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Don Philip Faithful's Blog Posts Tagged 'management' (56)

Market Alignment - An Application of Systems Theory for Organizations

The main components of systems theory that readers might remember are “inputs,” “processes,” and “outputs.”  The part that tends to get neglected is “feedback mechanisms.”  These mechanisms tell the system the extent to which operations fit the environment.  If there is lack of fitness, there is stress.  One adaptive impulse is to make processes more complex and intelligent - i.e. sometimes described as the fight response.  Another impulse is to give up and run away - i.e. the flight…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 23, 2018 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Fugues of Operational Market Alignment

In the “Ecology of Metrics,” I wrote about “alignment” being a type of metric; alignment can measure the extent to which an organization’s supply or capacity is matched against the demands or needs of the market.  For instance, in a call centre, it would be highly desirable to have agents available to respond to calls at “precisely” the same time that clients are making calls.  If alignment is off even by only 15 to 30 seconds, impatient clients might hang up and never call again.  Similarly…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 2, 2018 at 5:00am — No Comments

Ecology of Metrics

Although I deal with many different types of metrics, I believe they can be generally classified as follows: 1) time use; 2) alignment; 3) production; 4) performance; 5) service; 6) and market.  In this blog, I will be providing some comments pertaining to each.  Although I have yet to encounter any myself, I am certain that there must be text books on the issue of operational metrics and how to make use of them.  However, I personally developed nearly all of those that I use.  Although I do…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 26, 2018 at 9:00am — No Comments

Reconciling Opposing Performance Metrics Using Operational Simulations

Sometimes when dealing with performance metrics, there are contradictory signals.  For instance, although both are desirable, it is common for efficiency and efficacy to be in opposition.  An agent in a call centre can handle lots of calls while at the same time getting few sales; this is especially true if the agent’s main objective is to do lots of calls.  This is a highly efficient person albeit unsuccessful in terms of expanding the business.  Conversely, another agent by spending a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 6, 2018 at 3:30am — No Comments

Technical Boundary Analysis

About a month ago, I posted a blog on “Technical Deconstruction.” I described this as a technique to break down aggregate data to distinguish between its contributing parts: these parts might contain unique characteristics compared to the aggregate.  For instance, I suggested that it can be helpful to break down data by workday - that is to say, maintaining separate data for each day of the week.  I said that the data could be further deconstructed perhaps by time period and employee: the…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 14, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

Technical Deconstruction

The term “technical analysis” usually refers to the study of stock prices.  A technical analyst might use real-time or closing prices of stocks to predict future prices.  This is an interesting concept because of what is normally excluded from the analysis - namely, everything except prices.  Given that the approach doesn’t necessarily consider the health or profitability of the underlying companies, a purely technical approach seems to offer guidance that is disconnected from reality.  Yet…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 17, 2018 at 3:00am — No Comments

Little Hitler Syndrome

What most people call “analysis,” I refer to this as “guidance.”  It is not guidance in terms of guiding the company; but rather, I provide a narrative to help guide people through the data - of which there is a great deal.  I play the role of a tour guide.  I remember when I was a teaching assistant for a social science class - and there was a contentious area that would likely be the focal point for essays - I said that it didn’t matter to me what “opinions” people expressed.  Nobody had…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 3, 2018 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

When Aggregates Fail

In general, any expression of performance that applies to a department can, if the data system is configured properly, be stated in relation to individual workers.  For instance, if # of sales contracts / # of customer enquiries = success rate, the success rate can be given for the entire dealership and also for each sales agent in that dealership.  Due to the differences in performance between agents, it can be problematic to only make use of the aggregate.  Some agents might be blamed for…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 25, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

The Theory of Theory

Since I am sometimes asked to explain phenomena in the absence of data, it becomes necessary to determine what data is required to explain phenomena.  Some would say the best approach is to develop and test a hypothesis - to start filling a void of space with pinholes of light - until there are enough lit pinholes to provide a working theory.  This is not to say that a few additional…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on January 20, 2018 at 6:00am — No Comments

Infereferencing Algorithm

I once posted about making use of narrative objects.  In this blog, I will be discussing an algorithm that supports the creation of these objects.  I call it my “Infereferencing Algorithm”: this term is most easily pronounced with a slight pause between “infer” and “referencing.”  I consider this a useful and widely applicable algorithm although I don’t believe it operates well in a relational database environment.  Instead, I use “mass data files”:  these contain unstructured lumps of…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 31, 2017 at 8:00am — No Comments

