Jan 6, 2013

Management Blog Carnival 2012 - Square Peg Musings

Square Peg Musings by Scott Rutherford is new to me and I’m happy to discover and review it as part of the 2012 Management Blog Carnival. Scott has the right experience, writing ability, and things to write about to make a top-notch continuous improvement blog. He comes from the ASQ quality arena, which gives his reports a slightly different spin from the lean blogs. In fact, he is an ASQ Influential Voice and includes a disclaimer: “While I receive a variety of quality resources as honorarium from ASQ in exchange for this commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are my own.” That seems to be true. Scott writes in his own voice from his own perspective with his own conclusions. To me, that’s what makes a blog interesting.

A few recent posts I’ll highlight:

What if I can’t get a raise? is a compelling subject for a lot of people. Scott starts by saying why that’s not so compelling for him as a government employee who really likes what he’s doing now. From his days of chasing the paycheck as a quality manager, he does have some advice to impart: be a leader, provide value, and draw attention to others. Providing value, in Scott’s view is going to the gemba, enforcing standards, and communicating expectations. A few more other things he says leaders do:

  • Being cognizant of organizational performance and how you and your team fit into the big picture. 
  • Mentoring your team appreciate new opportunities and challenge rules. 
  • Asking your team, “how do you think we should solve this problem?”
  • Success follows you, it is not you. 
  • Focusing the spotlight on the team successful. 

His conclusion is, “In my opinion, skip the raise and help your team be successful.”

In another post, in his turn as host of the Management Blog Carnival he takes a look at
Nicole Radziwill’s blog, Quality and Innovation. One of Nicole’s unique ideas Scott mentions is questioning the validity of Deming’s 14 points. (In contrast to Michel Baudin’s recent blog posts based on the 14 points.)

A third, Celebrating World Quality Month - Wrap-up of the DQG Conference  is one of my favorite kinds of posts, a report on a professional conference, in this case the Dubai Quality Group. On the personal side, he tells why he enjoyed himself: hospitality, great speakers, great audience, and questions. It’s actually difficult to write a good post about a conference. Writing about who spoke about what -- the central purpose of the event -- can easily turn into a list of names and topics without much information. I think Scott did a good job of saying enough about what the speakers said, then telling us why it was important. It made me interested in finding out more about the speakers, whose names are new to me. Most speakers were from outside Dubai, but Scott says the 160 people attending were from the Arabian region. We know too little about continuous improvement there -- from business news I have seen from Dubai, Qatar, and other middle eastern countries, I can tell you there is robust activity there.

While I liked Scott’s blog a lot, it was very hard to read its tiny white type on its black background. (Granted, the web being what it is, font size can be rendered smaller or larger than intended.) The dark background is cluttered with a reading room scene that seems unrelated to the topic. Readable black type on a white background may be boring, but that’s the point. The writing is more important than the decoration. Blogger has lots of simple themes to choose from and  converting to one of them might be a good idea.

I know I will keep up with Scott’s blog because of its originality and interesting insights. Good job overall.


John Hunter said...

Thanks for participating in the review again.

One quick tip CTRL+ will increase the font size of what you are looking at and CTRL- will decrease it.

Happy new year,

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words & suggestions. Been trying to get my undergrad daughter who is a graphic design major to help out on design but I don't pay enough. ;) Will look at other design options.

Unknown said...

Thanks for commenting Scott and John,

Scott, I might have said that since Blogger is your platform, you can "just" go to the dashboard, click "layout," then look for "themes" and try out some.

I say "just" because I spent a good part of yesterday trying to get Blogger's social media share buttons to appear on the blog and had to give up. Try again another day. It's all a process of incremental improvement.

John, I stick to the principle that good design means the user doesn't have to know how to do anything. A great guide is http://www.usability.gov/ from the National Cancer Institute, of all places. I pontificated on the subject several years ago - http://www.leanreflect.com/2006/07/dont-make-me-think.html

Back to the beginning - John, thanks for another year of organizing what's become the Academy Awards of blogging. And Scott, as a guy who actually does work as opposed to being a consultant, keep us connected to the real world of lean and quality.

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