Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – May 2015

Welcome to May 2015 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

In our last episode of April 2015, while casting our net to search for articles for “Improving measures of measurement of process”, we came up with a mixed bag of results. That required us to take a more detailed look at different aspects measurement of measurement processes. For the present month, we would look at the first building block -‘performance measures and metrics – of the process of measurement.

Performance Metrics and Measures There is overlap between measures and metrics. Both can be qualitative or quantitative, but what distinguishes them is important. Measures are concrete, usually measure one thing, and are quantitative in nature (e.g. I have five apples). Metrics describe a quality and require a measurement baseline (I have five more apples than I did yesterday)… measures are useful for demonstrating workloads and activity, and metrics are useful for evaluating compliance, processes effectiveness, and measuring success against established objectives…. measures are useful for demonstrating workloads and activity, and metrics are useful for evaluating compliance, processes effectiveness, and measuring success against established objectives.

Measuring Process Performance presents Process Capability and Maturity Model, using metrics to improve performance.

Performance metric measures an organization’s activities and performance. A criticism of performance metrics is that when the value of information is computed using mathematical methods, it shows that even performance metrics professionals choose measures that have little value. This is referred to as the “measurement inversion“. For example, metrics seem to emphasize what organizations find immediately measurable — even if those are low value — and tend to ignore high value measurements simply because they seem harder to measure (whether they are or not).

Measurement InversionKey Performance Indicator (KPI) and Performance Measure Development – Performance Measures are developed for each of the Strategic Objectives. Leading and lagging measures are identified, expected targets and thresholds are established, and baseline and benchmarking data is developed.

Developing Performance Metrics – Performance metrics should be constructed to encourage performance improvement, effectiveness, efficiency, and appropriate levels of internal controls. They should incorporate “best practices” related to the performance being measured and cost/risk/benefit analysis, where appropriate.

Selecting Performance Measures/Metrics

Generally speaking, one of the biggest problems associated with continuous improvement and problem solving is the selection of the most appropriate performance measures or performance metrics….The dependent variables numerically describe the level of success or failure of an organization for a specific period of time, for example, one quarter of a fiscal year. …But how organizations achieve these levels of success or failure is of greater importance… The independent variables are direct measures of the processes that constitute the enterprise systems creating products and services that generate organizational income…Independent variables such as customer satisfaction indices, defect rates, and supplier capability indices provide this information. When these factors reflect well on an organization, their dependent variables are much more likely to reflect overall enterprise success… The most difficult question for most people is what performance measures or performance metrics to use for their system, their process, or their particular step or operation within a process.

Using Metrics to Improve Team Performance – Nathan Heins – Metrics enable clear communication of process goals and current status to all stakeholders… as a new process is implemented metrics confirm that change is working.. metrics provide leadership with insights into where attention and resources are required.

Measuring Success: Making the Most of Performance Metrics – Good metrics involve buy-in at all levels of the organization—not just from management but also from those whose activities are being measured. “Performance metrics are a way to keep your strategic planning activities honest,” says Justin LaChance, Senior Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis.

Lies, damn lies and metrics: Why metrics should be used sparingly to improve performanceMitchell Osak

CEOs looking to improve corporate performance without damaging employee engagement should heed the following lessons. They include: Metrics mask problems; Metrics create conflict; Managers become overly focused on metrics and not performance; Metrics lack credibility; Metrics can lead to unintended consequences; Know thyself; Less is more; Manage people not numbers

How to Use Metrics to Improve Performance describes a five-fold approach. Creating marketing metrics can help you deploy “big company” tactics in your small company…More importantly; it can help you make better decisions.

We will continue with present subject in some more definitive aspects in the next few episodes.

In the meanwhile, in the second part, we have Paulo Sampaio’s Blog, The Research Group on Quality and Organizational Excellence, from among the Influential Voices Blogroll Alumni. The Research Group on Quality and Organizational Excellence is a research group that develops work in the field of quality engineering and management and business excellence, inviting us to contribute to a ‘better world with Quality’.

We turn to our regular sections now:

Bill Troy, ASQ CEO has presented the three part blog series ‘A Leader’s Roadmap to a Culture of Quality: Building on Forbes Insights-ASQ Leadership Research’. Roy Lawton – author of the book Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality, Innovation and Speedproposes to provide the missing and necessary specifics for successful action. In the Part One last month, he spelt out how to successfully address point #1 – All employees must apply the four key elements of any strategy for building a quality culture.  (Page 8: Boeing’s Ken Shead). In Part Two , he spells out how to successfully address point #2 – CLOSELY UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS, on the road to cultural transformation and proposes to provide the missing and necessary specifics for successful action. (page 16: Intel’s Stan Miller and Rudy Hacker). Presently, in Part 3, Roy Lawton goes on to spell how to address #3, viz., Develop a formal quality policy, common language and leader behaviors as deployment mechanisms. (Pages 18-19, HP’s Rodney Donaville.)

Julia McIntosh, ASQ communications in her guest article, The Pros and Cons of Conferences, sets the stage to reflect on the value of conferences, networking, and professional meetings of all types. In her follow through April Roundup: The Case For Conferences, many of the ASQ Influential Voices bloggers shared their criteria for attending conferences, some wrote about memorable experiences at conferences they have attending, while others reflected on the concept of the conference itself.

We then move over to ASQ TV Episodes: You Deliver a Service– Whether you work in manufacturing, government, education, healthcare, or (of course) the service sector, you are called upon to deliver a service. This episode of ASQ TV explores ways to deliver excellence service. We also take a walk into surprising service quality, on the Lighter Side. Here an instance is investigated when exceptional service is offered, but the customer has no idea what is going on, which is known as The Carbonaro Effect. Here are 1 to 25 episodes of the show’s First Season.

Our ASQ’s Influential Voice for the month is – Guy Wallace

clip_image001Guy Wallace is known for his consulting work, writings and presentations on performance analysis and curriculum architecture in large organizations. He blogs about performance improvement, curriculum design, and development at Eppic Inc. (Enterprise Process Performance Improvement Consultancy, Inc.). We will take up just one post to gauge the content on the blog:

Learning to Live With Process Performance Gaps – “Sometimes it’s best to live with a Problem or to miss an Opportunity. Sometimes there are bigger fish to fry – elsewhere. Or – there aren’t enough resources to tackle that Issue – Problem/Opportunity – right now. Or ever.. But…Ya gotta do the math. Ya gotta map the process. Ya gotta frame the problem and/or opportunity…And ya gotta do those 3 things in the reverse order.”

I look forward to your active participation in enriching the blog carnival as we pursue our Improvement journey ………….


In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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