ASQ Technical Forums and Divisions as Knowledge Communities

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how to best build and grow knowledge communities within quality. One of my objectives at WCQI this year was to get more involved in the divisions and technical forums and I, frankly, might have been overly successful in volunteering for the Team and Workplace Excellence Forum (TWEF) – more on that later when announcements have been made.

Stan Garfield provides 10 principles for successful Knowledge Management Communities. If you are interested in the topic of knowledge management, Stan is a great thinker and resource.

PrincipleThoughts for ASQ Divisions/Technical Forums
Communities should be independent of organizational structure; they are built around areas upon which members wish to interact. The divisions and technical forums are one part of the organizational structure of the ASQ, but they tend to be more on the knowledge generating side of things. The other major membership unit, sections, are geographical.

Divisions and forums are basically broken in two categories: industry type(s) and activity band.

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic or Biomedical are great examples of industry focused (these are by nature of my work the only two I’ve paid attention to), and they seem to be very focused on product integrity questions.

The activity bands are all over the place. For example in the People and Service technical committee there is a Quality Management, Human Development and Leadership and a Team Excellence Forum. Those three have serious overlap.

It is of interest to me that the other divisions in the People and Service technical committee are Education, Healthcare, Government, Customer Supplier and Service Quality, which are much more industry focused.

And then there is the Social Responsibility division. I have super respect for those people, because they are basically trying to reinvent the definition of quality in a way that can be seen as anathema to the traditional product integrity focused viewpoint.

There is still so much to figure out about the TCCs.
Communities are different from teams; they are based on topics, not on assignments. Easy enough in the ASQ as this is a volunteer organization.
Communities are not sites, team spaces, blogs or wikis; they are groups of people who choose to interact. As the ASQ tries to develop my.ASQ to something folks are actually using, this is a critical principle. The site pages will grow and be used because people are interacting, not drive interaction.

Ravelry seems like a great example on how to do this right. Anyone know of any white papers on Ravelry?
Community leadership and membership should be voluntary; you can suggest that people join, but should not force them to. Divisions are voluntary to join, and people get involved if they chose to.

Please volunteer…..
Communities should span boundaries; they should cross functions, organizations, and geographic locations. The ASQ has this mostly right.

The industry focused communities are made up of members across companies, with a wide spread of locations.
Minimize redundancy in communities; before creating a new one, check if an existing community already addresses the topic. The ASQ hasn’t done a great job of this. One of my major thoughts is that the Quality Management Division has traditionally claimed ownership of the CMQ/OE body of knowledge, but frankly a good chunk of it should be between the Team Excellence and Human Development divisions, which between them seem to have a fair bit of overlap.

Take change management, or project management, or program management. Which one of the three divisions should be focusing on that? All three? Seems a waste of effort. It’s even worse that I know the Lean Division spends a fair amount talking about this.
Communities need critical mass; take steps to build membership.The major dilemma for professional associations. Love to see your suggestions in the comments.
Communities should start with as broad a scope as is reasonable; separate communities can be spun off if warranted. I’m going to say a radical and unpopular thought. If the ASQ was serious about transformation it would have dissolved half of the divisions and then rebuilt them from scratch. Too many are relics of the past and are not relevant in their current construction. Do you truly need a Lean and a Six Sigma forum? A Team Excellence and a Human development (and a quality management).Should biomedical (medical devices) be part of the FDC?
Communities need to be actively nurtured; community leaders need to create, build, and sustain communities. To do this community leaders need training, coaching and mentoring. I’m happy with the connections I’ve started building in headquarters and with a certain board member.

Perhaps one of the focuses of the Team and Workplace Excellence Forum should be to help push the praxis on this.
Communities can be created, led, and supported using TARGETs:
Types (TRAIL — Topic, Role, Audience, Industry, Location)
Activities (SPACE — Subscribe, Post, Attend, Contribute, Engage)
Requirements (SMILE — Subject, Members, Interaction, Leaders, Enthusiasm)
Goals (PATCH — Participation, Anecdotes, Tools, Coverage, Health)
Expectations (SHAPE — Schedule, Host, Answer, Post, Expand)
Tools (SCENT — Site, Calendar, Events, News, Threads).
Okay. So much here. But this helps me build an agenda for a forthcoming meeting.

