If you're old enough; you'd probably remember the whole TQM hype popularized by Japan's miraculous recovery post 2 nuclear bombs and WW2. Here's the thing that management sold in the 60s through to the 80s, that Edward Deming was the guru behind their recovery with the adoption of Deming's Quality philosophy~ Plan->Do->Check->Act yada2...

Here's my take -> pure hogwash! The Japanese as a culture have always been perfectionists and they conquered China while Deming was still pushing papers in university. They even booted the Russian during the Russo-Japanese war circa 1904-05.

So why all the hullabaloo on Deming? Simple; cause he's a Whiteman in Asia (See Halo Effect) and you know what they say about the victor stating history as they see fit. Anyway, fast forward a couple more years and TQM turned into the many ISO variations, British Standards, ITIL, CMMI the list goes on. The latest being "Business Process Management" and "Enterprise Architecture"

In a nutshell, you define all the organization's key processes within its value chain in bringing products and services to the customer; tracking the transformation from raw material to valuables. While doing so you measure the performance of these processes and "optimize" it as you find bottlenecks and weaknesses.

Problem is, what typically happens in Asia is this:-
  1. A 60 page (Asians write poorly so they try to keep it short) document that does not get updated or "optimized" even if it takes 9 months to replace a notebook for the customer. It's either the vendor's fault or the customer filled the requisition forms incorrectly.

  2. A flow document that has RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) roles defined which does not exist in the organization

  3. Everyone goes into a spree of documentation, the team lead gets promoted; then nobody knows what to do with it next.

  4. Every six months, the head of Governance proclaims that the company has moved from CMMI level 3 to 4 then 5. They have a huge party; but it still takes 9 months to replace the said notebook.

  5. The operations team dream up random numbers to incident reports just to fulfill the process criteria.

  6. Folks get shipped to expensive overseas training on the subject only to be transfered 6 months later cause another department is short of staff.

The result of which are fancy websites with process flows and documentation that is as far from reality as the Sales Manager's quarterly predictions. So why do Asian organizations still persist in achieving such certifications?

Simple, cause dark managers are running riot in the company; and there's nothing like process documentations that get thrown at you like it's the Torah. A bureucrats wet dream is to attain ISO certification; and when you have ISO, ITIL and CMMI together; it may as well be an orgy.

p/s: The US Department of Defense Enteprise Architecture Documentation is well over 1,000 pages.


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