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Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Mnimum Viable Product - MVP

Mnimum Viable Product - MVPYou’re an Entrepreneur. Or you’re a Product Manager charged with launching a new product. But how can you know if your new product or service idea is a good one? How can you minimise the risk of an expensive flop? The answer is to build a Minimum Viable Product – an MVP.

Like some of the best of our Big Ideas, a Minimum Viable Product is exactly what its name suggests. It is the minimum product you could create that is viable in terms of serving its primary purpose. So, let’s put some detail on that minimum viable explanation.

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Triple Constraint: Time, Cost, and Quality

Triple Constraint - Time Cost Quality

Triple Constraint - Time Cost QualityTime, cost, or quality. Choose one. They are the corners of the triple constraint. And this is the most basic, most important idea within Project Management.

Project Management itself is a Big Idea that we have already covered. But when you are leading a project, the triple constraint is your guiding compass. It gives you the bearing for every decision you need to make.

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Value Engineering: The Same for Less

Value Engineering: The Same for Less

Value Engineering: The Same for LessHow do some products achieve astonishing quality and functionality at affordable prices? The answer is in the discipline of Value Engineering.

Value Engineering is often tarred with the same brush as ‘cost-cutting‘. Although it has a similar role, it plays to a wholly different business strategy. So, let’s look at what it is and why it matters.

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5S: Organise Your Workplace

5S: Organise Your Workplace

5S: Organise Your WorkplaceHere at Management Pocketblog, we love the ideas that come out of Japanese manufacturing. And none more so than the 5S approach to creating and maintaining an efficient workspace.

Originating with the work of Hiroyuki Hirano, and rapidly adopted into the Toyota Production System, 5S is now an essential part of Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time processes. It has also been adopted into the Six Sigma quality process tool set.

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Six Sigma – Reducing Defects

Six Sigma
Six Sigma
Six Sigma

In the world of quality, Six Sigma is one of the biggest names. Total Quality Management (TQM) may aim for zero defects. But Six Sigma aims to reduce defects down to a statistical blip – arguably a more realistic enterprise.

What makes Six Sigma such a compelling proposition is the vast asset base of tools and process that accompany the core idea. What makes it a big idea is the impact it has had on manufacturing, combined with its wider potential in other domains.

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TQM: Total Quality Management

TQM - Total Quality Management

TQM - Total Quality ManagementTotal Quality Management, or TQM, is more than ‘just’ a quality initiative. It is an approach to management that cuts across all aspects of an organisation. It has a deep story that stretches back to the 1920s and beyond, yet its principles are as relevant today as they have ever been.

While some of our Big Ideas came to the world of management and made themselves relevant there, Total Quality Management started in the business world. And here it remains.

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Philip Crosby: Zero Defects

What level of quality should we be expecting in our manufacturing processes? Philip Crosby, a quality manager and consultant, had an answer that was as simple as it was uncompromising: 100 per cent conformity… zero defects.

Philip Crosby


Short Biography

Philip Crosby was born in West Virginia, in 1926. He gained an undergraduate degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine after serving in the US Navy in the Second World War. He also served in Korea, before a series of roles in industry. 1957, he started working for Martin-Mariettta on the Pershing Missile project. It was here that he developed his concept of ‘zero defects’ and reduced waste material costs by 30 per cent.

In 1965, he became Director of Quality at ITT, where he stayed until 1979. This was the year that his book, Quality is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain, was published. It was big success, so he left ITT to found Philip Crosby Associates, inc. From then on, Crosby was a much in demand consultant, floating his company in 1985, for $30 million.

He continued to write, producing Quality Without Tears in 1984, and twelve other management books up to his retirement in 1991. At this point, he quickly un-retired and founded a new business, Career IV, inc, which provided lectures and seminars for senior executives. He died in 2001.

The Zero Defects Philosophy

Crosby was adept at framing his ideas in simple lists. Let’s start with his Four Absolutes of Quality Management:

  • Quality means conformance to requirements, not goodness.
  • Quality is achieved by prevention, not appraisal.
  • Quality has a performance standard of Zero Defects, not acceptable quality levels.
  • Quality is measured by the Price of Nonconformance, not indexes.

In Quality is Free, Crosby set out fourteen steps to creating quality:

  1. Management commitment to quality improvement.
  2. Quality improvement team with representatives from each department or function.
  3. Quality measurement to determine the status of quality throughout the company.
  4. Determine the cost of quality to discover where action  to correct a defect will result in greater profitability.
  5. Quality awareness for all employees, about the cost of defects to the company.
  6. Corrective action should become a habit.
  7. Establish an ad-hoc committee for the Zero Defects Programme to communicate and that everyone should do things right first time.
  8. Supervisor training on the 14 steps.
  9. Zero Defects Day – when supervisors explain the programme to their people and make a lasting impression.
  10. Goal setting – usually, 30, 60, and 90-day goals.
  11. Remove the causes of error.
  12. Recognise those who meet their goals or perform outstanding acts with a non-financial prize or award.
  13. Quality Councils: regular meetings of quality professionals and team-leaders, to discuss improvements.
  14. Do it over again: During a typical 12-18 month programme, much of the learning will dissipate. So re-start the programme afresh with a new  Zero Defects Day.

Quality without Tears

Crosby went further. In his 1984 book, Quality without Tears, he mooted the idea of a ‘quality vaccination serum’ – a culture of quality, built on:

  • Integrity – from the CEO down
  • Systems – to measure conformance, educate  employees and suppliers, enact corrective action, and make defect prevention into a routine.
  • Communications – of problems, progress, and  achievement.
  • Operations – to test and demonstrate procedures, products and systems before they are implemented, and then continual re-evaluation.
  • Policies – clear, unambiguous policies that put quality first.

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