THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
S U M M A R Y
DIARY: October 24, 1997 10:13 AM Friday;
Called Max Wideman on cost savings from rework.
2...Management Rework is Different from Production Rework
3...What's a Metric of Communication?
4...Word Count is Indicator of Management Rework
5...Expanding Span of Attention Provides a Method to Estimate Rework
6...Planning Avoids Rework, Reflects Value of Expanding Span of Attention
7...Cognitive Science Needs Experience Base to Support Acceptance
8...Communication Metrics Supports Partnering and Adjudication
9...Web Technology Supports Enterprise, Automated Management
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0201 - Wideman, R. Max
020101 - Mr. R. Max Wideman
Increased Overhead Costs Reflects Rework
Closure Difficult Complexity Limited Span
Words, Citations, Links
Action Items, 100 Subjects Typical SDS Record
Planning Control Complexity Accurate Record
Aligning Communications to Maintain Shared
Front End Investment Avoids Crisis with SDS
Black Box Shocking Incredible Savings
Span of Attention Overwhelmed by Too Many
2211 - ..
2212 - Summary/Objective
221301 - Follow up ref SDS 9 5319, ref SDS 5 4617.
221303 - Max explained a general disconnect between experienced managers and
221304 - management experts, and the field of Cognitive Science. This needs to
221305 - be addressed in our efforts to improve business communications, as Max
221306 - has in mind. He explained ideas on using word count to estimate
221307 - management rework based on traditional claims analysis practice. The
221308 - cost benefit of expanding span of attention reflects the role of
221309 - "planning," which reduces the time managers spend on problem handling,
221310 - coordinating and expediting. Explained proposal to USACE to use
221311 - Communication Metrics as a common record keeping resource under
221312 - "partnering" methods, that could also function as a neutral to decide
221313 - disputes. Advised of article in Sep PMJ on using intranets to
221314 - accomplish the unified automated management environment Max asked
221315 - about in August.
221317 - [Submitted notes on 971027, ref SDS 13 line 88.]
221323 - ..
2216 - Discussion
221701 - Management Rework is Different from Production Rework
221703 - We considered distinguishing management rework in the USACE report on
221704 - cost savings from Communication Metrics, ref DRP 3 line 78. Direct
221705 - costs for a tangible task, cited by Max in his letter, ref DRP 2 line
221706 - 25. like re-hanging a door, per our discussion on 971020, ref SDS 5
221707 - line 586, are different from the cost of the management entailed in
221708 - accomplishing the "tangible" work.
221710 - ..
221711 - Reducing management rework provides cost reduction. Reducing product
221712 - rework yields cost avoidance. It is speculative and greater than cost
221713 - reduction, as explained in the USACE report, Attachment 1 para 4,
221714 - ref OF 1 line 268.
221716 - ..
221717 - A lot of management rework does not result in "tangible" rework under
221718 - Max's definition, since the rework process in management (trial and
221719 - error) may well identify controlling factors that impact field work
221720 - with the result that tangible work is done correctly, or the defect is
221721 - accepted as an absorbed deviation from requirements the cost of which
221722 - is experienced downstream; a deviation may even enhance objectives of
221723 - the product. Sometimes a mistake is accepted as an improvement, but
221724 - at significant cost of management rework which is not recouped. The
221725 - cost of management is reduced by expanding span of attention, so that
221726 - controlling factors (subjects) are integrated and balanced rather than
221727 - managed sequentially as continual crisis that cause frustration and
221728 - acrimony. This will also avoid the direct cost of fixing mistakes
221729 - that otherwise result in change orders, claims, disputes and
221730 - litigation.
221733 - ..
221734 - What's a Metric of Communication?
221735 - Word Count is Indicator of Management Rework
221737 - Max explained a procedure he used in 1969 to count words in documents
221738 - that measure management rework incurred on a construction project. We
221739 - did not discuss:
221741 - 1. Which words are counted; everything in all documents over a
221742 - particular time period, or just those pertaining to a suspect
221743 - subject, i.e., a particular change order or a claim?
221745 - ..
221746 - SDS diagnostics do not count record descriptions, references,
221747 - subjects nor headings, although it could be argued that
221748 - including them would give a truer count of the number of words
221749 - actually spoken, ref SDS 3 line 92.
221751 - ..
221752 - 2. How was the distinction made between words that impact a
221753 - particular subject, since often communication impacts multiple
221754 - subjects due to the interconnectedness of work?
221756 - ..
221757 - 3. If words pertain to more than one subject are they counted for
221758 - each subject, since they require separate handling for each
221759 - subject?
221761 - ..
221762 - These questions indicate the complexity of knowledge and the
221763 - challenge of finding clear correlations between management time and
221764 - work product that yield extra cost and its corollary cost savings
221765 - potential. Many general assumptions need to be made in order to
221766 - make a calculation because management time is applied like the
221767 - weather: it goes in myriad directions from moment to moment.
221769 - ..
