Move over SRE, we need PRE First

The Toyota Factory in San Antonio has a visitors center where they showcase the Toyota idea of the "Corporate Athlete." They have new employees work simple skill challenges like threading ropes through dowels in a certain pattern within 10 seconds, and give new employees paid time in the gym to work out to build their muscles to match the work.

Also, they pointed out that Toyota's perspective on robots was to use humans with robots, and to minimize the use of isolated robots.

Deming pointed out in the 80's that computers and robots can produce higher quality products, but at a higher cost than advanced quality frameworks like the TPS. Consider a low-end Tesla is $40K brand new vs. a low end Toyota at $20K brand new and that's what Deming was talking about.

The real secret to Toyota quality, and others who have matched them like Ford in the early 2000's and Hyunda in the decade after that is "Prevention over Inspection." This concept people talk about but don't quite understand. It's the same thing as the "Shift Left" movement in IT which is decades late. Deming taught Toyota how to think of every repeatable process step within a value stream as it's own system (System Thinking!) which has inputs, transformational throuhputs, and outputs. Each repeatable step requires it's own quality structure to be risk-managed, so that known past defects can be checked for and detected where they might re-appear. This is the true application of "Prevention over Inspection" and "Shift Left." When understood and applied correctly, the Hidden Factory of waste is detected at the point of entry and eliminated altogether.

There is lots of talk about SRE (Software Reliability Engineering) which also misses this point above about Prevention over Inspection. There are SRE platform apps today that show you problems after the fact--when you hit them, instead of helping you avoid them altogether. The only why to actually achieve SRE is through PRE (Process Reliability Engineering) which precedes SRE and will lead to high levels of SRE if done correctly.

Taken together, we call this SPRE, or Site and Process Reliability Engineering.  The Stable Framework will help you acheive SPRE.

The Stable Framework™: Empowering Information Technology Organizations to Shift Left

In today's fast-paced and competitive digital landscape, information technology organizations are constantly seeking ways to improve software quality, accelerate time-to-market, and enhance customer satisfaction. One powerful tool that enables organizations to achieve these objectives is The Stable Framework™. This new framework supports information technology organizations in adopting a "Shift Left" approach to process quality, empowering them to integrate early, test effectively, and deliver reliable software with greater efficiency.

Understanding Shift Left:

Shift Left is a software development paradigm that emphasizes early involvement of key stakeholders, such as developers, testers, security experts, and operations teams, in the development process. It involves moving tasks that were traditionally performed later in the development lifecycle closer to the beginning. The goal is to detect and address issues as early as possible, reducing the risk of costly and time-consuming fixes later in the process. We call these time-consuming downstream fixes the "Hidden Factory."
Leveraging The Stable Framework™ for Shift Left:

1.Comprehensive Monitoring and Alerting:

Using System Thinking The Stable Framework provides organizations with a robust error detection and remediation system. By continuously monitoring assets and workflow, organizations can identify anomalies or vulnerabilities before they impact the value stream. The framework's process-based toolsets enable the appropriate teams to take immediate action, investigate the root cause, and resolve issues before they escalate.

2.Integrated Testing Environment:

To effectively shift left, organizations require an integrated testing environment that allows for early and continuous testing. The Stable Framework offers guides practitioners to identify repeatable process steps and create quality structures around each. The enables organizations to perform rigorous testing throughout the development process. This ensures that bugs and issues are caught early, reducing the likelihood of critical defects reaching the later stages of development.

3.Incident Management and Root Cause Analysis:

In a shift left approach, incident management and root cause analysis are essential for early issue resolution. The Stable Framework provides incident management features that enable organizations to track, document, and collaborate on incidents from the early stages. By centralizing incident management in a central Process Asset Library within the framework, teams can quickly identify patterns and root causes, allowing them to implement fixes and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. This transfers tribal knowledge into institutional knowledge.

4.Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

Effective collaboration and knowledge sharing are vital for successful shift left implementation. The Stable Framework facilitates collaboration through its shared Process Asset Libaray, institutional knowledge, and performance console. Teams can collaborate in real-time, share insights, and leverage collective expertise to address challenges early on. The framework also allows organizations to build a centralized knowledge base, capturing best practices, incident learnings, and troubleshooting guides, promoting knowledge sharing and continual improvement.

Conclusion:

The Stable Framework™ serves as a valuable asset for information technology organizations aiming to adopt a shift left approach. By leveraging its comprehensive process definition and improvement system, asset recovery models, incident management capabilities, automation features, and collaboration tools, organizations can effectively shift left and achieve superior software quality, reduced time-to-market, and increased customer satisfaction positioning them for success in today's rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The Stable Framework™: Empowering Organizations with Process Reliability Engineering (PRE) to achieve Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)

In today's digital landscape, where uptime and performance are critical, organizations are increasingly turning to Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) to ensure the reliability and stability of their systems. SRE combines software engineering and operations principles to create scalable and reliable systems and performance workflows. SRE, when done right, requires Process Reliability Engineering (PRE). One essential tool that aids organizations in implementing PRE, and therefore SRE practices effectively is the Stable Framework™. This article explores how The Stable Framework™ provides organizations the ability to "shift-left" and focus on upstream process quality to achieve their SRE goals.

