My New Book: Management Matters

2 Aug

Image of the book cover of Management Matters by John Hunter

Management Matters by John Hunter is now available.

I have a new book in progress: Management Matters. It is now available in “pre-release format” via leanpub. The idea I am experimenting with (supported by leanpub) is pre-publishing the book online. The ebook is available for purchase now, and comes with free access to the updates.

My plan is to continue working on the book for the next few months and have it “release ready” by October, 2012. One of the advantages of this method is that I can incorporate ideas based on feedback from the early readers of the book.

There are several other interesting aspects to publishing in this way. Leanpub allows a suggested retail price, and a minimum price. So I can set a suggested price and a minimum price and the purchaser gets to decide what price to pay (they can even pay over suggested retail price – which does happen). The leanpub model provides nearly all the revenue to the author (unlike traditional models) – the author gets 90% of the price paid, less 50 cents per book (so $8.50 of a $10 purchase).

They provided the book in pdf, mobi (Kindle) and epub (iPad, Nook, etc.) formats. And the books do not have any Digital Rights Management (DRM) entanglements.

Management Matters covers topics familiar to those who have been reading this blog for years. It is an attempt to put in one place the overall management system that is most valuable (which as you know, based on the blog, is largely based upon Dr. Deming’s ideas – which means lean manufacturing are widely covered too).

I hope the book is now in a state where those who are interested would find it useful, but it is in what I consider draft format. I still have much editing to do and content to add.

Leanpub also provides a sample book (where a portion of the content can be downloaded to decide if you want to buy). If you are interested please give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Vía Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog


Pair wins ASA Statistics in Chemistry Award

1 Aug
Scott Allen of Novomer and Bradley Jones of JMP have won the American Statistical Association’s 2012 Statistics in Chemistry Award. Allen is co-founder and Vice President of Catalyst Development for Novomer, a Massachusetts-based sustainable chemistry company and JMP customer. Jones is Principal Research Fellow at JMP and a renowned expert […]

Vía JMP Blog

Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Carnival #174

1 Aug

The Curious Cat management blog carnival is published 3 times a month with hand picked recent management blog posts. I also collect management improvement articles for the Curious Cat Management Articles site; an RSS feed of new article additions is available.

  • How to Identify Your Team or Organization’s Purpose by Jesse Lyn Stoner – “What is the end-result that you offer? Look at your purpose from the viewpoint of the result, not the products or services you offer.”
  • What we can learn from Russell L. Ackoff by Aleksis Tulonen – “If you want to (dis)solve the problem you need to understand how (dis)solving the problem will affect the system and what the problem really is. Gathering the mental constructs of several people with different mindsets will gain you more understanding of what you are dealing with.”
  • photo of White House Rose Garden with Oval Office in the background

    White House Rose Garden, Washington DC. By John Hunter. See more photos from Washington DC.

  • Why smart managers do stupid things by John Stepper – “What You See Is All There Is. Over and over, he demonstrates how people systematically disregard basic probability and other facts in order to (quickly and easily) make up a story that fits with the things they see.”
  • Downtime Antipatterns for SaaS owners, ZipCar edition – “Use an automated system to point DNS entries to a ‘sorry, we’re down, please see’ page running on a commodity VPS in a completely different datacenter. Provide useful information to the customer RIGHT AWAY, and don’t leave them wondering why the page isn’t loading.”
  • Espoused Vs. In-Use by Anthony DaSilva – “From over 10,000 empirical cases collected over decades of study, Mr. Argyris has discovered that most people (at all levels in an org) espouse Model II guidance while their daily theory in-use is driven by Model I.”
  • MD Anderson Presentation: W. Edwards Deming: The Man and the Message by Mark Graban – “He could be hard on executives, but tended to be more patient with front-line workers. Deming told Doris, ‘They don’t pay me to sugar coat the truth’ (to the execs). But, one day was hard on a production worker for not understanding variation. That evening, Deming agonized over that and realized he shouldn’t have been hard on her for not understanding… he wrote multiple drafts of an apology letter for before sending it to the woman.”
  • Overfocus on tech skills could exclude the best candidates for jobs by Mike Loukides – “A number of articles recently have suggested that the problem with jobs isn’t the workforce, it’s the employers: companies that are only willing to hire people who will drop in perfectly to the position that’s open.”
  • Beginning to understand the power of coaching – seeing the connection to respect for people by Connor Shea – “Coaching is less focused on specific content then it is on the person, and the relationship’s ability to empower the coachee to find capabilities and a self sufficiency they didn’t fully believe in or know they have.”
  • Value Stream Mapping for Fun and Profit by Evan Durant – “During implementation the team was considering increasing batch size in order to smooth out some issues with the new kanban system. Rather than speculate as to the impact of such a change (as might have been the case in the past) the team returned to the future state map, changed the batch size, and recomputed the timeline.”
  • Vía Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog

