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Mike McBride

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The Spirit of the Archetype

I have never personally sewn, but I’ve heard that one of the most difficult aspects of sewing is deciphering the pattern and following its directions. I learned this, and many more important lessons, from observing my mother, who made dresses for my sister when I was a child. Looking back, whoever created these patterns for…

Statisticism

After an extended holiday from the blog and from work in general, I have to say I’m glad to be back. I hope everyone out there in isixsigma land enjoyed the season as much as I did. I started a project in the U.K. this week. I’m fascinated by the differences in culture one finds…

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Ants Marching

I was up late practicing one of my favorite hobbies, web surfing, and after a chain of clicks on tonight’s topic of interest, optimization, I stumbled upon something I thought I’d share. I’ve been a practitioner/advocate of simulation for some time now and recently I’ve decided to educate myself beyond what the typical software packages…

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Organizational Maturity II, a Little Research

Okay, time to pick up where I left off last month. You may or may not remember my post about assessing organizational maturity in order to discern the appropriate scope and/or starting point for continuous improvement efforts so I’ll refresh your memory with a quote from the post: “Our target end state for an organization…

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Organizational Maturity

Gauging organizational maturity is one of the most critical tasks undertaken prior to the implementation of Lean / Six Sigma. Not only is it important relative to determining where to start, it’s also an indicator of how much of a cultural shift will be required to make sure the methodology sticks. The U.S. military seems…

Balance

Balance is one of those tricky concepts which appears on the surface quite simple yet is often deceptively difficult to grasp. In its more common forms, like standing up and walking about, we never give it a second thought. There are scant few of us however who would conclude that because we can walk we’re…

DBR andamp; Six Sigma

Having worked a couple of projects combining Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints over the past year or so, I’ve often been asked how these methodologies work together.This is still a point of great debate amongst the hardliners but generally I find most practitioners are open to learning and applying tools that improve business…

Navigating Cape Disappointment

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, is the largest Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest Coast of the United States. This area is regarded as one of the most treacherous river bars in the world and because of the large number of shipwrecks near the…

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CCPM and Lean / Six Sigma

Over the past year or so I’ve had occasion to work several Lean projects in conjunction with the implementation of Critical Chain Project Management. One project has been a huge success and the other was a bit of a goat rodeo which ultimately had the plug pulled on it before any real progress was made….

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Lean in Any Language

Hi All, Sorry for the long delay since my last post. I’ve been neck deep in my project out in California and it seems every time I sat down to write, something else came up. Anyway, this project has been a real eye-opener. Essentially, I’ve been leading the transformation of an old school batch &…

The One Best Way – Book Review

I started reading “The One Best Way: Fredrick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency” a week or so ago and I’m enjoying it so much I thought I’d do a quick write up for those who might be interested. Tayor is judged rather harshly in some circles today but that didn’t quell my desire…

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Constancy of Purpose

I’m sure most anyone reading this blog is familiar with Deming’s 14 points. I recall studying them when I first started my Six Sigma journey and though they all have their place, one keeps coming back to me over and over again: Constancy of Purpose. When I first read this one I felt a bit…

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It’s a People Thing

Today, more than most others, I’m convinced that a large majorityof ourSix Sigma brotherhood/sisterhood just don’t get that continuous improvement is a people thing. Sure, the technical stuff is important but what good is reciting a formula from memory if you can’t get the people in the operation or the executives in the board room…

Shop Floorisms

I’m a word person. You know the type, always evaluating the way ideas are conveyed through language. I’m not the obnoxious type of word person in that I don’t see it as my mission to correct the speech of others but I do enjoy learning the lingo of the particular shop or officein which I’m…

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Elephants on the 5

I was driving down the 5 in Los Angeles yesterday on my way back to the hotel and, as I’ve discovered is often the case when one’s pace is a blistering 3 M.P.H., my mind began to wander a bit. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’re probably saying to yourself “great, he’s…

For Want of a Nail

My lovely wife was surfing the web this evening and she stumbled across this loose quotation from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richards Almanac”: For want of a nail a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse a rider was lost, for want of a rider an…

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Know Thyself

Some recent conversations with BBs and MBBs from other companies has given me pause regarding the leadership issue as it relates to Six Sigma. The frustration I hear from others, which I’ve also experienced, relates to the lack of continuity between word and deed. Not that it’s necessarily intentional, I mean surely executives don’t intend…

Don’t Bury the Past

In the 4th century, the Roman emperor Constantine built the Hippodrome in what is now Istanbul, Turkey. The Hippodrome was the Daytona Super Speedway of chariot racing. An amazing example of architectural genius, the Hippodrome had 1/4 mile straight-aways andheld over 100 thousand spectators. Believe it or not, the facility even had luxury boxes and…

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17th Century Change Management

I was recently reading a book on John Locke (1632-1704), a British philosopher considered by many to be the primary intellectual inspiration of Thomas Jefferson. I thought I’d share what he had to say about new ideas and achieving agreement because the parallels to modern change management are uncanny considering this was written over 300…

MNMS – Mind Numbing Meeting Syndrome

Have you ever been sitting in a meeting listening to a discussion on a topic and wondered if you were in some sort of parallel universe where real issues are always subordinate to the trifling matters of the moment? Or maybe sat through a strategy session which ultimately added no value because of turf struggles…

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How Do You Say “Moonwalk” in Latin?

Philosophy has been my passion since I completed an undergraduate degree in the subject 15 years ago. Thankfully I had other skills so I was able to avoid the “do you want to super-size that value meal” world many humanities majors nervously joke about as graduation approaches, but I didn’t have much of a plan…