1.Building Resilient Infrastructure:

The Stable Framework serves as a robust foundation for organizations aiming to build resilient infrastructure. It provides a comprehensive set of best practices, tools, and guidelines for designing, deploying, and managing reliable systems, all of which are PRE functions. By following the principles outlined in the framework, organizations can enhance the reliability and stability of their infrastructure.

2.Monitoring and Alerting:

Monitoring and alerting are crucial aspects of SRE, allowing organizations to proactively identify and respond to incidents. The Stable Framework™ offers advanced service and application monitoring capabilities, enabling organizations to gather real-time insights into system health and service performance. By implementing monitoring practices outlined in the framework, organizations can detect issues where they occur and take corrective action before they escalate, or cascade downstream where they become more expensive to fix.  We call this unnecessary downstream flow the "Hidden Factory."

3.Incident Management and Root Cause Analysis:

When incidents occur, efficient incident management and root cause analysis are vital for minimizing downtime and ensuring a swift recovery. The Stable Framework facilitates effective incident management by providing toolset for incident tracking, collaboration, and resolution. It allows teams to streamline their incident response processes, maintain clear communication channels, and track the status of ongoing incidents. Additionally, the framework offers tools for conducting thorough root cause analysis, enabling organizations to identify the underlying issues that lead to incidents and implement preventive measures to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

4.Performance Optimization through Continual Improvement:

As organizations grow, performance stability becomes a critical challenge. The Stable Framework offers process guidance for continual improvemnet and performance optimization techniques. By leveraging these recommendations, organizations can effectively scale their systems to handle increased traffic and ensure optimal performance under varying workloads.

5.Automation and Tooling:

Automation plays a pivotal role in SRE, reducing manual toil and enabling efficient operations. The Stable Framework promotes the use of automation and system-thinking step-based quality management.. Automation practices, such as configuration management, deployment pipelines, and infrastructure provisioning, streamline operations and reduce the risk of human error.

6.Collaboration and Communication:

Successful SRE implementation requires strong collaboration and communication within and between teams. The Stable Framework emphasizes establishing effective communication channels, incident response coordination, and cross-functional collaboration. By adhering to these principles, organizations can foster a culture of shared responsibility and collaboration, ensuring smooth operations and rapid incident resolution.

Conclusion

The Stable Framework™ serves as a valuable resource for organizations embracing Site Reliability Engineering. By following the practices outlined in the framework, organizations can build resilient infrastructure, enhance monitoring and alerting capabilities, effectively manage incidents, optimize scalability and performance, automate operations, and foster collaboration. Implementing the Stable Framework empowers organizations to achieve their SRE goals, delivering reliable, highly available systems that meet the expectations of their users in today's demanding digital landscape.

 

What is the ADKAR Change Management Model

The ADKAR model is a popular change management framework that helps individuals and organizations understand the stages of change, and how to manage change effectively. The ADKAR model was developed by Jeff Hiatt, the founder of Prosci, a leading change management firm.

ADKAR is an acronym that stands for:

  1. Awareness: This stage involves creating awareness about the need for change among the people who will be affected by it. This includes understanding the reasons for the change, the benefits of the change, and the potential impact of the change.

  2. Desire: In this stage, individuals need to have a desire to support the change. This involves understanding why the change is necessary and how it will benefit them and the organization.

  3. Knowledge: Once individuals have a desire to support the change, they need to acquire the knowledge necessary to make the change successfully. This includes training, education, and communication about the change.

  4. Ability: In this stage, individuals must have the skills and ability to make the change happen. This may involve providing additional resources, tools, or support to help people adapt to the change.

  5. Reinforcement: Finally, in this stage, individuals need to be reinforced and rewarded for making the change. This includes recognizing and celebrating successes, and providing ongoing support and encouragement to ensure that the change becomes a part of the organizational culture.

The ADKAR model is a useful framework for managing change because it focuses on the individual level, and helps to ensure that people have the necessary knowledge, skills, and motivation to make the change happen. By following the ADKAR model, organizations can increase their chances of success and achieve their desired outcomes.

PMI's Process Owner vs. Process Manager

PMI (the Project Management Institute) has recently introduced new content into it's curriculum....the Process Owner and Process Manager.  The distinction between these two roles seems to originate from ServiceNow's influence.