I may be jumping the gun, but if you are a member of the ASQ and interested in contributing to the Team and Excellence Forum, contact me.

What is this quality profession all about?

A theme of this year for me has been focusing more and more on the difference between the product integrity focused approach to quality that folks in my profession normally focus in on and a more excellence focused approach. The two are not in opposition, but I can’t help feeling that the product integrity exclusiveness of many pharmaceutical quality professionals is holding us back.

This is especially on my mind coming back from ASQ WCQI and thinking about just how few of my pharma colleagues identify with that organization There are a whole host of reasons (including the fact that many people don’t associate with ANY professional association) but I can’t help but contemplate how do we make the excellence side of quality more relevant to not just pharmaceuticals but to wider questions of just what is quality anyway?

I’ve discussed the need to realize that we have different types of domain knowledges, but just what is this domain we call quality and is it truly its own discipline?

Disciplines can be modeled as a system comprising an “activity scope” that is enabled by a “knowledge base” but conditioned by a “guidance framework”.

From Rousseau, et al “A Typology for the Systems Field”
  • The guidance framework typically involves multiple worldviews. The same subject matter can be studied from different worldviews, and the theories around a given subject can be interpreted differently from different worldview perspectives. You can see this in the various flavors of continuous improvement or better yet, the presence of a sustainability push within the society.
  • The knowledge base is the data, theories and methodologies that drive the discipline
  • The activity scope describes the range of activities in a disciple, including the professional practice.

We’re probably truly multi-disciplinarian, in that the we draw from multiple other disciplines, a short list includes: Engineering, Computing, Control Theory, Mathematics, Information Theory, Operations research, system theory, Management sciences, a whole range of social sciences and more than I can think.

What does this mean?

I am more thinking aloud than anything at this point, but I think it’s important to work on developing the QBOK along a guidance framework, knowledge base and activity scope methodology. Then as we develop sub-body of knowledges we drill down from there, either in a very knowledge base way (such as the CMQ/OE) or in an activity scope (like the CPGP). I often feel that the way we develop these are more hit-and-miss and could do with some coherence – the biomedical auditor and hazop auditor are great examples of wanting to meet a very narrow need and thus being very very specific to a small set of the knowledge base.

I guess I’m striving towards applying theory to our practice a little more deliberately.

Some of the technical forums (Human Development and Leadership comes to mind) seem especially designed to pull information from one or two different originating disciplines and adapt it to the knowledge base. I think this process would be added by a coherent understanding of our guidance framework and just what the activity scope we are trying to address as discipline.

In short I am just thinking that a little more coherence, strategy and transparency would aid us as a profession. As I heard in many a conversation last week, we should probably as an organization be better at what we preach.

Sources

  • Bourke, J (2014). On Process Excellence vs. Operational Excellence vs. Business Excellence. BEX Institute.
  • Rousseau, D., Wilby, J., Billingham, J., & Blachfellner, S. (2016). A Typology for the Systems Field. Systema 4(1), 15-47
  • Wageeh, N. A. (2016). The Role of Organizational Agility in Enhancing Organizational Excellence: A Study on Telecommunications Sector in Egypt. International Journal of Business and Management, 11(4), 121

WCQI Day 4

Last day of the conference and for the first session I present on “Knowledge Enables Change.”

Similar to my BOSCON talk, which was the beta so I think I covered things better in this one.

Expand Your Impact on the Culture of Quality by Kathy Lyall

Solid focus on both external and internal signifiers of quality culture. A little basic but very worth reinforcing.

And then I left, skipping the last keynote to get to the airport.

Good conference this year. Overall I felt that many of my choices for sessions ended up being more basic than I thought, but there is a lot of value in that. I will hopefully make the time to turn my thoughts into better blog posts.

