Silver Bullets and Instant Pudding

Silver Bullets and Instant Pudding

About the Book

About the Process:

Note: This book will be written and published using the "continuous publishing" model. Early buyers of the book will get a lower price and will have the opportunity to give feedback to the authors. You'll also receive updates about new chapters being added or significant changes being made and you'll get to download the latest version. The price will go up over time, with an expected recommended price for the completed book being $9.99. In the LeanPub model, you can choose to pay less or pay more, which we think is an interesting experiment. Thanks for being a part of it!

About the Book:

While this might sound like a book on statistics, it's really a book about management and leadership. "Variation" is a topic that is not well understood by most managers and leaders. As a result, we end up wasting time and frustrating employees. For example, we react to data and ask people to develop detailed explanations for a data point that is, essentially, noise in the system. Or, worse, we blame an individual instead of better understanding the system and its underlying processes.

This book builds upon lessons from W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Donald Wheeler, and others along with experience of the authors in healthcare. The book aims to answer questions such as:

  • What is variation and how do we see it whether we have data or not?
  • Why is it important to better understand and manage variation in our daily management practices?
  • What are some specific methods that healthcare organizations and leaders can use to better understand and manage variation?
  • Based on this understanding, how can we make better decisions and lead our organizations from frustration and chaos into prosperity?

The book is meant to be a “pracademic” guide – partly academic, but mostly practical in terms of the lessons and techniques that the reader can apply in their daily work. Our goals with the book, as Dr. Deming taught us, are to learn something, make a difference, and have some fun while doing so.

Planned Table of Contents:

  • The basics of "understanding variation"
  • The management problems that result from not viewing data as a time series
  • How to properly analyze and react to time series data
  • The proliferation of statistical process control charts and the problems that can cause
  • Principles of understanding variation apply when you don’t have data

About the Authors

Mark Graban
Mark Graban

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, professional speaker, and blogger. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. For his full bio, visit

His latest book Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More: was initially published through LeanPub (now available through Amazon).

He is the author of the book Lean Hospitals, which was the first healthcare book selected for as a recipient of the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award. Mark has also co-authored Healthcare Kaizen and was the editor of the anthology Practicing Lean, which was published through LeanPub.

Mark Graban

Episode 101

Mike Stoecklein
Mike Stoecklein

Mike is the Network Director at the ThedaCare Center For Healthcare Value.  He is responsible for overseeing the Healthcare Value Network, a peer-to-peer learning group which helps member organizations across North America learn, share and connect regarding the application of lean healthcare principles. Prior to joining the Center, Mike served as an internal consultant in process improvement as a vice president with the Wheaton Franciscan System, Wheaton Illinois.  Mike then became the health care market development manager at the American Society for Quality, facilitating ASQ’s involvement in health care improvement. Most recently, Mike was a vice president of Operations Improvement at Catholic Health Initiatives, providing performance improvement support, service, and assistance throughout a number of CHI facilities. Mike also served as an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from 1999 - 2004. Mike has been learning, applying and teaching performance excellence principles since he first met Dr. W. Edwards Deming in 1985. Over a nine-year period, he worked briefly with Dr. Deming, supporting him in four of his 4-day seminars. Mike began his health care career as a medical technologist in the U.S. Navy, and then moved to management as a vice president in hospitals after receiving his master’s degree in Health Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988.

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