In small organizations the same person wears both hats, but in larger organizations these two roles may be split between two people.  Basically the Process Owner is a senior person responsible for "working on" the process, to improve it, while the Process Manager "works in" the process to execute it with efficiency.  A description of each role follows:

Job Description for Process Owner:

Process Owner's are responsible for the end-to-end oversight of a particular business process within an organization. Their main responsibilities include designing, implementing, monitoring, and continuously improving the process to ensure it meets the organization's goals and objectives. Process owners also ensure that the process is compliant with regulatory requirements and industry standards. They work closely with cross-functional teams to identify areas for improvement and implement changes that increase efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance quality. Other key responsibilities of a process owner include:

  • Developing and maintaining process documentation, including standard operating procedures (SOPs), process flowcharts, and process metrics.
  • Monitoring process performance using key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics, and identifying areas for improvement. (Note, both roles include this bullet point as it is an ongoing common point of review and discussion.)
  • Leading process improvement initiatives, including process re-engineering and process automation.
  • Collaborating with other process owners to ensure that processes are integrated and aligned across the organization.
  • Communicating process changes to stakeholders, including senior management, process users, and customers.
  • Providing training and support to process users to ensure that they understand and follow the process.

Job Description for Process Manager:

Process managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of a particular business process within an organization. They ensure that the process is executed efficiently and effectively, and that process users comply with the process requirements. Process managers work closely with process owners and cross-functional teams to identify areas for improvement and implement changes that increase efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance quality. Other key responsibilities of a process manager include:

  • Ensuring that the process is executed in compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards.
  • Monitoring process performance using KPIs and other metrics, and identifying areas for improvement. (Note, both roles include this bullet point as it is an ongoing common point of review and discussion.)
  • Providing training and support to process users to ensure that they understand and follow the process.
  • Identifying and addressing process issues and bottlenecks that impact process performance.
  • Collaborating with other process managers and process owners to ensure that processes are integrated and aligned across the organization.
  • Communicating process changes to stakeholders, including senior management, process users, and customers.
  • Developing and maintaining process documentation, including SOPs, process flowcharts, and process metrics.

Overall, while both roles are involved in managing and improving business processes, the process owner has a more strategic and high-level focus, while the process manager has a more operational and hands-on focus. The process owner is responsible for setting the direction of the process, while the process manager is responsible for executing the process according to the owner's direction. The process owner is more involved in initiating and leading process improvement initiatives, while the process manager is more involved in implementing and monitoring process changes on a day-to-day basis.

The Hidden Factory in IT

The Hidden Factory is everything your group does over again because it didn't go right the first time around.

This ranges from re-doing a failed multi-year project, to re-pushing a production release which had some minor issues the first time around. Sometimes these activities are called "Fire Fighting."

Most groups I talk to tell me that about 35% of their teams efforts are lost to this problem.

Someone must pay for this, and it's very expensive.  Higher prices, lower wages, and lower shareholder dividends are one way to quantify the hidden factory.  In addition, the opportunity cost of not being able to reach your project monetization goals 33% faster means you left money and customers on the table.

The Stable Framework™ is a performance management framework for IT designed to give IT departments the tools needed to tame this wild Hidden Factory beast and bring the fire-fighting down to nearly zero, where it should be.

Read more about it here

Mike Berry

 

How to Best Manage Project Risks and Issues

Managing project risks and issues is an important aspect of project management. Here are some best practices to help you manage project risks and issues effectively:

  1. Identify and assess risks: Identify potential risks that could impact the project and assess their likelihood and potential impact. This can help you prioritize and focus on the risks that are most important. List these risks in a document called a Risk Register, so that you can keep track of them.  Updated it regularly.

  2. Develop a risk management plan: Develop a plan for managing identified risks, including how they will be monitored, mitigated, and communicated to the project team and stakeholders.

  3. Proactively manage risks: Proactively manage risks by taking steps to mitigate them before they become bigger problems. This could involve developing contingency plans, adjusting project schedules, or reallocating resources.

  4. Monitor and control risks: Regularly monitor and control risks throughout the project by tracking their status and taking corrective action as needed. This can help you minimize the impact of risks on the project.

  5. Establish a process for managing issues: Establish a process for managing issues that arise during the project, including how they will be reported, evaluated, and resolved. This can help you quickly identify and address issues before they become larger problems.

  6. Document and track issues as they occur: Document all issues that arise during the project, including the impact on the project, the action taken to address the issue, and the resolution status. This can help ensure that issues are properly tracked and managed.

  7. Communicate effectively: Communicate risks and issues to the project team and stakeholders in a timely and transparent manner. This can help ensure that everyone is aware of the risks and issues and can work together to address them.