WCQI Day 3 – Afternoon

Afternoon Keynote – Cheryl Cran on NextMapping

Future of work thought leadership….People First, Digital Second

Digital second is an interesting keynote theme (2 out of 4) and I appreciate the discussion on equitable futures and moving companies away from autocracy. Not sure anyone who speaks at large corporations is really all that committed to the concept. And I didn’t feel much more than lip service to the concept in this keynote.

Stressing reverse mentoring is good, something that all of us need to be building the tools to do better. Building it into technology integration is good.

Basic sum-up is that Change Leadership Traits are:

  • Relational vs transactional
  • Focus on ‘people’ first
  • Highly adaptable to people
  • and situations
  • Coach approach
  • Creative solutions
  • Future focused
  • Transparent
  • Empowering

In short, any talk that thinks having a clip from “In Good Company” is a good idea for teaching agile thinking is problematic.

“Storytelling: The Forgotten Change Management Tool ” by Keith Houser

Storytelling is one of the critical jobs of a quality professional, and this was a great presentation. Another flip session with pre-work that a lot of folks didn’t do.

I’m going to let Keith’s template speak for itself: https://www.eventscribe.com/2019/ASQ-World/flipSessions.asp?h=Full%20Schedule&BCFO2=FL

This was marked basic. And unlike a lot of stuff marked intermediate this felt like truly a best practice, pushing the envelope in many ways. Sure I apply these principles, but the discipline here is impressive.

WCQI Day 3 – morning

I didn’t make it to the key note. I had a work conference call so I will never learn the quality secrets of Anheuser-Busch.

“A Fresh Approach to Risk Assessment & FMEA: It’s all about severity” by Beverly Daniels.

After yesterday’s Quality 4.0 session I was not going to miss this as the presenter has a blunt, to the point attitutde, that could be interesting and fun to watch.

Very R&R driven mindset, which is a little far away for me but one I find fascinating. Her approach is to get rid of probability and detection on an FMEA. How does she do that?

  • Create a function diagram and process maps as applicable
  • Create an input:output matrix
  • List functions
  • List failure modes: how a failure presents itself
  • List the effects of the failure modes
  • Determine severity of the failure modes at the local level and system level
  • Develop V&V, mitigation and control plans for all high severity failures.

Which means she’s just not using the risk assessment as a consolidation of decisions (hopefully using some other form of matrix) and always uses  testing data for occurrence.

The speaker made the point about static FMEA’s a lot, I’m a big fan of living risk assessments, and I think that is an approach that needs more attention.

Some interesting ideas on probability and testing here, but buried under some strong rhetoric. Luckily she posted a longer write-up which I’ll need to consider more.

“Using Decision Analysis to Improve, Make or Break Decisions” by Kurt Stuke

Someday I’ll write-up more on why I find long credential porn intros annoying. My favorite intro is “Jeremiah Genest works for Sanofi and has 20 years of experience in quality.” Post my damn CV if you want, but seriously my words, my presentation and my references should speak for themselves.

I like the flip sessions, prepping prior is always good. The conference needs to do a better job letting people know about the prep work. The amount of confusion in this session was telling. The app does not even link to the prep work, only way is an email.

Here are Kurt’s resources: https://www.kurtstuke.com/OER/WCQI/

There is no 100% tool, glad he stresses that at the beginning, as we sometimes forget to do that in the profession.

“Whim leads to advocacy approach which means data looses its voice.”

Used KT as a way for decision analysis. Talking about the “must haves” and “nice-to-haves” Maybe it’s because of the proprietary nature of KT, but I feel their methodology is either someone folks are really familiar with or surprised by.

So this is again basic stuff. I’m not sure if this is what I am deciding to go to or if just where I am in my journey. At my table I was the only one really familiar with these tools.

Good presenter. Love the workshop approach. It was great watching and participating with my table-mates and seeing lightbulbs go off. However, this is a basic workshop and not intermediate.