Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Total Quality Management - Effective meetings and teamwork

What is it?

The process of conducting meetings successfully to ensure effective teamwork, quality decision making, enhanced communication, improved morale and optimum efficiency.

When to use it

Quality Improvement Project Leaders should use this as an Aide Memoir to assist them in planning and running team meetings, and also to review and improve their meeting leadership skills.

Quality Improvement Team Members should use it to help them make the most effective contribution to their team meetings, and to get the most out of and help improve them.

All Managers and Staff who attend other business meetings should use the guide to help them make all their meetings Quality events.

What does it achieve?

Meetings are an essential part of business life. When you add up how much time you actually spend in meetings, you may surprise yourself: middle managers typically spend 35% of their working week in meetings; for top managers the figure is often in excess of 50%. So, if you are to maximise your managerial effectiveness, it is essential that you get the best out of meetings that you attend. However, for many people, meetings are seen as a Necessary Evil. You will have heard them say "Not another meeting!" "Meetings are just a waste of time", and so on. Think about the impact that a bad meeting has on the organisation.

Suggested Ground Rules

Always agree some simple ground rules with the meeting participants before the meeting proper starts. They make everyone conscious of the need for appropriate meetings behavior, and allow everyone to make a contribution to keeping the meeting on track by flagging infringements. Using agreed ground rules helps this to be done in a constructive way without becoming personal or emotional.

They also provide a means for a group to help the leader of the meeting by flagging unproductive or otherwise ineffective leadership behaviors that infringe the 'rules'. Here are some ideas to draw on; develop your own too:
  • Keep to time.
  • Be candid and honest.
  • Only one person to speak at a time.
  • Strive for consensus decisions.
  • Listen.
  • Share responsibility for achieving the objectives of the meeting.
  • Minimal paperwork; maximum face to face presentation.
  • Critique not criticise.
  • Avoid turning other meetings into problem solving sessions.
  • Review achievements and process at the end of each meeting.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Total Quality Management - Completed Staff Work

What is it?

Completed staffwork is the total analysis and preparation of a task, opportunity, or problem by a person/team so that after their presentation of the solution all that remains to be done by the next level of management is to agree the action/solution proposed.

When to use it

  • When quality improvement teams, or individuals are collecting data, preparing reports, or presentation.
  • When making a case for resources.
  • Staff-work, preparing and follow-up for Quality Council
  • To professionally manage the staff-work for board meetings, committees and other meetings.

What does it achieve?

Completed staff-work is designed to help managers and staff carry out their work effectively and efficiently. Completed staff-work can be used in producing written and verbal reports or presentations, establishing a new procedure or process, the evaluation of costs and benefits, initiating action and in the decision making process. Once learned the principle of Completed Staffwork can be usefully applied to any activity.

Key steps

  • Be clear on what you are about to do.
  • Are you addressing the right person?
  • Consultation with those directly involved and indirectly involved.
  • Are you communication in the right way?
  • Make actionable points clear.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Keep your boss and anyone else involved informed.
  • Follow up agreed action points.
  • Meeting customer requirements.
  • Review the statement of requirements frequently.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Total Quality Management - Department purpose analysis

What is it?
 Department purpose analysis (DPA) is a process for applying the concepts and principles of management in a practical way. It is designed to ensure that a department, team or group is achieving goals that contribute to the company's strategy and overall goals, and that the department's activities add value. A key step in the process is a clear focus on agreeing, measuring and meeting customer (internal and external) requirements.

When to use it?

  •  As part of an ongoing improvement plan 
  • Where there is confusion over roles, responsibilities or purpose 
  • To highlight opportunities for improvement 
  • To identify staffing requirements 
  • When considering organisational changes so that roles and customer/supplier requirements are clearly understood 
What does it achieve?
DPA takes management concepts and principles and allows them to be applied in the work environment. The key ones are:

  • Role/goal clarity 
  • Meeting customer/supplier requirements 
  • Clear performance standards (no 'license to fail') 
  • Appropriate measurement 
  • Focus on failure so that improvement opportunities are identified and actioned 
  • Building in prevention of problems 
  • Value-added job for all 
  • Continuous improvement 

Key steps

 DPA is a five-step process, the objective is to ensure that a department 'Does it right first time'

Step 1 - key activity statement

  • List department key skills 
  • Identify and agree departments top ten activities 
 Step 2 – Purpose and goals

  •  Identify company/group function, mission and strategies 
  • Check that operations match organization, mission, goals and priorities 
  • Check that management agrees 
 Step 3 – Customer and supplier review

  •  Identify and talk to your customers and suppliers 
  • Identify and agree requirements 
  • Agree measurements 
 Step 4 – Time and skills analysis

  •  Capture information on current activities 
  • Track time and resource spent 
  • Identify value-added activities 
  • Focus on failure and identify opportunities for improvement 
 Step 5 – Action plan

  •  Check value-added activities against mission, goals, priorities and customer/supplier requirements 
  • Prioritise improvement opportunities and identify project(s) 
  • Implement project(s) using 5 stage project approach 
  • Identify and display key measurements 
  • Review and monitor progress 


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Total Quality Management - The cost of poor quality

What is it?
The cost of poor quality is a technique that has been developed to identify the need and opportunities for quality improvements in a language we all understand ... money.

When to use it

The cost of poor quality indicates 'how it is today' and in particular it can be used:

To size problems and focus attention for need for improvement:
  • As a useful tool in Step 1 of the Problem Solving Process
  • As an output from step 4 of Department Purpose Analysis
  • As a source of improvement/project opportunities

What does it achieve?

The immediate benefits of conducting a cost of poor quality exercise will be:
  • A greater degree of awareness of quality problems
  • The association of day to day failure with costs and in consequence a desire to improve
  • The identification of improvement opportunities
  • To give manages a new set of 'mental tools' and perspective to get underneath the realities of their operations


Basic work - is as it suggests, the essential/unavoidable activities required to do a job of work.

Prevention - is any activity aimed at preventing getting things wrong ... eg. training, planning and analysis data for improvement purposes.

Appraisal - is checking that the requirements have been met, for example, such as verification, inspection and audit..

Failure - is any activity created as a result of not meeting the requirements first time ... eg. scrap, correcting, customer complaints, lost opportunities and exceeding requirements

The cost of poor quality = appraisal costs + failure costs.

Sunday, 1 July 2012