221770 - Since most management communication occurs in meetings, discussions
221771 - and calls that are not captured in writing, it would seem that word
221772 - count in documents points to a trend in rework, rather than an actual
221773 - measurement. It is clearly skewed, since it covers only those matters
221774 - that fall with span of attention.
221776 - ..
221777 - The SDS program counts words as part of the routine that counts
221778 - subjects, links and action items. So word count might be another way
221779 - to investigate this point. It would be very costly and subjective to
221780 - parse words by subjects in non-SDS documents.
221782 - ..
221783 - Max indicated his calculations on word count are no longer available,
221784 - however, if he recalls the general approach he took, it would be
221785 - helpful.
221787 - ..
221788 - Another difficulty with counting words after-the-fact is that our aim
221789 - is to calculate added value (cost savings) of proactive problem
221790 - handling before-the-fact. We need a way to estimate the quantity of
221791 - a factor that relates to management time, and also impacts production
221792 - time on a tangible product. We cannot count words until after the
221793 - fact.
221796 - ..
221797 - Expanding Span of Attention Provides a Method to Estimate Rework
221799 - The correlation between limited span of attention and the process of
221800 - management trial and error is fairly widely accepted.
221802 - ..
221803 - We considered the difference between the number of subjects listed on
221804 - a meeting agenda, and the subjects identified in SDS that give rise to
221805 - a calculation of impacts that are discovered by trial and error over
221806 - time and so cause management rework, and often field rework as well.
221808 - ..
221809 - Previously, lack of experience with the level of detail captured by
221810 - SDS, prevented making this calculation. Now the government's report
221811 - states some values that can be used to address the problem.
221813 - ..
221814 - Typically, management costs in claims are priced as "overhead" using a
221815 - percentage of direct cost. But it is often significantly understated
221816 - because much more management time is expended in communicating up and
221817 - down the chain of command than is recognizable, especially in a large
221818 - organization. This time is not only omitted from pricing a change, it
221819 - often results in no actual change, but merely reflects the effort to
221820 - focus requisite attention to bring closure.
221823 - ..
221824 - Planning Avoids Rework, Reflects Value of Expanding Span of Attention
221826 - Cognitive attention is not free. By definition, "attention" implies
221827 - focusing on one subject to the exclusion of others, i.e., filtering
221828 - allocates near term consciousness or awareness. In lay terms, it
221829 - shows up in pleas "...for people to listen." The corollary of pleas
221830 - to listen, is the plea for "...time to think." If we listen to "A" we
221831 - cannot think about "B."
221833 - ..
221834 - Attention parcelled out over time to reach consensus on closure of
221835 - critical issues, results in a morass of confusion and panic decisions
221836 - as events eventually force crisis management. Alignment is never
221837 - reached because all of the subjects that impact performance cannot fit
221838 - within limited span of attention. Subjects that exceed the span of
221839 - attention cause rework which has been given constructive names like
221840 - "problem handling," "coordinating," and "expediting."
221842 - ..
221843 - Since managers spend most of their time on these accepted, traditional
221844 - functions, the potential savings from expanding span of attention to
221845 - reduce rework is enormous. Max noted in our discussion on 970818 the
221846 - benefits of "front-end" investment for planning. Making a "plan"
221847 - entails taking time to identify the full range of subjects that impact
221848 - performance, and setting a course that accommodates each factor. The
221849 - alternative to "planning" is rework.
221851 - ..
221852 - Max described this phenomenon as a cascading impact. It is often a
221853 - factor in acceleration claims. There is no authority for calculating
221854 - this impact because it is woven into the fabric of every aspect of
221855 - daily management and so actual time expended is not allocated because
221856 - the time to make the allocation exceeds the time required to perform
221857 - the work.
221859 - ..
221860 - This seems to make the prospect of expanding span of attention with
221861 - Communication Metrics an attractive solution.
221864 - ..
221865 - Cognitive Science Needs Experience Base to Support Acceptance
221867 - Max noted cognitive science is "ephemeral" and less well grounded than
221868 - math, physics, chemistry and engineering used in traditional claims
221869 - analysis to calculate extra cost.
221871 - [On 971029 Max feels disconnected from analysis based on cognitive
221872 - science. ref SDS 14 4491
221874 - ..
221875 - [On 980223 Max indicates that Communication Metrics using ideas
221876 - from Cognitive Science are more clear. ref SDS 15 1620]
221878 - ..
221879 - [On 990303 Max submits Miller's paper on psychology that explains
221880 - "information processing" and limited span of attention that
221881 - deserve notice by management experts... ref SDS 17 0920]
221883 - ..
221884 - [On 990313 Max cites Miller's paper to support his paper on PM
221885 - knowledge. ref SDS 18 2704]
221887 - ..
221888 - [On 990319 Max is not into cognitive science. ref SDS 19 1750]
221890 - ..
221891 - [On 011211 Morris Jones noted that engineers feel uncomfortable
221892 - considering cognitive science. ref SDS 20 XJ8N
221894 - ..
