In one of my management-oriented software classes in college — I studied under a prof that was a pretty big fan of TQM — so I spent a lot of time in the class dealing with the terms “Hoshin” (or Hoshin Kanri) and “Kaizen”
While I still have a fairly healthy respect for some of the ideas and fundamentals that were packaged up as TQM, I tend to think that most “Management Methodologies” are a load of insert-your-creative-euphemism-for-well-you-know-here, invented mainly to sell business books to an entire group of lemmings in business suits, who otherwise would be contributing to Oprah’s book-of-the-month club.
Most successful management is about common sense, caring about your employees, being calm, and seeking first to understand before being understood. With a big heaping helping of hard work and pitching in thrown in. You can’t really teach that, you just have to have seen it, and more importantly just do it.
But I’m digressing a bit, so back to the Kaizen thing. Robert Hoekman Jr. is putting together a site, resurrecting the Kaizen philosophy applied back to software design and development. He has a great and fantastic quote today in his blog:
Trust the people you’ve hired to know what they’re doing. Trust them to make decisions. Don’t force teams to reach a consensus. Rely on the experts. Use them for what they do best.
This alone will help improve the performance of your company, because decisions will be made more efficiently, and you’ll know decisions are being made by the people most qualified to make them.
Also, employees who feel respected in this way will perform better on a consistent basis. That said, make sure individuals trust other team members to also make changes and decisions.
In other words, hire people that want to be great and then get out of the way and let them do their jobs.
There’s nothing I could have ever said to summarize that any better. If I had tried it would have been like 5 or 6 pages long.