Understanding Variation

Is the Result Due to Mathematical Probability or Individual Merit?

Dr. Deming was constantly learning from others. He also pointed out that we can be led astray by failing to understand data. This quote, included in Out of the Crisis (page 394), shows both of those traits and illustrates a common trap of performance appraisal – using evidence that is highly questionable to claim individual …

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Improving Problem Solving

I suggest reading this excellent paper on Improving Problem Solving by Ian Bradbury and Gipsie Ranney. As they note, problem solving is not a substitute for innovation and improvement as solving a problem solving only returns you to the status quo. The paper also considers the relationship between problem solving and system improvement. Their paper …

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The Development of Deming’s Management System

Jan 24 1989 – first presentation of Deming’s “System of Profound Knowledge” Knowledge of variation; statistical theory Knowledge of the distinction between common causes and special causes Knowledge about the loss from tampering Knowledge about the interaction of forces Knowledge of operational definitions Knowledge psychology Knowledge of cooperation and its benefits It is interesting to …

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The Improvement Guide

The Improvement Guide is a fantastic book on using the PDSA cycle well. The 2nd edition was published in 2009. The power of applying the PDSA cycle properly is huge. It leads to successful improvements which is important. Using the PDSA cycle also reinforces many aspects of applying Dr. Deming’s principles. Together with Leader’s Handbook …

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The Idea of Performance Rating to Capture Merit is Alluring

The merit rating nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, [and] nourishes rivalry and politics. It leaves people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondent, dejected, feeling inferior, some even depressed, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior. It is unfair, as it ascribes …

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We Need to Understand Variation to Manage Effectively

Guest post by Mike Stoecklein I had the good fortune to get to know Dr. Deming beginning in 1986. I call it a “correspondence relationship”. We wrote letters (these were the days before e-mail, and I doubt that Dr. Deming would ever send an e-mail even if it had existed). I played a small role …

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The Essential Deming – New Book on Dr. Deming’s Work

The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality is filled with articles, papers, lectures, and notes touching on a wide range of topics, but which focus on Deming’s overriding message: quality and operations are all about systems, not individual performance; the system has to be designed so that the worker can perform well. …

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Eliminate Sales Commissions: Reject Theory X Management and Embrace Systems Thinking

Dr. Deming explained that paying sales commissions to staff introduced distortions into the organization that damaged overall performance. Each topic has different connections to Deming’s system of profound knowledge, as he laid it out in the New Economics. The problems with sales commissions heavily touch on all of the four areas of the management system. …

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Knowledge of Variation

The System Of Profound Knowledge® (SoPK) is the culmination of W. Edwards Deming’s work on management. The four areas of the system are: appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge and psychology. This post explores knowledge of variation in the context of Dr. Deming’s management philosophy. Even the cursory overviews of Dr. …

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The Deming Files @ The Process Excellence Network

The W. Edwards Deming Institute is working with the Process Excellence Network to publish articles on Deming’s ideas: The Deming Files. The first article was published in early 2011. A 4 part series looked at Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge: Systems Thinking and the Three Musketeers – Deming’s SoPK by Eric Christiansen The Trouble with …

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