The Six Disciplines blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to our new home. If that does not occur, please visit:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Business Improvement Methods Under Fire

From Fast Company's blog, with a reference to a Wall Street Journal article. (Subscription required to access Wall Street Journal articles.)

The world of work has seen its share of business improvement movements.

Some, like reengineering, have been seriously revisited -- and criticized.

Others, like Six Sigma, have neared sacred cow status.

Now, quality-improvement programs such as TQM, ISO 9000, and even Six Sigma, are coming under fire -- or at least heavy questioning.

"Managers have stretched the techniques, by applying them too broadly to more creative areas such as research and new-product development. And some companies are rethinking the way they use the systems."

Among the charges: Process management can help routine tasks more effective and efficient, but fall short for new projects -- and innovation. It can force people to focus on optimizing older technologies rather than seeking to keep up with new tools and techniques. And such efforts don't meet the needs of projects and processes that aren't as easily measured.

BOTTOMLINE: Business improvement methods need to be systematic, repeatable, and measurable, supported by technologies that make the methods practical, and need to have a coach/champion/consultant to keep the business process improvement method on track over time. It's what strategy-driven execution is all about.

No comments: