Feb 24, 2014

Book Review: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality

This time I got my hands on the book The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality. I have to admit that I wasn't really excited to read the book. Demings thoughts have been coming up from so many different directions, that I wanted to give him a shot. I'm glad I did, his thoughts were marvelous.

This book isn't really a book and neither it is written by Deming. This book is a collection of Demings writings, personal notes and speeches from throughout his career. It goes through all the main thought Deming was talking about in his books and his teachings. It tells those in a bit shorter format, but I think it was enough for me.

The book goes quite far back to 1950's and 1960's in telling what has been the problems with companies back then. Strangely the problems haven't really changed that much from those years. Of course many aspects have changed, but the underlying problems are the same. Also many of the solution proposals hopefully suit to current organizations as well.

I mark to books pages I will come back later for reference or future investigation. From the books I've read this might have had most markings done by me. There were quite a few good thoughts and sentences that will come handy in the future.

I have to admit that Demings thought were not totally strange to me. I've read those from multiple sources beforehand, but this was the first time I read his own words. That might have helped me a bit on understanding this book. It's not difficult book to read, but it needs some thinking to understand.

It was an excellent book and I enjoyed it. Even though it's old, thoughts are valid and valuable. This is a book which many if not all the the people who care about their organizations improvement should read.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 18, 2014

Separate Testing is Waste

Thinking very Lean, testing is waste. Testing takes time and doesn't bring any value to the customer. Most of the it only provides information, that product works as expected. Only time testing brings value to the customer is when errors are found.

Testing is seen as an important activity. There is lot of focus on improving testing and the coverage of testing. More and more people are working testing products and creating test cases. These activities, do improve the product quality a bit, but it isn't really a way forward.

Testing is a wide subject, and I'm talking especially on the cases were testing and product creation are seen as separate activities. There might even be separate test teams and separate product teams. Product teams do test to some extend, but the main responsibilities are given to test team. This is the big problem of testing. Separate testing should only be about knowing the risk level of releasing, not about increasing the product quality.

The aim should be to decrease the amount of testing and increasing the the product quality during the product creation. In the long run, the thing that matters is the product creation quality, not testing quality. Of course some of the product creation quality comes from testing, but this is not separate testing, but assuring the quality while creating something.

I don't believe any organization can get rid of testing. Some amount of testing is always necessary to know the risk level of releasing. Amount of testing needed should be analyzed thinking the costs and effects of fault in product release. In some businesses fault could mean bankrupt, in others, few annoyed customers. This analysis should tell the amount and scope of needed separate testing.

Testing and product creation should work together to ensure quality of the product. Organizations need to learn to build good quality products from the start. Every error should be analyzed and corrective actions should be made. Unfortunately this is utopia in most of the companies. Errors found in testing are seen as normal way to ensure quality. In the long run this will start hurting organizations and cause more and more errors.

The only way forward, is for management to start taking errors seriously. Especially having an eye on why the errors have been introduced in the first place, not why the errors were not caught in testing. Blame is often put to testing, even though it's an activity that shouldn't be done separately at all.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 4, 2014

Book Review: The Story of Human Body by Daniel Lieberman

The Story of Human Body: Evolution, Heath and Disease by Daniel Lieberman was waiting for me in my bookshelf for a month. I really looked forward to this book. So much that I had to hurry with previous books, to get this started. It turned out to be an excellent book, just different way that I had imagined.

Daniel Lieberman is professor of biological sciences and the chair of department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. This gives him the credibility that is needed to write about evolution, which has many aspects that have to be guessed. Basically only bones, some tools and DNA we have left from old generations to study the evolution, but still there needs to be much speculation about behavior and other body parts to tell the full story. I believe in these days, Daniel Lieberman is the man who can make the best guesses.

I have to admit, that I looked forward to this book from few articles and videos from Daniel Lieberman about barefoot running. I guess I'm not the only one, since that's the part that made him famous to non-biologists. This book is so much more than barefoot running. From 350 pages, there's about 10 pages about barefoot running. When I realized that, I felt bit disappointed, but the book turned out to be full gold. It will definitely be one of those books that made me understand the world and myself much better in the future.

The book goes through the whole human evolution starting from the time bit earlier than we divided from the apes. It goes through all the sides of the story. It really digs deep on what happened and why it happened. Then the book walks from times before homo sapiens through hunter gatherers to farming and also to the cultural evolution what we are facing currently. It is a story all of us should know.

Then at final part of the book, it goes through why we are fat, why we are sick and why we die on cancer and heart diseases. It opened my eyes to really understand what we should be doing to keep healthy. I feel currently that this book changed my life forever, but of course I can't be sure.

Unfortunately book isn't easy to digest reading. It requires concentration and interest towards the topic. It is longish book, but it is full of excellent and important information. I recommend it to everyone. With some of the thoughts in this book, we could improve so many lifes. I am realistic and know that too few will ever read this. I'm so happy that I did.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen