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Management Principles #11

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Principle 11 (ISO 9000): Clear and Unambiguous Communications

  • Translation from "technocrat" to "user".

  • Objectivity when dealing with other specialists, especially from those outside the company.

  • Professional drawings and consistent, clear labeling.

Remember the "Telephone Game" you used to play when you were a kid? A group sits around in a circle, and one individual whispers a message that was written down for no one to see into the ear of the next person. Each participant turns and whispers the same message they just heard into the ear of the next, and so on. The last person says the message out loud for all to hear, and everyone gets a laugh when the first individual reads the original message.

The AV industry creates complex systems that require a myriad of specialized skills. These skills are usually 'departmentalized" for efficiency: marketing, business development, sales, engineering, drafting, programming, fabrication, shipping and receiving, field installation, field servicing, etc. There is also an all-important "message" in our game that is passed down from one department to the next, and that message is "what the customer ordered". Unfortunately, it is not always that laughable when the customer tells the team what the original message was after the system is finally installed. Even more unfortunate is the fact that not everyone is present when that happens - it may be just the service team.

The problem is exacerbated when the specialization of effort lies outside the AV company, such as outside contractors, vendors, and other trades on the Project Team. Mistakes inevitably happen, and they get more costly to correct the later they are detected in the development of the system. AV companies provide custom, one-of-a-kind "products". It's complicated work. All players are advised to be objective, clear, concise, and complete when it comes to the precious flow of information when providing audio-visual technology.

  • Do your proposals include a plain language, unambiguous narrative of what exactly the system is supposed to do that the customer signed off on?

  • Do your Design Reviews include participation by sales and the customer?

  • Are your submissions explained to the customer?

  • Are your drawings complete, clear, and concise?

  • Is your labeling inventory consistent between user interface, system documentation, and physical label markings such as switcher designation strips?

"Defects are not free. Somebody makes them and gets paid for making them.” - W. Edward Deming

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