Quality Progress - March 2017 - 33


others resist and will need support to get to the other side of the
bridge, or the future state.
Using stakeholder analysis and influence strategy tools, you
can prepare for the final state, but what about the time during
the transition? Is it possible momentum and success can be
gained or lost if stakeholders are not engaged sufficiently or if
those who embrace change move at a pace too quickly for those
who are more reluctant?
Those who are reluctant may need to be engaged more fully
during the project. It's also possible the early adopters may actually need to be held back or slightly slowed in their enthusiasm so
others can catch up, meaning they'll be compressed during the
project, but ultimately accelerating. The approach you take for
final acceptance of the innovation may need to be different from
the approach you will take toward addressing various needs as
you build the transition.
A tool I have developed in recent years to accompany other
quality techniques-including stakeholder analysis and force
field analysis-is the tension-compression (TC) chart. The chart
can be used to supplement a typical stakeholder analysis chart
because the typical stakeholder analysis chart usually depicts
the end-state goal-in other words, the level of support needed
to embrace and implement the change being proposed (see
Table 2, p. 31).
What is equally important, however, is the role each stakeholder
will play while the implementation is underway. Someone who is
supportive could abandon that support if he or she is not engaged
properly. Someone who is opposed to the change can become an
ally if you are able to stretch their growing enthusiasm at just the
right time. It may actually be necessary to slow the pace of some
early adopters to preserve the enthusiasm of others.

Pilot testing

Tension and compression can also be applied in testing. Because
there are too many stories of insufficient testing leading to failures, headaches and even worse situations, it's a good idea to test
a solution or an innovation before releasing or implementing it.
Applying the bridge concept again, use of tension in testing means performing just enough tests to develop a reliable
conclusion-that is, putting some tension on your test results and
stretching them to encompass a larger sample. Sound reasonable? Well, it's the definition of "reliable" that's in question.
Whether the situation dictates speed to market, if
you're looking to launch a minimally viable product
to establish a foothold, or if you're just looking for
guidance from early adopters, a tension approach
makes sense. Liberal use of unit testing and sampling
is needed instead of comprehensive and exhaustive testing of every user scenario and treatment
combination.
On the other hand, if the situation is life or death

FIGURE 5

Striking the right balance of testing
Never
released

Compression
More testing

Tension
Less testing

Released
too soon

(for example, e coli prevention), a follower strategy (product
imitation), or your last chance to retain credibility in your office,
the tension approach may be too risky to employ.
Figure 5 shows the use of compression and tension in testing
as a continuum. In other words, you can spend too much time
and effort on end-to-end or full testing and retesting, and arrive
too late at a final conclusion-that is, too late to be a market
leader or to realize the benefits the team projected. In general,
establishing a level of testing to the right of center is preferred in
Figure 5.
In terms of factorial design (design of experiments), tension is
a screening model used to find indications of critical variables,
whereupon a Six Sigma Black Belt or quality manager can reduce
the model to test those critical X's more thoroughly.

Push and pull

The concept of tension and compression in bridge building and
automotive engineering brings added value to the approaches a
project leader or quality manager might employ to bring process
improvements and innovation initiatives to life.
Think of them as parallel to the push and pull concepts in lean
enterprise: pushing a system closed, pushing good work into a
bad process, pushing people beyond their limits and pushing
more tests when a suitable conclusion can already be reached.
These situations will slow your project without demonstrably
better results.
Remember the positive: Pull work forward when the system is
ready, pull people to your tactical assistance and pull your solution through to those who need it.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The author thanks Charlie Gorman, a civil engineer from Bethlehem Steel
in Pennsylvania, and Brian Lindgren, an R&D manager at Kenworth Truck
Co. in Kirkland, WA, for their guidance in preparing this article.

Tracy Owens is a lean practice leader at Ohio Six
Sigma in Dublin, OH. He has a master's degree in
international business from Seattle University in
Washington. He is a founding member of ASQ's
Innovation Interest Group and co-author of The
Executive Guide to Innovation (ASQ Quality Press,
2013). Owens is an ASQ-certified quality engineer and
a Baldrige examiner for the state of Ohio.

qualityprogress.com ❘ March 2017

QP 33


http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2017

Seen and Heard
Expert Answers
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Field Notes
Innovation Imperative
Hard Wired
Propel Forward
Life After Disruption
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Statistics Spotlight
Standard Issues
Marketplace
Footnotes
Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover1
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover2
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 1
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 2
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 3
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 4
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 5
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 7
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 9
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 11
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 12
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Field Notes
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 15
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 16
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 17
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Innovation Imperative
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 19
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 20
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 21
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Hard Wired
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 23
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 24
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 25
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 26
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 27
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Propel Forward
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 29
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 30
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 31
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 32
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 33
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Life After Disruption
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 35
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 36
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 37
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 38
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 39
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Work Smarter, Not Harder
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 41
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 42
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 43
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 45
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 46
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 47
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 49
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 51
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 53
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 54
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 55
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover3
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover4
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