Your personal quality journey is more about understanding yourself than any best practice framework. But companies must account for all assets— people, processes, and tools.

Each of our own personal journeys contribute to the wicked nature of improvement projects and trying to understand both ourselves and each other may be the most important element of success.

At a corporate level we should take a systems-thinking view and incorporate each aspect of the system (people, process, and tools) into account. A traditional view of process improvement can take place at any segment or depth of a stream of work.

This can lead to — through the best intentions of many different people — a complex patchwork of practices and a Rube Goldberg approach to service management. It can seem like the more we try to improve, the more complicated things get.

“No matter how thin you slice it it’s still baloney.”

Rube Goldberg

The Old Man and the Hose

He was nearly blind, couldn’t hear well, and his tired old bones ached. But he still loved to putter around, and today it was the garden hose.

As I listened to the old man explain what he wanted, it didn’t seem to make any sense. He wanted to cut the hose, add different shutoff valves, and use a variety of connectors and clamps for purposes that seemed terribly overcomplicated.

Each cut in the hose added multiple clamps, each of which had the potential to leak. Why he insisted on this Rube Goldberg was a mystery to me.

But then it occurred to me that it wasn’t about hoses at all, it was simply about the puttering, and the more twists and turns the better.


Of course, it’s not supposed to be this way. Each organization must determine which part of which practice framework will meet their needs, and having best practice guidance to copy from can save us a lot of time and effort.

So, go ahead and leverage practice frameworks. However, service management can be simplified if each organization integrates these practices into a unified, coherent service management architecture.

The USM method gives new life to some old thinking. USM supports an integral and integrated management approach which restores and optimizes the control over each service team’s contribution to the whole system. An integrated, non-redundant process model with 5 processes and a simple set of 8 workflows serve as templates for all daily routines in any service providers’ practice.

So, avoid service management’s Rube Goldberg and use the USM method to provide the structure that is critically needed to address cultural change, innovation, and effective governance of transformative change efforts and a level of interoperability needed for success in today’s complex, multi-provider service ecosystems.

You have a pet theory, one you have been turning over for years, that life itself is a kind of Rube Goldberg device, an extremely complicated machine designed to carry out the extremely simple task of constructing your soul.

Kevin Brockmeier

Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d