Xenex Healthcare Services has created a robot that disinfects hospital rooms. The machine can disinfect a hospital room in 10 minutes when it normally takes a human to clean the same room an hour. The robot uses pulsed xenon technology to deliver high-intensity, broad-spectrum ultraviolet light to kill bacteria on surfaces and in the air without contact or chemicals. The machine was designed to be portable; it is about the size of a trash can.
FHN in northern Illinois is the first healthcare entity to utilize a Xenex robot. FHN Presient and CEO Michael Perry said, “The Xenex system has been proven to be 20 times more effective at killing pathogens than standard chemical cleaning.”
Sharklet Technologies Inc has created a pattern that mimics shark skin which is microbe resistant, and inhibits bacterial survival. Sharklet is applying this bacterial resistant pattern to medical devices and consumer goods. A study showed it reducing baterial contamination by 99.9% compared to unpatterned materials.
In hospitals, catheter-associated urinary tract infections are the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. Sharket is currently developing a catheter which uses their micro-patterned technology to prevent the survival of bacteria with the intent to reduce catheter-associated unirary tract infections.
Sharket’s technology is also being used in childcare, food service, public bathrooms, and fitness facilities.
- Law #1: Collaboration and projects are inseparable.
Projects are the way organizations get things done. A project embodies goals, objectives, deliverables, resources, plans, promises, and purpose. Chatter and content that is independent from projects is, frankly, just entertainment. If it were otherwise, all we’d need is the Facebook Corporate Edition and we’d be set. Social features on their own have no structure and no direction.
Law #2: Every participant must benefit from participating.
Classic project management creates value for managers but not team members. “What’s in it for me?” must be answerable for every member of the team to achieve real engagement with the process and tools. Think Facebook meets Project Management.
Law #3: Transparency must be maximized.
You hired smart people; don’t overly narrow their focus by limiting their possibilities to communicate and connect ideas. Transparency will create more motivation, more engagement, and more innovation. This is why a web solution is a no brainer: people want to be connected. No need to stop at team members; extending collaboration and transparency to clients, partners, and contractors is just as smart.
Law #4: Autonomy must be maximized.
Delivering autonomy will be the biggest benefit for team members. Put as much ownership of data, estimates, and control as possible into team members’ hands. Then, intelligently aggregate information for managers. Trust people to make smart contributions, but keep a public audit trail for accountability (think Wikipedia).
Law #5: Estimating and scheduling must be realistic.
Honesty, integrity, and trust are pillars of organizational character. But when we build and enforce bad schedules, we erode all three at great expense to the organization. Any realistic schedule requires dealing with the realities of uncertainty, balancing workloads, and making justifiable promises. For 21st century projects, this requires a good real-time scheduling engine, preferably one that uses ranged-estimates to manage uncertainty.
Ian Bell of Adept Knowledge Management discusses the attributes of a good Project Manager.
20 PROJECT MANAGEMENT BLOGS
- Project Shrink Though software projects have been Bas de Baar’sspecialty, his thoughts on project management in general are increasingly sought after on the internet. He’s become a bit of a guru, with posts like “Fifth Discipline: What to Do When All Your Projects are Failing.”
- Bob Sutton: Work Matters There’s a reason Bob Sutton keeps getting book deals. His project management and all-around leadership advice is often priceless, even when it’s simple (or laced with certain profanities). Case in point: “Do You End Meetings on Time?”
- Herding Cats The expertise of Glen Alleman shines on this blog, with posts such as this one on increasing the probability of project success, called “Back to Basics.“
- Project Management Hut Readers will find job listings here, as well as innovative tips like how to use a weather metaphor next time you assess the state of your project.
- PM Crunch This blog from multiple contributors offers various insights on the topic of project management, including this post from John Reilly on Software as a Service–otherwise known as” SaaS.”
- Raven’s Brain Here, Raven Young gives readers great highlights of the blogosphere on project management. In this way, her blog is a gateway to many other points of view.
- A Girl’s Guide to Project Management This blogger, Elizabeth Harrin, offers a distinctly feminine viewpoint, but she has the all around expertise to pull it off for any gender. An example? “What Are You Worth?”