Judging Health Through Metrics of Conformance

I have written in the past about the difference between market demand and operational capacity - and how difficult it is to determine what exactly is being measured in relation to either.  Has the demand for a product declined, or is the organization simply less capable of satisfying it?  For example, the fact there are no bananas in the grocery store does not mean that there is no demand for bananas; but the absence of revenues from the sale of bananas might be regarded, rather erroneously,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 9, 2017 at 10:30am — No Comments

Quantitative Alienation in the Workplace

For my graduate paper, I studied perceptions of workplace stress through the critical lens of social disablement.  Writing this paper was certainly an intellectual exercise that at the time didn’t seem to have many practical applications.  I am therefore honoured to become better acquainted with the “mechanics” of quantitative alienation through my day-to-day duties.  I respect the fact that I can’t share any substantial details about my actual work processes on a blog.  It will therefore be…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on November 4, 2017 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Operational Data and Social Justice

I spotted an interesting book in my local library recently:  The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada [1].  I thought to myself, our government spent considerable resources on this commission.  I should at least browse through the final report.  I flipped through the first few pages.  I found a note saying that the contents are public domain.  In this blog, I reproduce some of the contents of the report to create a setting for my discussion on operational data. …

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on August 6, 2017 at 5:00am — No Comments

Using Selection to Find Superman - More on Demand and Capacity

During my childhood, our school librarian said that I was invited to attend a conference of writers.  I felt honoured and privileged.  I asked what the writers intended to ask me.  She smiled and said that actually I would be asking the writers questions.  Not quite sure why I would ask these people anything and why their thoughts would matter, I nodded anyways and at some point attended the most boring event imaginable for a young child.  I thought I had died, I really did.  I sat there…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 7, 2017 at 6:00am — No Comments

Embedding Narrative Sense into Web Documents

I was joking when I entered on Google, “Where was my coworker yesterday?”  After reviewing the responses that appeared from the search engine, I continued, “What did she eat for breakfast?”  Sometimes the responses to my everyday questions seem insightful - on a certain level, interesting and intriguing.  Usually the quality of the responses is quite poor.  I assume therefore that the algorithms operating in the background don’t “understand” the sense of what I am asking.  If I were to ask,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 1, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments

Influencing Behaviour Using Persuasive Data

I came across the story of a manager who felt that the best way to encourage desirable behaviours was through reward and humiliation.  This encouragement occurred indirectly through what I would describe as “persuasive data”:  a table of data went out each week showing the best and worst performing employees.  Everyone in the team could see the stats plainly along with the names of coworkers.  They were encouraged to make comparisons.  This represents an aggressive use of data.  From my…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 18, 2017 at 5:51am — No Comments

Being an Ontologist

I am sometimes asked whether I am working on the stats, whether I am making progress on the stats, and what I do with all of the stats.  People are also prone to hyperbole.  I am told that I sure work on a lot of stats, I am always keeping myself busy doing stats, and I am the person to go to for stats.  I suppose my real job is more mysterious than the one others imagine that I do.  I first want to explain that for everyday people, the term “stats” or “statistics” often means historical…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 11, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments

Internal Capacity, External Demand, and the Metrics of Consumption

In my blogs, I often distinguish between event data and metrics.  I usually say something to the effect that events help to explain the metrics - or events “provide the story behind the metrics.”  In this blog, I will be discussing two competing lines of thought behind events:  internal capacity and external demand.  Why do sales appear much lower for the month of June compared to July?  Some explanations relating to internal capacity are as follows:  “There weren’t enough agents in June to…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 18, 2017 at 6:30am — No Comments

Externalizing to Structural Capital

I recall somebody mentioning that the former definition for insanity is doing an action repeatedly while expecting different results.  Among the interests that I have in organizations is how at times many organizations make the same mistakes; or how sometimes the same mistake might be made by a particular organization repetitively.  So it is fascinating indeed when an airline facing an ice storm encounters much the same complaints from customers after a similar storm the previous year.  I…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 11, 2017 at 9:42am — No Comments

Gaining the Context from the Deconstruction of Metrics

I find myself habitually using the term "metrics." When I first started blogging, I normally used this term only in reference to performance metrics. These are not ordinary "readings" but rather criteria-driven amounts - the criteria being performance. Over the years I have come to recognize that data-gathering is normally premised on some type of criteria. When compiling revenue data, it should be noted that analysts are seeking out data pertaining to revenues. The quest is predefined. The…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on January 7, 2017 at 7:02am — No Comments

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