are here: Freetutes.com
Analysis and Design
The keys to effective data recording are a reverence for facts and knowing
how to look for them. You do not go into data collection with a preconceived notion
of the design of the final procedure. You let the facts tell you what shape the
procedure should take. But, you must be able to find facts and know how to record
them. This is done by breaking down the procedure into steps and listing them
in proper sequence, without leaving things out. The analyst keeps his or her attention
on the subject being charted, follows its flow, step by step, and is not distracted
by other subjects that could easily lead off onto tangents. The analyst becomes
immersed in the data collection, one flow at a time.
Record what is actually happening, not what should happen or could happen.
Record without a preference. Wash the wishes from your eyes and let the facts
speak for themselves. When later you have them neatly organized and present them
for study the facts will assert their authority as they tell their story.
The Authority of the Facts
There are two authority systems in every organization. One is a social authority
set up for the convenience of arranging people and desks and telephones, dividing
up the work and making decisions. The other authority system is reality itself.
Too often the former is revered and feared and attended to constantly, while the
latter is attended to when time permits.
Yet, whether we come to grips with the facts or not, they enforce themselves
with an unyielding will of steel. 'Reality is' - whether we are in touch with
it or not. And, it is indifferent to us. It is not hurt when we ignore it. It
is not pleased or flattered or thankful when we discover it. Reality simply does
not care, but it enforces its will continuously.
We are the ones who care. We care when reality rewards us. We care when reality
crushes us. The better we are able to organize our methods of work in harmony
with reality, the more we prosper. When we are unable to discover reality, or
deny reality we are hurt. Period!
So we enter into data collection with respect for reality. We demonstrate respect
for the people who are closest to reality. And, we do our best to carefully record
the unvarnished truth.
A person who has been doing a job for years will have an understanding of the
work that goes well beyond his or her ability to describe it. Don't expect operating
people to describe perfectly and don't credit yourself with hearing perfectly.
Sometimes it is a lot easier for a person to show you what he or she does than
to describe it. A demonstration may save a good deal of time. A person might be
able to show you how the task is done in minutes but could talk about it for hours.
Most people are able to speak more comfortably to a human being than to a machine.
Furthermore, a tape recorder doesn't capture what is seen. If you are going to
use a tape recorder, use it after you have left the interview site. It can help
you capture a lot of detail while it is fresh in your mind without causing the
employee to be ill at ease.
Level of Detail
As covered earlier while explaining the Description Pattern, you can gather
facts but not skill. If you attempt to gather enough information to redesign a
procedure without the help of experienced employees, your data collection will
be interminably delayed. For instance, if you are studying a procedure that crosses
five desks, and the five people who do the work each have five years of experience,
together they have a quarter of a century of first-hand experience. There is no
way to match that experience by interviewing. No matter how many times you go
back, there will still be new things coming up. Then, if you redesign the procedure
based solely on your scanty information, your results will be deficient in the
eyes of these more experienced people. It doesn't do any good to complain that
they didn't tell you about that after you have designed a defective procedure.
Save yourself a lot of time and grief by not bothering to record the details
of the individual steps and concentrate on the flow of the work. It goes here.
They do this. It sits. It is copied. This part goes there. That one goes to them.
Never mind the detail of how they do the different steps. Just note the steps
in their proper sequence. Then, when it comes time to analyze and you invite in
those five people, they bring with them their twenty-five years of detailed experience.
Voila! You have the big picture and you have the detail. You have all that you
need to discover the opportunities that are there.
When people who have been doing work for years are ignored while their work
is being improved, there is a clear statement that their experience is not considered
of value. These people tend to feel slighted. When the organization then pays
consultants who have never done the work to develop improvements, this slight
becomes an insult. When the consultants arrive at the workplace trying to glean
information from the employees so that they can use it to develop their own answers,
how do you expect the employees to react? Do you think they will be enthusiastic
about providing the best of their inside knowledge to these consultants? "Here,
let me help you show my boss how much better you can figure out my work than I
We don't have to get into this kind of disagreeable competition. Instead we
honestly accept the cardinal principle of employee empowerment which is, "The
person doing the job knows far more than anyone else about the best way of doing
that job and therefore is the one person best fitted to improve it." Allan
H. Mogensen, 1901-1989, the father of Work Simplification.
By involving operating people in the improvement process, you also reduce the
risk of getting distorted or misleading data. Their experience is brought into
improvement meetings, unaltered. If they get excited about helping to develop
the best possible process they will have little reason to distort or withhold
<< Previous Page
| Contents | Next