- PM Majik This blog comes from multiple contributors, contains a job board, and contains a stellar post posing the question “Are You A Prima Donna PM?” It’s a worthwhile read–if nothing else, you have to see the image topping the post.
- Gary Gagliardi’s Blog He seems to be on the blogroll of every project management blogger around. Maybe it’s him or maybe it’s the Science of Strategy Institute behind him, but Gary offers up insights like “What Isn’t Changing in the Twenty-First Century?”
- Project Management Bistro The project management community site PM Boulevard sponsors this blog, with great tips like this article from guest blogger Raven Young (see #6) called “4 Keys to Successful Project Management.”
- PM Think! This blog from multiple contributors has been around for years, and still manages to find interesting things to say. Example? “Project Managers Specialize in the Project Management Lifestyle.”
- Crossderry Coming from experienced project manager Paul Ritchie, the beauty of this blog is typically found in it’s simplicity. No long rants or lectures here, just quick tidbits of advice, food for thought or simply quotes, like this one from Abraham Lincoln.
- Zen, Project Management and Life This one from Bob Tarne has been going strong for four years, with thought-provoking posts like this one: “Can You Share Best Practices?”
- Eight to Late This insightful blog goes deep and even includes graphics to help project managers who learn visually. An interesting sample, from creator Kailash Awati: “A Communication-Centric Approach to Tackling Project Complexity.”
- Beaufortes Blog Blog creators and co-founders of Beaufortes Jason Bates and Philip Greenwood prefer innovation in project management, and it shows in their blog. An example? The N-Gage Process.
- Better Projects Here, you ‘ll find Craig Brown’s musings on project management. Sometimes his thoughts are brief, but almost always helpful, such as “The Better Projects Scrum Reading List.”
- How to Manage a Camel This blog from Arras People includes a lot of project management outsourcing advice, such as “How to Maximize Short Term Project Management Contracts.”
- Cutting’s Edge Here, blogger Thomas Cutting instills his wisdom for project management with posts like“Killing False Confidence.”
- The Tao of Project Management This blog’s title isn’t just a cute play on words. Blogger John Carroll is serious in his observations of Taoism and the art of proper project management. Take a look at this convicting post: “Owning or Being Owned.”
- PM Karma Though it’s a smaller blog, from a blogger named Sreejith, it is impressive in the areas of practicality and thoroughness. Check out Sreejith’s review of project management software 5PM.
5 AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT BLOGS
- Agile Blog When Jean Tabaka and Ryan Martens (founder of Rally Software) talk Agile, people listen. This blog has a growing following for posts like this one: “8 Ways to Re-Tool a PMO in an AgileEnvironment.”
- Agile Thoughts This blog from Agile consultant Tobias Mayer has a solid following for thoughtful posts about things like this: the place of Scrum in the world.
- Drunken PM Here, Dave Prior offers Scrum and Agile project management thoughts and a lot of humor. A good sample? “Done, Done and the Bag of Oranges.” (P.S. He will be the first to tell you, he did not come up with the concept–but he might just word it the best.)
- Agile Project Management This blog from Patrick Merg proves Agile is “more than a method, it’s a mindset” with posts like this one on “MoSCoW.”
- Tommy Norman Posts like “How Scrum Are You?” might make Agile purists cringe, but Norman seems to maintain balance.
ECRI Institute has been awarded a multi-year contract from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the first national Healthcare Horizon Scanning System. The new system will serve to identify and monitor new healthcare technologies that promise significant impact on patient care and health outcomes.
Officials say the goal of horizon scanning is to provide a comprehensive, systematic, transparent process for identifying, tracking and monitoring new healthcare technologies, including drugs, medical devices, procedures, services and care delivery innovations that could signal important changes in patient care, health outcomes, or the healthcare system.
The horizon scanning process will contribute to AHRQ’s deliberations for allocating resources for patient-centered outcomes research, and be a resource for the public more broadly.
