Mary Poppendieck on the Lean Development mailing list writes:
The difference between a planned and a market economy is rooted in two different management philosophies:
- Management-as-planning/adhering focuses on creating a plan that becomes a blueprint for action, then managing implementation by measuring adherence to the plan.
- Management-as-organizing/learning focuses on organizing work so that intelligent agents know what to do by looking at the work itself, and improve upon their implementation through a learning process.
and links to Laurie Koskela and Greg Howell's article at: http://www.cpgec.ufrgs.br/norie/iglc10/papers/47-Koskela&Howell.pdf.
I've recently read two books on project management:
- David A. Schmaltz's book The Blind Men and the Elephant: Mastering Project Work
- Eliyahu M. Goldratt's book The Goal: a Process of Ongoing Improvement (a business novel written with Jeff Cox).
David Schmaltz makes a point in his book that a plan or organization done by one person or group will not be self-evident to another person or group. With that in mind, The Goal was somewhat frustrating, because the main character, who is changing the way his factory works, isn't involving the people on the factory floor in designing his process changes (he is involving other managers). In fact, of the few factory-floor union workers depicted in the novel, all but one of them are depicted as stupidly getting in the way of the process changes. I suppose one man against the world makes for some drama in a novel, but doesn't work that well in real life.
Goldratt writes in the after-word of The Goal that major obstacles of process improvement discovered by his readers were:
- Lack of ability to propagate the message throughout the company.
- Lack of ability to translate what they learned from the book into workable procedures for their plant
- Lack of ability to persuade decision makers to allow the change of some of the measurements
I also found The Goal frustrating because he made no mention of Deming, whose collaborative techniques for process improvement were proven "long ago" in Japan, and predated Goldratt's techniques.