By following these best practices, you can help ensure that project risks and issues are managed effectively and that the project is delivered successfully.

What are Some Popular Key Tools for Project Managers

There are many project management tools and software available to help you plan, manage, and execute projects effectively. Here are some of the key project management tools and software:

  1. Project management software: Project management software provides a centralized platform for managing project tasks, timelines, budgets, resources, and communications. Some popular project management software includes Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira, and Microsoft Project.

  2. Gantt chart software: Gantt chart software allows you to create visual timelines that show the progress of tasks and the overall project. This can help you track dependencies, identify critical path tasks, and manage timelines effectively. Some popular Gantt chart software includes TeamGantt, GanttPRO, and Wrike.

  3. Collaboration software: Collaboration software provides a platform for team members to communicate and collaborate on project tasks, documents, and files. Some popular collaboration software includes Microsoft Teams, Slack, Discord, and Google Workspace.

  4. Time tracking software: Time tracking software allows you to track how much time team members spend on project tasks, which can help with resource planning, billing, and project management. Some popular time tracking software includes Harvest, Toggl, and RescueTime.

  5. Risk management software: Risk management software allows you to identify, assess, and manage project risks. This can help you proactively mitigate risks and minimize their impact on the project. Some popular risk management software includes Riskalyze, RiskyProject, and any tool that will provide a Risk Matrix.

  6. Agile software: Agile software provides a platform for managing agile projects and workflows, including Scrum, Kanban, and Lean methodologies. Some popular agile software includes Atlassian's Jira Software, and Targetprocess.

These are just a few examples of the project management tools and software available to help you manage projects effectively. The best tools and software for your project will depend on your specific needs, budget, and team structure.

How to Manage Project Scope Changes

Managing project scope and change is a critical aspect of project management. Here are some best practices to help you manage project scope and change effectively:

  1. Define the project scope: Clearly define the project scope, including what is included and what is excluded. This will help you and your team understand what needs to be delivered and what is out of scope.

  2. Develop a change management plan: Develop a plan for managing changes to the project scope. This plan should outline how changes will be requested, evaluated, and approved, as well as how they will be communicated to the team and other stakeholders.

  3. Establish a change control board: Establish a change control board or similar group of stakeholders who will review and approve or reject change requests. This helps ensure that changes are evaluated objectively and with the project's overall goals in mind.

  4. Document changes: Document all changes to the project scope, including the reason for the change, the impact on the project, and the approval status. This helps keep everyone informed and ensures that changes are properly tracked.

  5. Monitor and control the project scope: Regularly review the project's progress against the project scope and make adjustments as needed. This can help ensure that the project stays on track and within the defined scope.

  6. Manage stakeholder expectations: Manage stakeholder expectations throughout the project by communicating clearly and regularly about the project's goals, scope, and any changes that may occur. This can help minimize surprises and ensure that stakeholders remain engaged and supportive throughout the project.

  7. Identify and manage risks: Identify and manage risks that could impact the project scope or lead to changes. This can help you proactively address potential issues before they become bigger problems.

By following these best practices, you can help ensure that project scope and changes are managed effectively and that the project is delivered successfully.

What are the Best Project Management Methodologies and Practices?

There are several project management methodologies and practices to choose from, and the best approach depends on the specific needs and goals of the project. Here are some of the most popular project management methodologies and practices:

 

  1. Agile: Agile is a flexible, iterative approach to project management that emphasizes collaboration, adaptability, and delivering value to the customer. Agile methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.

  2. Waterfall: Waterfall is a linear, sequential approach to project management that involves completing each phase of the project before moving on to the next. It's a more traditional approach and is useful for projects where the requirements are well-defined and unlikely to change.

  3. Stable: The Stable Framework™ is an Operational Excellence model for project management and operations that can be combined with Agile, or can be performed stand-alone.

  4. RINCE2: PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that provides a structured approach to managing projects, including defined roles and responsibilities, a focus on the business case, and a step-by-step approach to project delivery.

  5. PMI's PMBOK: The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a framework developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) that provides guidelines for managing projects across a range of industries and project types.

  6. OPPM: The One Page Project Manager is a spreadsheet-based approach to Project Management.

  7. VI Sigma: Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology that focuses on improving processes and reducing defects in products and services. It's often used in manufacturing and other industries where quality control is critical.

In addition to these methodologies, there are several project management practices that can help ensure project success, including:

  • Defining clear project objectives and deliverables
  • Establishing effective communication channels and regular project status updates
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities to team members
  • Developing a comprehensive project plan and schedule
  • Identifying and managing risks throughout the project
  • Monitoring and controlling the project's progress against the plan

Ultimately, the best project management methodology and practices will depend on the specific needs and goals of your project. It's important to assess the unique requirements of the project and choose the approach that's best suited to meet those needs.