Is it just me, or is the whole alphabet the same?

The newest “big thing” to hit the team here is “URP” – Unit Readiness Planning. And it is good. It’s a management system to help an organization plan for, prioritize, and implement its training requirements using the (usually insufficient) time and resources available.

To me, it looks a lot like HPT. And TQL/TQM. And not too very different from MBO. (Does anyone else remember Management by Objective? I’m really showing my age here, huh?) If I step away from the acronyms for a moment, it honestly looks very similar to Six Sigma/Lean while it’s at it.

So it seems to me that the big picture premise of All of the Above is basically pretty simple. You take your basic analytical thinking skills and figure up “what would this organization (shop/company/battalion/plant/whatever) look like if it was running really really well? How many people, with what skills, using what resources, would make this an optimally functional unit?” Then you take an honest, hard, critical look at “what does this organization look like right now?” Then you do a little comparison and note all of the differences between “optimal” and “right now” – then you come up with a logical, sensible, prioritized plan for how to get from “now” to “optimal.” No, really – within the limits of my experience and education, that is exactly what every single version of this alphabet soup of management does.

Yeah, okay, I get the part where they all use somewhat different tools, and they definitely all have their own special vocabulary lists (aka jargon), and some of them focus mostly on training while some focus on bigger stuff like work flow and ergonomics and rightsizing, but really… how many times can you invent the wheel before you just accept the fact that all wheels are fundamentally round?

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