OPTION #1. Innovation
Describe how innovation is sponsored, or could be sponsored, in a firm of your choosing. (“Innovation”, nor merely “process improvement”). You should read Clayton Christensen as a key part of your research.
(You can complete the “small” assignment on innovation without reading Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma, but to choose the large assignment, you must read his book.)
OPTION #2. Project Management
Describe an actual project, using one of these three categories. Choose the category that is most appropriate for the project you are discussing.
Describe in detail how an actual project was conducted, or how the plan for a future product is being created. Discuss the importance of the quality vs budget vs timeline tradeoffs. For this project, when problems occur, will quality, budget, or timeline be the most important? Your response should include Gantt charts and/or Critical Path diagrams, along with associated calculations. Were expectations clearly documented? Can you discuss any points in the project where errors were (or were not) captured which did (or did not) save the firm from future costs? What lessons have been learned?
Some ideas for possible projects you could review:
a) Planning an important event. (A project for which the timeline is the most important.)
b) Development and installation of a new software for your company. (A project for which the quality should be the most important.)
c) Development of a new product. (A product for which long-term cost is probably the most important.) If your project choice is a new product development, then I encourage you to read The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries.
OPTION #3. Lean improvements
Create an action plan for Lean in an organization you choose. Either pick an existing process that could be “leaned”, or describe how a new process could be created using Lean principles. Your response should show that you understand the measures typically used in Lean, and the usual steps involved in applying Lean principles.
You can use Lean in a service organization. It does not have to be manufacturing.
If you choose this option, I strongly encourage you to also do the “7 Wastes” and also the “Toyota Case Study” for your “small” assignments, so that you understand more about Lean.
Please remember: I do not care if you use the word “Lean” in this description. The word “Lean” was pushed forward by James Womack, author of The Machine that Changed the World. It is the most commonly used word to describe the Toyota Production System. Toyota does not use the word Lean themselves, and if you dig around you will find many people who try to avoid that word when talking about Toyota’s methods.
People who practice these methods might call them instead: “Kaizen”, “JIT”, or “Toyota Production System”.
OPTION #4. Management Styles in Service Operations
Recall the 3 difference management styles I talked about in class: (Messiah, Servant, or Commander).
Write an analysis of the management style in 1 real-life service firm of your choice, or in 2 to 3 firms within a single service industry. How does management measure “success”? Does management emphasize quality in the way espoused by Juran? Are the concepts of the service-profit chain used? Would they be appropriate? What specific improvements do you believe are possible?
Your response should describe both how to make the improvement and why the improvement would be beneficial. Please try to stay focused on ideas that will make the service operations successful even at the lowest level, even though you may be discussing the behavior and styles of upper-management.
OPTION #5. Prevention Costs
The ideas of Crosby and also Shingo help us understand how increasing our quality can decrease our costs.
Please do a little bit of research to understand the ideas of these two famous authors. You might need to read their books – Quality is Free, and Zero Quality Control. Create an action plan for an organization you choose. Describe how a specific problem could be permanently solved, and quality improved. Your response will be best if you are able to use some of the quality tools we discussed in class. You might need to do more research on your own to understand some of these tools.