221895 - Max seems to recognize that limited span of attention impacts
221896 - management performance and therefore cost, but noted that it is beyond
221897 - the reach of methods engineers typically use. He feels people are not
221898 - comfortable discussing cognitive science, many feel it is not well
221899 - enough established, i.e. quackery.
221901 - ..
221902 - This perspective reflects a common feeling, including management
221903 - professionals and theorists, that the human mind is "ephemeral," and
221904 - comprises a "black box" that performs processes beyond the reach of
221905 - traditional management science in calculating productivity and cost
221906 - savings. A similar point was made in the discussion with Jim Jones at
221907 - CEMP-E on 971017. ref SDS 9 0941
221909 - ..
221910 - We need new theories, methods and experience to support them.
221912 - ..
221913 - SDS technology lifts the capacity to think, remember and communicate.
221914 - This achievement is difficult to grasp as a direct way to improve
221915 - management productivity because thinking, remembering and
221916 - communicating occur within the "black box" of the mind that have
221917 - previously been beyond the reach of management science. Introducing a
221918 - new idea requires a base of experience so the broader community can
221919 - recognize correlations between inputs and outputs.
221921 - ..
221922 - Span of attention may be a way to accomplish this need by drawing
221923 - attention to the marked difference between traditional meeting agendas
221924 - and SDS records that identify more detailed subjects. Often the
221925 - simplest explanations wind up pointing to the most powerful ideas.
221927 - ..
221928 - Of course it is challenging to dig into a whole new subject, but since
221929 - communication really occurs in the human mind, we have to give some
221930 - consideration to how the mind works in order to meaningfully improve
221931 - communication.
Partnering, Concurrent Discovery
Adjudication is Legal Metrics to Correct
Meeting Notes, Formal Events Need Analysis
Align Meeting Understandings Feedback
Meeting Agendas, Ensure Everything is Covered
Action Items, Schedule, To Do
Meeting Productivity Improved by SDS
Voice Data Entry May Not Improve
Communication Manager, Capture the Record
Align Understandings, Connections
Accurate Records SDS Better Than Tape Recording
501401 - ..
501402 - Communication Metrics Supports Partnering and Adjudication
501404 - Explained partnering initiative for USACE on 971021, ref SDS 11 1212
501406 - Uses Concurrent Discovery concept developed on 960620. ref SDS 2 1101
501408 - This is a form of TQM to add "quality" for contracting by a system of
501409 - business metrics to communications. It uses legal notice as a
501410 - constructive advantage rather than a threat.
501411 - ..
501412 - Max raised the idea that a transcript could be prepared for
501413 - every meeting by a court reporter. He noted this would be very
501414 - awkward and unproductive because most of what is said at informal
501415 - events is not relevant to material issues. Moreover, the advantage of
501416 - exploring and building common understandings in meetings cannot be
501417 - accomplished through rigid procedures endemic to formal testimony.
501419 - [On 990225 voice data entry reviewed for SDS. ref SDS 16 4758]
501421 - ..
501422 - Communication Managers obtain clarifications and feedback, capture
501423 - what is relevant, and present context and alignment that is material
501424 - to performance.
501426 - ..
501427 - I explained my sense that lack of planning and preparation for
501428 - meetings makes communication unfocused and disorganized. This makes
501429 - meetings unproductive, as cited by the Associated Press article on
501430 - 960205 reporting that managers waste 70% of the day in meetings....
501431 - ref SDS 1 5902
501432 - ..
501433 - The Communication Manager performs the preparation that provides
501434 - focus and structure, and issues meeting notes that identifies
501435 - alignment and builds and maintains shared meaning. He visits with
501436 - managers to check alignment and ensure shared meaning. These factors
501437 - (focus, structure, alignment, shared meaning) improve productivity.
501438 - Of course some say the project manager or executive should perform
501439 - this role, but they do not have time to "think."
501441 - ..
501442 - Communication Managers reduce the time required for the parties to
501443 - issue letters, so there is more time to plan the work and manage
501444 - performance.
501446 - ..
501447 - Max suggested an alternative would be for the Communication Manager to
501448 - simply publish action items, status and instructions.
501450 - The difficulty with simply publishing action items is that context
501451 - and linkages are needed to enable people to make adjustments when
501452 - field conditions deviate from original perceptions, as occurs
501453 - often. Efficient work requires understanding controlling factors
501454 - so that new information can be accommodated to accomplish
501455 - requirements without added time and expense of rework through
501456 - constant communication through the system.
501457 - ..
501458 - If only action items were published, then the parties would
501459 - not have the opportunity to correct the record of underlying cause
501460 - and effect that impacts ultimate success.
510401 - ..
510402 - Web Technology Supports Enterprise, Automated Management
510404 - Follow up ref SDS 12 1211.
510406 - Advised Max of article in September PMJ on using intranets and the Web
510407 - to support automated management which he inquired about last August,
510408 - ref SDS 4 3391.
510410 - ..
510411 - A couple Web sites he might examine are:
510413 - http://www.ipr.com
510414 - http://www.e-builder.net
510415 - http://www.ei.org
510416 - http://www.building.com
510417 - http://www.envirospec.com
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