Thursday, February 13, 2003

I swear one day I'll write a book on bad management. Here's a hypothetical fable. There is a project: difficult specification, difficult customer who insists (why?) on adhering exactly to specification and adding in facts which were assumptions when the drawings were originally constructed, all sorts of patriotic politics, deadlines far too close for comfort.One strategy for management could be to throw all the available resources at it, remembering, in case people felt isolated or deprived of their usual comfortable jobs, to ensure that this as done in addition to normal routine. If this was an exam question, or even a case study, two questions would be asked immediately. First would be whether these people were given a briefing, an overview, even a "Hi, welcome to the project". The second would be to consider how transferable people's skills were in that particular company.

Of course, the empowered worker would take this as a warning to ensure that transferable skills were as flexible as they are supposed to be and learn on the job, effortlessly absorbing all this alien knowledge. Not so empowered workers will wander round, like blind mice, hoping that the farmer's wife's knife will hit some other poor mouse. Here endeth the fable.

Question: does being in a national quality organisation have a direct impact on work of the quality department? I went to a talk recently - more of a question and answer, I suppose - from one of the Institute of Quality Assurance Operations directors. It was very interesting. But it left me wondering just what I get out of being a member? And, next year, when I'm no longer a student and the annual subscription will rise sharply, will I rejoin? At present, the answer isn't an automatic positive. This makes me very sad.

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