January, 2002 Newsletter Articles

Baldrige Award Winners Announced for 2001

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Don Evans today announced five winners of the 2001 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement. For the first time in the history of the Baldrige awards, winners were named in the education category. The 2001 Baldrige Award recipients are: Clarke American Checks, Inc., San Antonio, Texas (manufacturing); Pal’s Sudden Service, Kingsport, Tenn. (small business); Chugach School District, Anchorage, Alaska...

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New ISO Web Site Address

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has acquired a new Web site address – www.iso.org – which gives access to information on more than 13,400 International Standards for business, government and society. The iso.org address will eventually replace the currently used iso.ch in ISO’s Web location and e-mail addresses. However, in order to ensure a smooth transition, both iso.org and iso.ch will function in parallel in ISO’s Web and e-mail addresses for an indefinite period. ISO will gradually replace...

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Guidelines for Statistical Process Control

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

The language of ISO 9001:2000 is less manufacturing oriented for the benefit of its readers in the software and service sectors. As a result, “statistical techniques” seem to have been relegated to a lesser role. The old clause 4.20 in ISO 9001:1994 was entirely devoted to Statistical Techniques. Now the techniques are only mentioned in clause 8.1 of ISO 9001:2000 as possible methods for process monitoring, measurement, analysis, and improvement. However, look more closely. Clause 4.1 (c) requires determining the criteria and...

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The Nine Deadly Sins of Project Planning

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

The IEEE Software Magazine recently included an article on “The Nine Deadly Sins of Project Planning” by Editor in Chief, Steve McConnell. The project planning sins are listed below (with my comments): 1. Not planning at all (carefully consider your project needs). 2. Failing to account for all project activities (develop comprehensive plans). 3. Failure to plan for risk (attack the risks before they attack your project). 4. Using the same plan for every project (old plans may not work for new projects). 5. Applying prepackaged...

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Evaluate the results

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

When the project completes, evaluate the results. Were the deliverables acceptable? Were they produced on schedule? Did the outcome satisfy the objectives? This evaluation will give you insights on possible improvement activities. Assess the consultant’s performance. Did the consultant do a good job of planning? Was the plan followed without significant deviation? Were you kept informed throughout the project? Did the consultant work well with others and foster teamwork? Was the expertise of the consultant reflected in the results? Were the...

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Manage the consultant

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Even an expert consultant needs to be managed well. Ensure the primary contact at your organization fully accepts this coordination role. Any issues or misunderstandings must be promptly resolved. Keep management informed. Remind your organization to strive for self-sufficiency. You want to avoid a prolonged dependence on the consultant. Give the consultant access to the appropriate people, documents, and records. Ensure the organization cooperates, but remember, the consultant makes suggestions, not business decisions. The project success...

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Prepare the agreement

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

At this point, the consultant has been selected and you need to prepare an agreement for both parties to sign regarding the scope of work. The agreement could be a legal contract or simply a letter of understanding. The bigger the job, the more formal the agreement. The agreement should describe the expected deliverables and their timing. Identify your contact for authorizing and scheduling the activities. Explain that monthly payments will be made based on completed work. Attach the consultant proposal to the agreement. Use the agreement to...

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Negotiate the terms

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

You have made a tentative selection. Discuss the specific dates for the initial visit. See if the consultant will reduce the quoted rate based on the size of the project. Depending on your location and the types of services, you may find the consultant is willing to lower the fee to gain your business. Remember that you’ve already decided this consultant is the best choice if the terms can be worked out to the satisfaction of both parties. Don’t automatically exclude the person if the fee cannot be negotiated to a lower...

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Choose the consultant

Jan 20, 2002 in Newsletter | 0 comments

When you receive the proposals, you will evaluate them using the agreed selection criteria. Know in advance who will participate in the evaluation and make the recommendation. Will a committee make the decision, or an individual manager? In any case, you want the decision fully supported so the consultant can work effectively with your organization. You will evaluate their personal traits, especially their communication skills. You will also look at their experience in performing the defined scope of work. If you are dealing with consulting...

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