Bryan Pflug's blog

Standardizing work and paying piecemeal

Standard work A major element of Lean production techniques is the adoption of standarded work instructions, which are implemented as detailed procedures for doing routine and regular work. The purpose of such standardized operations is to make the rules for performing work explicit, and through that means, to minimize and control variation in quality, cost, and throughput. As this variation is controlled, additional benefits are expected to accrue, such as reductions in defects, rework, and wasted materials.

Cultural resistance

Prophet with tablets being shot with arrowsSandra Kay Daniel is a middle-aged, second-grade teacher at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. She is at the front line of the No Child Left Behind program, an ambitious effort towards educational reform in primary and secondary education.

Nearly all of you have probably seen an excerpt of Sandra in an evening news show, or a popular movie. The book Super Crunchers chronicles one of Sandy's lessons, as she leads her class through a particular book:

Spinning the numbers

Spinning a topSpin is the process of selectively interpretting a situation in a biased way, in order to drive a particular agenda. When a particular data measurement value or trend is not well defined, in business or government, this can be particularly dangerous. This is because such spin drives decisions based upon one perception of the world, when in fact another reality may be actually occurring. For a particularly troubling example, consider this alternative view of the current economic situation. For another, consider the many financial institutions that maintained excellent credit ratings, despite large portfolios of Subprime lending.

The underlying elements which enable such spin are:

Architecting enduring solutions

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Figure 1

It is the mark of an educated man and proof of his culture that in every subject he looks for only so much precision as its nature permits.
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Architecture is used by a variety of disciplines to describe both a set of artifacts (representations of the architecture) and the actions and methods which produce these artifacts. As artifacts, architectures describe the structure of a system, how this structure creates or enhances desirable properties of that system, and how it evolves with time. As a body of practices, architecture strives to incorporate learning about product structures gained from experience acquired developing and operating similar systems. Architectures organize this knowledge so that it can be applied to similar problems as they arise in design and construction, on both current and future projects.

In the book Beautiful Architecture, Grady Booch describes the common multi-disciplinary threads which weave through all this meaning:

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