MonthAugust 2014

How can I utilize EZPro for managing projects?

EZPro is designed for service management that is an ongoing organizational function with predefined routing rules, procedures and repetitive output. Unlike operations, projects are temporary and unique with specific time frame. However, you can utilize EZPro for project management as well.

How?

  • Create a new category for the project
  • Create a new group for the project team
  • Assign the project team members to the new project group
  • Customize routing rules for the new project category
  • Use service requests for project tasks
  • Utilize the custom routing rule that you defined above or assign tasks to project team members directly
  • Link related project tasks
  • Tag project tasks under the project name
  • Use the project name tag link on the dashboard to list and manage project tasks

Using EZPro for project tasks and operation adds value especially when you share resources.

project_-_tagging

How do you change the language in EZPro?

EZPro is a multilingual SaaS. The language is set at the organization level. Administrators who have rights to the Company/Organization profile can select the language for the organization. With this set up not only the language but also time, date and address formats are set.

EZPro_change_language

Also, users can select the language for their login page.

EZPro_change_language_login

 

Fishbone is not fishy

 

fishbone_000827

We have discussed 5 WHYs to identify root causes of a problem in our previous blog.

What is more fun than 5 WHYs? It is a visual representation of WHYs – Fishbone or Ishikawa diagram.

The outcome of this technique is a diagram that looks like a fishbone. It was created by Kaoru Ishikawa in 1960s to show causes of an event. Initially, fishbone diagrams were used as a quality control tool but can be used for root cause, bottleneck or process analysis.

How do you build a fishbone diagram?

1.    Set up a group/team, use a pen and paper or a board and chalk to draw the diagram.

2.    Discuss and define the problem to solve. Draw the “backbone of a fish” and write the problem.

3.    Discuss how to categorize causes. You can pick one of the established approaches or come up with your own way.

McKinsey 7S Framework offers Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared values, Skills, Style and Staff as categories.

4Ps of Marketing suggests Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.

Functional approach uses Machine (or Policies), Method (or Procedures), Materials, Measurement, People and Environment.

Draw bones coming out vertically from the backbone of the fish. Label each bone with a category.

4.    Brainstorm causes for each category and draw shorter lines coming out of bones. Label lines with causes.

5.    Break causes into sub-causes if they are too complex or crowded.

6.    Complete your diagram, analyze it; turn it around, clean it and analyze it again.

Fishbone diagram is effective and visual. A group can engage in exploring reasons and brainstorming robust solutions successfully.

It is simple and inexpensive. It doesn’t require any tool. You can build a fishbone diagram with limited quantitative data available for analysis.

Here is the link to some fishbone diagram templates: http://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/cause-effect/cause-and-effect-aka-fishbone-diagram/

Let us know your experience with fishbone diagrams.

 

Q: What is common between toddlers and problem solvers?

The question Why? on a cork notice board

A: They ask WHYs more than anything else.

“Honey, we need to go home. “

“Why?”

“Because it is dark.”

“Why?”

“Because it is night and the sun went home.”

“Why?”

“Because the sun was up whole day and was tired of shining down on the park. The sun needs to rest.”

“But, but… what about the moon? The moon is up. Why is it still dark?”

Toddlers are curious about the world and want to understand better what is going on around them. Problem solvers are curious about problems and want to understand what caused them.

Ask WHYs to identify the causes of a problem is one of the most critical part of RCA (Root Cause Analysis). The idea is to separate causal causes from root causes. When a root cause is removed from the sequence of the problem, the undesirable outcome is prevented from occurring. While a causal cause has an impact on the problem, removing it doesn’t prevent the recurrence of the problem.

Six Sigma uses the 5 WHYs technique in the Analyze phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). You keep asking WHYs until you identify the root cause of the problem and determine the relationship of the root causes of other problems.

The 5 WHYs technique is powerful because it is

·         Simple – doesn’t require any tool.

·         Effective – allows separating symptoms from causes easily.

·         Comprehensive – allows linking different problems, analyzing their root causes and their interactions.

·         Flexible – works alone or with other techniques.

·         Engaging – stimulates brainstorming and team work.

·         Inexpensive – just a team exercise.

 

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