Walter Dzerko writes:
>There seems to be an over emphasis on problem-solving, correcting faults,
>gaps or mistakes as part of the traditional appraoches to TQM / CI.
>When we traditionally solve problems (pick any model you wish), we say:
>"Let's identify and remove the cause or causes". What do you do when you
>can't remove it, or can't find all the causes or it's due to human nature.
>We need to "create" new concepts to "design" our way out of the issues.
Your concerns are shared by others, including me. I've written an article
that will appear in ASQC's Quality Progress in January or February. It
addresses three different problem solving approaches: repair, refine, and
Repair is classic troubleshooting; something goes wrong and the task at
hand is to find and fix it, thus restoring the conditions that existed
before. The cause of the problem, as Messrs Kepner & Tregoe pointed out
some 30 years ago, is some unwanted change.
Refine is classic TQM; take an existing system or other arrangement and
steadily, incrementally improve its performance. Here, causes are "root"
causes -- those factors that account for current levels of performance,
and these must be unearthed and corrected.
Solution Engineering is design centered. Specify the result wanted and
then determine the structure or system that would produce it. There are
no causes, "root" or otherwise.
As you might guess, the time perspectives are very different: repair
focuses on the past, on what went wrong and how to put things back the way
they were; refine focuses on existing systems and arrangements and on
modifying them to make current performance better; Solution Engineering
focuses on some future state or set of results and the kinds of conditions
that would have to exist in order to produce them. The rest is
I've been conducting a Solution Engineering training course here at ETS
for the past three years and I can tell you that it is darned difficult to
get people to let go of the concept of cause.
If you're interested, I'll send you a copy of the version I originally
submitted to ASQC (which is a little bit longer than the one that will
appear in print).
-- Fred Nickols Exec Dir, Operations Educational Testing Service MailStop 15-Q Princeton, NJ 08541 (609) 538-6265 Tel (609) 538-6270 Fax email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org