“Every day we hear about new technologies that may lead to breakthroughs in medical science and patient care,” says Karen Schoelles, MD, project director of the Healthcare Horizon Scanning System, and director, ECRI Institute’s Evidence-based Practice Center. “Through this exciting new program, we will assist AHRQ in identifying those interventions that hold promise for addressing the agency’s priority health conditions.”
AHRQ has identified fourteen high priority areas for horizon scanning and patient-centered outcomes research:
- cardiovascular diseases
- developmental delays
- functional limitations
- infectious disease
- peptic ulcer disease
- pulmonary disease
- and substance abuse
“We will use a broad range of strategies and information resources to gather leads, collect information and diverse perspectives, and synthesize and report on them,” says Vivian H. Coates, vice president of Health Technology Assessment and Information Services at ECRI Institute. “Thought leaders from throughout the healthcare sector will be invited to offer insights at several points in the research process to help us understand the contextual landscape in which new healthcare technologies and services could come into widespread use.”
ECRI Institute is the world’s largest independent, nonprofit health technology assessment and patient safety organization, and dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs and processes best enable improved patient care. ECRI Institute has served as an Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) to AHRQ since the inception of the EPC Program in 1997.
“Our 43 years of healthcare experience in comparative effectiveness research, and in evaluating the likely future use of technologies, has made us keenly aware of the usefulness of building a robust public sector horizon scanning system,” says Jeffrey C. Lerner, CEO and president, ECRI Institute. “Under the AHRQ-mandated objective and transparent research process, ECRI is contractually committed to an independent look back at the accuracy of our work.”
Officials said ECRI Institute’s three main subcontractors, The Lewin Group, Thompson Reuters Healthcare and Mathematica, were selected for their rich experience in healthcare horizon scanning activities, understanding of context that affects healthcare technology utilization and diffusion, and ability to independently assess the validity of a new healthcare horizon scanning system.
Six Sigma is not just another project management initiative or process improvement programme. Six Sigma is not just a new term for project management nor is it a mere repackaging of old concepts. It is more than that because it is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural and statistical methodologies. Six Sigma is complementary with existing project management programmes and standards but differs in significant ways. Both disciplines seek to reduce failures, prevent defects, control costs and schedules, and manage risk. Generally, professional project management attempts to achieve these goals by encouraging best practices on a project-by-project basis, often through the mechanism of a project office that promulgates policy, provides templates and advice, promotes appropriate use of tools such as critical path method, and perhaps performs periodic project reviews.
Too many project management methods have failed not because they weren’t adding value but because you couldn’t measure the effectiveness of the methodology or quantify the value added by process changes. Six Sigma provides a structured data-driven methodology with tools and techniques that companies can use to measure their performance both before and after Six Sigma projects. Using Six Sigma, management can measure the baseline performance of their processes and determine the root causes of variations so they can improve their processes to meet and exceed the desired performance levels.
Six Sigma allows managers to take their projects to new levels of discipline and comprehensive commitment. For standard project management ideas, you can approach them ad hoc and implement them as you learn them. You can’t do Six Sigma halfheartedly, and that is a good thing. Six Sigma is not for dabblers. You can’t implement it piecemeal. If you’re in, you’re in deep, and you’re in for the long haul. Again, that is a good thing because that level of commitment not only gets everyone involved and keeps them involved but also leads to more substantial and far-reaching change in your processes.
There are many challenges facing project managers: data gathering and analysis, problem solving, understanding and evaluating existing processes, developing and tracking measurements in a standardised manner, and making quantitative evaluations. Six Sigma methodology provides tools and techniques to help a manager be successful in all of these challenges. This success is accomplished by means of understanding what the methodology is, how it is applied, and how it used.
Six Sigma is not simply another supplement to an organisation’s existing management methods. It is a complementary management methodology that is integrated into and replaces the existing ways of determining, analysing, and resolving/avoiding problems, as well as achieving business and customer requirements objectively and methodically. Six Sigma can be applied to operational management issues, or it can directly support strategic management development and implementation. Six Sigma’s set of tools are more broadly applicable than those commonly applied within typical project management. Six Sigma is more oriented toward solutions of problems at their root cause and prevention of their recurrence rather than attempting to control potential causes of failure on a project-by-project basis.
