Census 2016 Case Study Part 6

Strategic Management

This is a case study of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 online census project as a portrait of complete management failure by government, the ABS, and its principal contractor, IBM. The case study is split over several pages because of its length. The table of contents below offers quick navigation to the various sections. Scroll down to read the contents of this section.

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Census 2016 Case Study Part 7

Conclusions | References

This is a case study of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 online census project as a portrait of complete management failure by government, the ABS, and its principal contractor, IBM. The case study is split over several pages because of its length. The table of contents below offers quick navigation to the various sections. Scroll down to read the contents of this section.

Continue reading “Census 2016 Case Study Part 7”

Process cycle management everywhere

What do all contemporary cyclical process management theories have in common? OK, so I better define what cyclical process management theories are: all those management theories that have a lifecycle, like business process management, project management, software or systems development (and all the ones I can’t think of right now).

Oh, and the answer to the nerd riddle is: Francis Bacon, Walter Shewhart, and William Denning.

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A short history of process management and quality control

A backgrounder illuminating modern management techniques, including agile methods, business process management, continuous improvement cycles, and other methods employing iterative development sequences.

Peter Strempel on the history of process management

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Six Sigma mutant ninja turtles?

The first time I came across a mature adult calling himself a six sigma black belt I was left feeling slightly bemused, and compelled to ask: ‘Does that mean you’re the sixth mutant ninja turtle?’

You might imagine that the black belter was not at all amused. And yet he found it difficult to articulate what he meant by the terminology.

So here’s a little overview of the concepts that underlie the somewhat juvenile nomenclature.

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Managing fear of change

fear-of-change

Change management is a big field, and it sounds scary because it says ‘management’, which is what managers do, right?

The reality is that if only managers manage change, that change will always fall short, or fail entirely.

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Teamwork CPR

Teamwork-CPR

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about teamwork and building effective teams, as if you can do this in the same way as colouring in by the numbers. If you watch artists at work, there’s no magic formula. They have to look and judge constantly to get the colours and shades just the way they want them, and they have to constantly learn from what doesn’t work to create new skills and techniques.

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Innovation without delusions

Paul Klee: Ancient Sound.
Paul Klee (1879-1940): Ancient Sound, 1925. Klee was a musician whose creativity led him to ‘see’ sound. A kind of thinking often missing from innovation efforts.

If I told you that contemporary ideas about innovation and disruption were driven mostly by ideology, ignorance, and marketing hype, would that seem controversial or extreme?

If my proposition were true, though, would it change the way you think about innovation?

It changed for me. I came to my conclusions over the Christmas-New year break, when my reading list contained an unusually dense stack of essays and articles about innovation. The common features were about undefined buzzwords, and formulaic models that avoided coming to grips with innovation, often missing even of a workable definition.

So let’s start there.

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Dehumanising BPM: a strategic mistake

empathy-illo-900px

Business process management (BPM) is looked on by many organisations as the most effective way to gain control of bloated legacy processes, to realise dollar efficiencies, and as a way to innovate and even disrupt.

This can all be true. But like most other efficiency efforts it can and does frequently fail before it begins, through bad planning. Planning should be recognised as a creative, intellectual exercise. If it is only technique and method, even stellar performance in business analysis, project management, and execution can be an uphill battle.

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Ontological closure

ontological-closure

Online discussion is today what the original neckbeards made it centuries ago. If neckbeard can be accepted as a derisory term for a youngish man who is socially awkward, physically unappealing-to-repulsive (because of hygiene habits more than physique), and personally obsessed with nerdery emanating from computing and escapist cultural fads, then the progenitor of that species must surely be a monk of the Dark Ages. Obsessed with scholastic but pointless logical debates about smartarse new ways to win the argument that god exists, must exist, and is better than your own shitty conception of a deity. A scholasticism that encapsulates almost all online arguments, because these are overwhelmingly not about discovering something new, rather than establishing the ‘correctness’ of each neckbeard participant.

That thought, coming at the end of a train of thought described below, offers me a deliciously funny imagined visualisation of half-pissed, fat, unwashed, and unruly monks burbling bullshit over rough wooden refectory tables laden with more wine than food. Something from a Monty Python sketch.

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