Rabu, 17 Julai 2013

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Indelible Ink: A Little Exercise for Young Quality Professionals

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 09:12 AM PDT

A cross-functional project team has been set up. Called a Core Team, the team has been given an objective: they must introduce the use of indelible ink during elections conducted by the Election Commission. The team has to "do everything." The only constraint is time: the team must disband after six months.

The team meets for the first time. The leader, appointed by the Election Commission, begin work. The first question everyone has is "What's our goal?" The leader, a Senior Manager with budget approval and hiring authority, facilitates a discussion to define the goal. The team members are comprised of one front-line user and representatives from R&D, purchasing, quality, distribution, training and legal. 3M sticky notes are handed out.

After some introductory remarks by the Core Team Leader (CTL), each person is asked to write on a sticky note what he or she thinks is the goal. After 5 minutes of thinking and 5 minutes of scribbling, the sticky notes are put up on a flip chart. The CTL facilitates a discussion to boil down the individual statements into a goal statement for the project.

Goal statement. After hours of discussion, the team has this goal statement:

"At an election to be held twelve months from today, through the use of indelible ink, it will be possible for an election agent to determine by visual observation of the voter whether that voter has already voted in the present election."

That goal statement is very similar to the terms of reference provided by the Board – which, in this case, is the 7 member Election Commission. The benefit of the goal statement is that it's been generated by those who must get the work done. So, it's in their own language, with an appropriate level of practicality.

It's clear now that their job is more than the selection of ink. Their job is the selection, design, and implementation of an overall system. What are they to do next?

I hope you realize how complex this is. Here's my quick list of concerns the team must consider (it usually takes days of teamwork, and is many pages in length): 
  1. Under the present laws, can voters be compelled to have the ink applied to them?
  2. Will the ink harm people, whether through absorption through the skin or through contact with food?
  3. Will use of the ink deter people from voting because of cosmetic or real or perceived health reasons?
  4. Will the presence of chemicals on the skin, e.g. lotions, or nail colouring or varnish impair the working of the ink?
  5. For how long must the ink remain visible after application on the skin? Why?
  6. How quickly must the ink dry after application? Why?
  7. Will the age, colour or condition of a voter's skin impact the performance of the ink?
  8. Will the age of the ink at the time of use impact the performance of the ink?
  9. Will shipping, storage and usage conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity) impact the performance of the ink?
  10. Will common knowledge about the source, composition and shipping of the ink provide opportunity for certain elements of society to sabotage the election?
  11. What will be the evaluation criteria for the ink, e.g. colour, chemical composition, physical characteristics (e.g. viscosity), drying time, time to scrub off, time to disappear naturally, etc.
  12. What test methods will be used to evaluate the ink?
  13. What's the "worst case" condition in which the ink will be used, from the point of manufacture to the point of use on the "worst case" voter?
  14. How will the ink be validated, i.e. how many locations, by whom, on whom, with what age of ink, which methods of application, which methods of removal, what criteria to be measured, etc.?
  15. What percentage error is acceptable in the result? Why?
Based on all of the above (and much, much more), during the Definition Phase, the team will generate a set of requirements and specifications.
  • Requirements are defined in a Product Requirements Document. Requirements state "What" is to be accomplished, e.g. application by dipping, drying within 2 seconds, determining presence by human eye in natural light, remaining visible for 7 days, etc.
  • Specifications are defined in Product/System Specifications. Specifications state "How" the "What's" will be accomplished, e.g. identity of pigment in the ink, viscosity range of the ink, concentration of Silver Nitrate (the active ingredient), sedimentation in the ink over time, packaging, labelling, shipping, etc.
Requirements and specifications may change over time, during the Development Phase.

For instance, it may be necessary to change the required drying time from 2 seconds to 1 second in order not to unduly delay the voting process; or to change the requirement from violet to orange because of population preferences.

For instance, it may be necessary to change the specified packaging after evaluating alternatives, e.g. it may be found that the "dip finger in bottle" method has many advantages over the use of an indelible ink pen.

Core Team Member (Quality): If you were the quality representative on the Core Team, what would be your response to those who (like me) report that that they washed off the ink immediately after voting, using only daily-use cleaning agents and tools at the kitchen sink? Are you surprised?

Quality Manager (Ink Manufacturer): What would be your response if you were the Quality Manager at the factory which produced and perhaps also packaged the ink?

Read more at: http://write2rest.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/indelible-ink-little-exercise-for-young.html 

Kuala Besut — the long ‘Road to Damascus’

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 03:14 PM PDT

Morsi's handling of the economy was poor. His relationship with Hamas and the Hezbollah alienated him from the Saudis and the Emirates. Morsi even alienated himself from America, the county that feeds Egypt with annual billion-dollar donations, too early in the day to secure a strong footing for himself and the Brotherhood. In other words, Morsi thought that winning the popular vote was enough to 'implement the Islamic agenda' and still remain in control.

Actualy, Islamists all over the world have long been grappling with what to do after they come to power. The experience in Algeria in January 1992, when the army went head-to-head with the Front Islamique du Salut (Islamic Salvation Front), did not help anyone at all. Likewise, Iran has not been a good example of a democracy for anyone to emulate. Since the revolution of 1979, Iran has been a structured theocracy found nowhere else in the world, and its homogenous Shia culture has had almost no exposure to the Western world for 40 years.

The only reasonably successful Islamist government in the world today is probably Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—but there are historical reasons for this. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, was a military dictator but much revered by people. He established a military-led Government that removed all traces of religious involvement in the laws of the country.

In other words, Atatürk established a secular military government that gave Turkey a solid foundation for its transformation in later years into a popular democracy in which the Constitution and the institutions of state were well embedded and accepted by the people. So when Erdoğan came to power by popular means, he was able to implement and inject into the system Islamic rules and values without breaking the Turkish legal and constitutional framework. Turkey is still a secular democracy, although governed by an Islamist party.

Before Erdoğan, Turkish religious schools were neglected and graduates had some difficulty getting top jobs. Erdoğan changed all this by offering better training and better teachers, and so graduates are now well integrated into the mainstream of the working environment.

Before Erdoğan, Muslim women in the civil service and the universities were not allowed to wear the headscarf or hijab, but now many Turkish women look like their counterparts in the rest of the Muslim world. The freedom to lead the life of an observant Muslim was recognised without affecting the norms of democracy and without injuring the interests of other Turks who wanted to lead a secular lifestyle. So, personal freedoms and the freedom of choice have been protected.

In Malaysia, I see the rejuvenation of an Islamic party like PAS in the coming years. But even if PAS wins in the upcoming Kuala Besut by-election (and this is a big if) it is still not ready to govern the country as a democracy. The speeches given by some PAS parliamentarians show a total rejection of the Constitution and of our democractic way of life. They still talk of an Islamic state although, to this day, no one is really able to comprehend how it will work. The way forward is  to accept the Constitution and democracy as the operating framework. If they are thinking of creating a new structure and destroying  the present one; they are no different from Osama and Aiman Alzawayhri. They will be opposed.



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