I was sitting in Operations Management class on Saturday morning, and we were talking about different philosophies of controlling processes. The professor brought up a slide about the Deming wheel, also known as the PDCA cycle (precusor to Six Sigma's DMAIC procedure).
Here's the Wikipedia explanation of the PDCA cycle (from the page I linked above):
"The steps in each successive PDCA cycle are:
- Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects.
- Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following "CHECK" and "ACT" steps.
- Study the actual results (measured and collected in "DO" above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the "PLAN") to ascertain any differences. Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step "ACT".
- Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyze the differences to determine their root causes. Determine where to apply changes that will include improvement of the process or product. When a pass through these four steps does not result in the need to improve, the scope to which PDCA is applied may be refined to plan and improve with more detail in the next iteration of the cycle."
As we talked about this cycle, I realized that that's how I've always approached parenting, in my own life and here on Ask Moxie. By Any Means Necessary IS the PDCA cycle. Every time we've answered an email with "You think you have one huge problem but you really have six small ones that are ganging up on you, so pick one and test things until you fix it, then move on to the next one, until you're done," that was the PDCA cycle.
This also immediately clarified for me why Ask Moxie readers have been the least judgmental bunch of people I have ever encountered on the internet: We're thinking about parenting as a process, instead of an absolute. It's like we're all business owners with different and non-competing businesses. If you find something that helped your business run better, you share it with someone else, but realize that her business is different from yours, so that one technique may or may not work for her situation.
Also, when you see parenting as a process of trying things and assessing how they work and then keeping or chucking them, you don't see your value as a parent in whether or not you "fix" every one of your kids' problems. Instead, your value as a parent is because you love your child. And the process of trying to troubleshoot problems (whether you end up fixing them or not) is what gives you your skills.
Thoughts? Am I on target with what's been going on here for the past six (6!) years? Or am I just a pattern-seeker and this is off and I should look to my Cost Accounting class for parenting models instead?