The Methodology Blog / News

Recent Blog Posts

Reply-All Leads to Gridlock

Process improvement at work usually means using email smarter. One crucial tip for improving email usage is to use the “reply-all” feature sparingly, if at all. (more…)

Outsmarting the Carjackers

When Alan Heuss of Columbus, OH had his car stolen at gunpoint, he assumed the vehicle was lost forever. Then, he realized his cellphone could be used to trap the thieves. A deceptive text message tricked the criminals into revealing their location to the police. (more…)

Excel Macro, You’re Hired

The social news website Reddit hosted a message board conversation between programmers. The topic related to business efficiency: “How many of you are working with at least one person who you could replace with an Excel macro?”

Investing in the Competition

When the Sony Corporation partnered with IBM and Toshiba to design a new processor for the next generation PlayStation 3, everyone understood that IBM might someday sell the chips to another customer. However, no one thought to structure the tri-lateral agreement to prevent such a competitor like Microsoft from buying the processors before they were even finished. (more…)

Efficiency the Japanese Way

Thanks to some recent reforms, it’s much less complex to die in Maine. The average time required to issue death certificates is down from over three months to just five days. These dramatic improvements in local governments come from process improvement approach called “kaizen”, which originated in Japan. (more…)

Counting is Fundamental

Babies who are brand new to the world are not only adorable, but brilliant. According to The Economist, they can differentiate between two and three objects. (more…)

The Extremely Scenic Route

Here’s a word problem for you: a train filled with 450 passengers was scheduled to leave at 2:15PM on Monday, but gets stuck in Chicago’s Union Station until 1:22PM on Tuesday. Those on board had no access to food, water or reliable restrooms. What happened? (more…)

Additional Streams of Bribery

Middle class Americans might hope to generate some extra income by running a home-based business, taking a second job or managing some rental property, but the struggling Russian economy provides less options. The only way for many to get by is krutimsya, meaning “we hustle [for bribes].” (more…)

Bad Economy, Longer Weekends?

Here’s some good news in a down economy. If you’re on the cusp of unemployment: Accept three day weekends and you get to keep your job. Instead of having employees work overtime to compensate for financial distress, employers are handing out vacation time. (more…)

A Passion for License Plates

One secret to engaged employees: true passion for their work. Those seeking increased productivity and employee satisfaction can learn something from the metal plates attached to vehicles. (more…)

Under the Influence of Texting

Banning texting while driving is an attempt to save lives. But what can state legislators learn from business process improvement when it comes to influencing stakeholder behaviors? (more…)

Loving a Dirty Job

Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, doesn’t just adore his own work. He notes that stars of his program—with their unusual, disgusting jobs—are surprisingly ecstatic about their own careers. Who could love a dirty job? (more…)

Search Results: Influenza

Google usually answers your questions, but did you know it can predict the future? Flu Trends aggregates historical search data to foretell where the flu will strike next. Is there anything Google doesn’t know?

You Can’t Patent Process

A federal appeals court has issued a powerful ruling for the world of process improvement: business processes cannot be patented. (more…)

Death to Performance Reviews

Dr. Samuel Culbert, a leading business professor from UCLA, hates performance reviews. “To my way of thinking,” he asserts, “a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense [to preserve authority].” (more…)

Flights Cancelled, Answers Deferred

A computer failure at JFK airport led to huge luggage delays, five cancelled flights, and days of headaches. Airline foul-ups aren’t exactly news, but the words from company official a were downright frustrating. Apparently she “could not estimate when the system will be working again or how many passengers have been affected.” (more…)

Mayor’s Delayed Action Center

The Mayor’s Action Center in Indianapolis receives over 200,000 calls each year, mostly to inform local government about issues like broken traffic signals, stray animals, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles and graffiti. MAC’s work is a massive endeavor and great public service, but according to StarWatch, “they print out Web forms and send them in interoffice mail to the appropriate department.” (more…)

The Golden Handshake

We have all exchanged a friendly handshake with a stranger when introduced by a mutual friend. For Mark Gurrieri, this experience saved him from a rare and deadly form of brain cancer. (more…)

Europe Leads in IT Efficiency

The US is falling behind counterparts in Europe in providing beneficial technology services, according to a study by Computer Associates. The issues are not with product knowledge, expertise or system availability, but the quality of processes. (more…)

Winning by Failing

How do you feel about errors? “If everything goes right all the time,” writes Paul Brown in the New York Times, “you are less likely to try something new.” (more…)

Disorganization Causes Disappearances

Is it unreasonable to say that black holes exist only in outer space? To the disorganized employee, peeved by their own mess, perhaps not. Piles at work lead to lost items. (more…)

Paying by the Hour

These days, dropping $4 for a cappuccino or a few grand for a fancy flatscreen television is a considered a typical purchase, not a wasteful extravagance. So how do we react to hourly wages? (more…)

From Russia, With Frustration

If you are concerned about productivity in your workplace, you are not alone. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the principal issue with his nation’s economy is “extreme inefficiency.” (more…)

Drastic Measures, Drastic Results

Lawmakers in Washington state decided to curb property tax growth through a fixed cap. But as with many approaches, a simple approach in a complex system leads to unintended consequences. (more…)

Printing Errors Violate Trust

When renewal forms were sent out in the mail to the members of the Australian Football League, they included key information. But they also presented a serious mistake. (more…)