A few random thoughts from being on the couch all day Sunday, catching up on work and watching a bit of NFL football. One, a thought about Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and the “PDCA” cycle, the other about a pizza maker following GM’s lead with a “mea culpa” TV ad (I might blog about that for tomorrow afternoon).
One thing that stood out, flipping channels to news during the commercial, was the “BREAKING NEWS” nature of the whole Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien situation. It is just a TV show. It’s the most important story in the world to CNN? Really?
So NBC ran a pretty bold experiment, moving Jay to a weeknightly 10 PM show and putting Conan in the Tonight Show slot. Hence the “Plan Do Check Act” cycle (aka the Deming Cycle, aka the Shewhart Cycle) began (at least in my made-up “Lean TV world).
Plan: There must have been some evidence or research this would work, that people would watch Jay Leno at 10 PM and Conan would get good ratings (or at least a younger demographic) at 11:35 PM.
Do: NBC implemented the plan.
Many organizations and leaders stop at this point. They either just “Do” or they Plan and Do and assume their plans are good and they will work.
Check: The ratings were abysmal for both shows (at least the TV industry has frequent measures, even if they have news judgment). The data proved the experiment was not working. Many would be stubborn and claim the decision had been a good one (of course, maybe it just required more time — that’s the judgment call of when do you give up and call the experiment over versus pressing on?).
Act: NBC clearly reacted and said they are going to try something new. That’s an interesting response to me, when the knee-jerk reaction might have been to move Jay back to 11:35, firing Conan. Instead, it’s Jay at 11:35 and Conan now at 12:05.
That’s a somewhat pop-culture PDCA cycle, even if I doubt the networks think Lean (although in the fictional “30 Rock” world, they have Six Sigma forced on them by TV-land GE).
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