The breadth, depth, and precision of Six Sigma also differentiate it from typical project management. Six Sigma has a well-defined project charter that outlines the scope of a project, financial targets, anticipated benefits, milestones, etc. It’s based on hard financial data and savings. In typical project management, organisations go into a project without fully knowing what the financial gains might be. Six Sigma has a solid control phase (DMAIC: Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control) that makes specific measurements, identifies specific problems, and provides specific solutions that can be measured.
Six Sigma is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural methodologies such as Total Quality Management (TQM), process control strategies such as Statistical Process Control (SPC), and other important statistical tools. When done correctly, Six Sigma becomes a way toward organisation and cultural development, but it is more than a set of tools. Six Sigma is the strategic and systematic application of the tools on targeted important projects at the appropriate time to bring about significant and lasting change in an organisation as a whole.
Six Sigma projects can be defined as the process through which companies are able to reduce defects and improve the quality of business processes.
A comprehensive glossary of Six Sigma terms and acronyms used in managing Six Sigma projects.
Despite Lean Six Sigma being around for over twenty years now, it is remarkable that a significant number of companies and individuals still don’t really know what it is. Oh, they’ve heard of it, and may even have been involved in it, but when it comes to defining it or reaping the huge benefits it can offer, then far too many are still in the dark. A few of the frequently asked questions from students and companies regarding Lean Six Sigma and how to use it are answered here.
Six Sigma project charters are basically blueprints of the targeted Six Sigma quality improvement initiative. They are deemed important because it is only through them can the management hope to communicate the exact Six Sigma implementation roadmap to the implementation team.
The scientific tools and techniques no doubt contribute a lot towards the success of Six Sigma improvement projects, but they just cannot be taken as the sole factors responsible for Six Sigma’s effectiveness because they only compliment the inherent logic underlining Six Sigma and as such are no more than a means to an end.
Six Sigma projects are carried out to improve business performance and obtain measurable financial results. Selecting a project is a tedious job for almost all Six Sigma companies. Even though the organisations can spot a wide range of project opportunities, they often find it tough to pack and size the opportunities to create noteworthy projects.
For achieving organisational objectives, more and more businesses are now implementing quality improvement methodologies such as Total Quality Management, Total Quality Control and Six Sigma across all functional departments inside their organisations.
Six Sigma has certainly helped organisations to improve efficiency and quality, but just like any other quality-improvement concept, it is not completely free from limiting factors. For example, the biggest concern with Six Sigma is long project cycle times, which can reduce the overall value of benefits derived from the project or even completely nullify the derived benefits.
Although it is accepted that extraordinary levels of quality improvement are possible only by a radical change in management philosophy, leading to change in organisational culture, the fact remains that the exercise of undertaking process improvement projects cannot be overlooked for actual change to occur. Projects are the bridge between two parts, comprising of planning and doing. Although apparently similar, project and planning are different in scope.
Although one cannot have a project-specific vision right from the very beginning of a Six Sigma initiative, you can develop a comprehensive viewpoint. An all-encompassing viewpoint definitely helps to reach out beyond the scope of the project.
Six Sigma projects can be defined as the process through which companies are able to reduce defects and improve the quality of business processes. However, the success of any Six Sigma project depends on a number of factors such as clearly defined objectives, management support and approval, and proper training of Six Sigma teams associated with the project.
The successful implementation of any Six Sigma project depends on the ability of Six Sigma professionals such as black belts to break down a large project into smaller manageable sub-projects. This breaking down of mammoth projects into several smaller projects is technically referred to as work-breakdown structure (WBS).
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) became an accepted standard (as established by the Project Management Institute) that is still widely used in many industries around the world. At a basic level, many of the methodologies advocated by PMBOK and Six Sigma have a great deal in common. Both seek to establish a sound plan; identify and communicate with stakeholders; conduct regular reviews; and manage schedule, cost, and resources.
IBM Next 5 in 5 2011
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