that you have narrowed your list down some, discuss the remaining responses as a group.

Brainstorming has many applications but it is most frequently used in:
Problem Solving - issues, root causes, alternative solutions, impact analysis, evaluation
Process Management - finding ways of improving business and production processes
Project Management - identifying client objectives, risks, deliverables, work packages, resources, roles and responsibilities, tasks, issues
Team Building - generates sharing and discussion of ideas while stimulating participants to think

qualityg says … If your PI Consultants or Management Team have no idea on how to capture problems or generate sound solutions then you are in big time trouble. Using subjective ideas and information (Brainstorming) for possible solutions is WRONG and more than likely will result in “Tampering (special vs. common cause)” and “Sub-Optimizing your processes/systems.

Forget about the feel good of giving all employees a chance to participate in decision-making. You better be gathering/monitoring your processes to tell you where problems are located with objective data and information (including subject-matter experts).

Look again at the steps above, do you really want to waste time, resources and dollars making suggestions that may or may not have any value to your current situation. Once the team generates these probable ideas/solutions then they go out and try to collect data to justify their conclusions.

How stupid is that? Sounds to me your Consultant and Management Team have no idea what they are doing, and that does not surprise me!