The devil in the detail

When writing a quality system manual there is (at least should be) a need to talk about real-world objects. Let’s call them primary objects for lack of a better word. Examples are a product or a (software) bug (whether a bug is an “object” is of course also debatable but in the abstract world of software it is). Sometimes we on the other hand need to refer to some kind of representation Continue Reading

How to create and manage a useful operations manual

In the very first post on this blog I talked about operations manuals, i.e. descriptions of the prescribed or recommended way of working in an engineering organization. I fully acknowledge that very few people find this topic particularly exciting. Some knowledge management folks I talk to consider operations manuals a failed concept to start with. It’s all in the heads of the people they say. Some slide-ware-wielding types on the other hand Continue Reading

A look at SPEM and the Eclipse Process Framework

As you might have seen, there are a few pages on this site about operations manuals and process modeling, i.e. about describing the way of working in an organization in a semi-formal way. I have implemented a custom meta-model for process modeling [5] in Rational Rose and used it to describe the whole operations manual for a medical device company. The manual itself was generated in HTML format from the UML model Continue Reading

Describing and disseminating know-how

The research about the human brain and behavior strongly suggests that most of the information processing we do in our brains including a substantial amount of decision making happens without ourselves being aware of it (in the sense that we can communicate such awareness). Libet’s experiment (see a Libet’s short delay) for instance shows that an action potential builds up in the brain up to half a second before we become aware Continue Reading

Is there such a thing as a useful operations manual?

Now to something completely different I started out my career designing image processing algorithms and hardware. At one point I rather inexplicably diverted into management consulting and took interest in issues such as operational effectiveness, cycle time reduction, and quality management. A while after my defection an old colleague of mine, who was at that time working on his PhD in image processing, asked me in an email what I was doing Continue Reading