Super Crunchers author to speak at Discovery Summit 2012

31 Jul
He’s a lawyer, economist, professor and co-founder of, a website that helps you stick to your goals. He has published 11 books (including The New York Times best-seller, Super Crunchers) and more than 100 articles on a wide range of topics. He is a columnist for Forbes magazine and […]

Vía JMP Blog

Top 5 posts about JMP 10

30 Jul
JMP 10 was released about four months ago, and our bloggers have told you about it in a multitude of posts. Which posts appealed the most to readers? I took a look back and picked out the top five posts about JMP 10 based on the number of views, comments, […]

Vía JMP Blog

Summer Olympics 2012 – athlete analytics with JMP

27 Jul
The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics begins today and while looking for news about the games, events and the schedule, I found an interesting set of blog posts on The Guardian website, which made available several data sets relating to the games. The author of this article, […]

Vía JMP Blog

Corporate Social Responsibility

26 Jul

This month Paul Borawski (CEO of ASQ) has asked the ASQ Influential Voices to share their thoughts on the Intersection of Quality and Social Responsibility.

An understanding of system thinking allows people to see the relationships of connected elements in a system. As you gain the insight provided by such knowledge, the ignorance of connections seems odd. It is hard to have an appreciation for systems thinking and not appreciate the fundamental interconnection between people, corporations and society.

Respect for people is another management principle that extends to social responsibility. Some companies may see respect for people as only respect for workers but a wiser approach is to view it as respect for all people (as Deming, Toyota, Patagonia and many others do).

Society makes the rules for how we live together. Corporations are allowed because society decided there was a benefit to society to allow them. One can argue the benefit to society is entirely independent of social responsibility. That by ignoring the reason they are allowed to exist will result in that aim being just as affective as if ignore the aim. This isn’t what any quality management flavor I know of would suggest.

In the time of the robber barons in the 19th century those leading corporations tried to make the claim that the business world was amoral (morality didn’t apply in that realm). As a society we rejected that assertion. Society has decided morality and ethics do apply to business leaders. Even if the business leaders themselves show a shocking failure to do so in practice (see the endless line of banking executive failures, etc.). The me first attitude of so many current CEO’s is passed onto those they work closely with. It is no wonder those people, that are suppose to be leading the organization, instead are just bleeding the organization for whatever they can get away with. That result is very likely when you fail to encourage systems thinking and respect for people (inside and outside the company).

There are many reasons for a corporation to be moral and practice social responsibility but the most important is that is it the ethical thing to do. In addition to that it will be effective. When you create a culture that treats the system as it doesn’t matter that is damaging. We currently do a bad job of systems thinking in general. Building an appreciation for systems thinking will provide great benefits.

Failing to address the health care crisis for decades because your next quarterly bonus won’t be increased by any efforts you make on that score has not helped us. The focus on going after easy payoffs from politicians may well help short term profit of corporations. But it leaves the world a worse place. That isn’t an acceptable way to behave. We have some CEO’s that are finally trying to push back against the broken health care system but far far too late. It has been obvious for decades the current USA health care system is a huge social and economic drain on society. But instead of dealing with it companies ignored the problem.

It is the same things as ignoring a broken machine that is costing you money in delayed production, using extra resources, customer complaints about defective products, having to replace defective products. Systems thinking also provides more focus on the long term. It is easy to ignore the health care crisis each quarter. The issue can be coped with for the quarter. When you look at the long term it is obviously a hugely critical, hugely costly area. It is complex and many aspects are outside the sphere of control of a corporation. That doesn’t mean it is outside the sphere of influence. It has been a huge problem and the continued failure of leaders to deal with it for decades has made the problem much more difficult to address – as often happens with problems you let grow instead of dealing with them early on.

When you understand systems thinking you know that the impacts of weak systems cost you – even if the direct costs are not obvious. Some times the direct costs become obvious (such as the massive costs today due to decades of failure with the health care system) but others are less so. What is the cost of the current educational system compared to what it could be? What is the cost of having over 2 million people locked up in prison? There are direct costs that can be calculated, but what about the other costs?

I agree completely with Dr. Deming word on page 51 of the New Economics:

The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain – stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment – over the long term.

Related: Purpose of an OrganizationSamuel Adams Acts Like a Good Neighbor (founder says New Economics is his favorite book, by the way) – Why Pay Taxes or be Honest

Toyota, Enrich Society:

The Toyota family, very strongly, still has their name on the building and [have] a big influence in the company. The original founding [principal] of the company was to enrich society.

Vía Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog