Decision Overload

Decision fatigue is a recent discovery that describes how our mental energy is depleted by making several decisions. As our day wears on, our decision quality wears out.

We begin to make decisions based on the path of least resistance.

If a decision requires a bold step into unfamiliar territory, we will tend to say no. It’s easier to maintain the status quo.
Conversely, if the request is accompanied by a cadre of strong supporters, it’s easier to go with the flow and approve the proposal.
Decision fatigue also causes us to simplify our decisions. Instead of weighing multiple criteria such as risk minimization versus income maximization versus workforce impacts, we focus on a single attribute and choose accordingly.

[But,] It’s important to note here that we are completely unaware of decision fatigue.

Happy 100th Birthday, Ford Assembly Line!

When Henry Ford began making cars in the early 1900s, “state-of-the-art” manufacturing meant car bodies delivered by horse-drawn carriage, with teams of workers assembling automobiles atop sawhorses. The teams would rotate from one station to another, doing their part to bring the vehicle together. Parts deliveries were timed, but often ran late causing pile-ups of workers vying for space and delays in production. Fortunately for the future of industry, these archaic practices came to an end Oct. 7, 1913. …

The Great Process Debate: Business vs. IT

So we’ve all probably heard the questions, either from direct or indirect customers, either straightforwardly or in a round-about way. Who’s making us do this? How is this benefiting my team? Is BPM even applicable to this project? Is BPM an IT or a Business methodology?

If you’re not a direct practitioner of BPM within an organization, then it is often hard to understand the value of the methodology. I’ve even been a part of projects within which the team members felt that BPM was being imposed upon them, almost as an administrative task or check-the-box, stifling their progress and affecting their timelines.
Who’s making us do this? The BPM bullet had to have been shot from one side or the other…IT or the Business; because of course this couldn’t benefit both, and their priorities are rarely aligned.

BPM Scope Creep

Jaisunder Venkat posted a clever blog on scope creep recently which got me thinking. I have been burned by scope creep in the past, so I am very careful to emphasize this issue when quoting/starting any new project. Scope creep can get you in many ways. As a sales guy/project manager, I gather some detailed…

Lean vs. Business Process Management – This Means War!

If it doesn´t make three people angry it isn’t a process!! [Michael Hammer]

If Lean and Business Process Management work together, instead of fighting, then it is actually possible to link strategy to operations. Personally, I am more than convinced about the fact that Business Process Management must lead the way – and Lean should adapt! However, the Lean evangelist probably won´t agree…!

Loading Planes Faster.

Getting people on and off planes is a fascinating topic. Most people have a very visceral response to it if only because it is a business process that we are routinely exposed that often does not run well. Why it doesn’t run well can be blamed on the airline (since there is not the same degree of process standardization in boarding that one sees at, say, a supermarket checkout) or our fellow travelers (since those idiots so often don’t follow instructions). There have been some recent innovations such as boarding passengers in a random fashion or allowing those who do not need an overhead bin to board first. NowWired reports that other process changes are coming (Airlines Still Trying to Make Passenger Boarding Less Annoying, Aug 28).

How to Harness the Power of Process Innovation

All employees need to feel that it is part of their job to constantly come up with new ways of doing things to make them better so that process innovation becomes just a way of doing business.

So how can you achieve this? Innovation must become a core part of your leadership agenda. Training employees on how to innovate processes becomes the vehicle through which you can spread the methods and ways of thinking. Then the corporate culture must continue to reinforce the message. On a practical level, maybe this means starting each day with a discussion of what we could do better.

Balancing Bikes

Bike sharing is spreading across the nation. One of the highest profile programs has been in New York City, and while there has been griping about various aspects of the Citi Bike program, it has by some measures been successful. According to the NY Times, the system has attracted over 70,000 annual members and has handled over more than 42,000 trips on a peak day (The Balancing Act That Bike-Share Riders Just Watch, Aug 14).

One of the challenges that has come up with the system is how to balance the supply and demand of bikes between stations.

After-Market Service: from “First-call” to “No-call” Fix

Once I was chairing a conference where the speaker was explaining the business model for the licensing of the Peanuts cartoon characters - Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang - and how all that works when it comes to the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (in case you are wondering, they cost about half a million $ each). The speaker was running well over his allotted time with the end nowhere in sight when he turned to me and asked, “How am I doing on time?” Looking out at how he had the audience spellbound in rapt attention, I simply said, “You’re doing fine – keep going”. There was no way I was going to prematurely interrupt this master class in media business models.