Instant pudding may make a great snack, but it’s a terrible approach to managing quality and productivity in business. Unlike the average domestic kitchen, there are very few things that you can simply whip together in the business world.
Overview: What is instant pudding?
In the context of business and process management, the term “instant pudding” refers to the common belief that improvements can be achieved quickly through hype and props rather than substantial, data-driven methodology. The term was popularized by W. Edwards Deming and originated in the book Out of the Crisis by James Bakken of Ford Motor Co.
3 drawbacks of instant pudding
The instant pudding approach is unproductive and insubstantial in general, but there are a few drawbacks that are particularly noteworthy.
1. No commitment to change
2. Dropping the data
3. Communication confusion
Why is instant pudding important to understand?
Practicing good habits and avoiding negative ones are two sides of the same coin, which is why successful business leaders need to be well-versed in what does and doesn’t work.
Recognizing the right hype
Bracing for impact
An industry example of instant pudding
A large retail store sees high volume of customers and sales on a regular basis, which has fueled growth and expansion. However, there is also a growing number of complaints of poor customer service from various angles.
The business leaders recognize the problem and express a desire to address it. After cursory meetings and discussions with staff, they decide to change the layout of the customer service desk, improve the aesthetic and add a few greeters to make the shopping experience more personal.
While none of these things are bad on their own, they are also not addressing the root problems of poor customer service, which requires careful research and experimentation. This short-term and superficial approach is a basic example of an instant pudding in process management.
3 best practices when thinking about instant pudding
The best way to handle an instant pudding situation is to step back, pivot to a DMAIC model and start again.
1. Push towards real goals
2. Set project parameters
3. Calculation over convenience
Instant pudding is all about convenience, calculations are not. Unfortunately, business and process management requires a lot more calculation than affirmation. Don’t cut corners for the sake of convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about instant pudding
What are common signs of an instant pudding in business?
How do you add substance to an instant pudding solution?
How do you discuss the instant pudding problem with other people?
The proof is in the pudding
Instant pudding can take many forms in business. It could just be empty words or perhaps a clumsy copy of someone else’s solution. There’s no substitute for real and fresh ingredients in the “process pudding,” which is why business leaders need to stay focused, anchored and real.