The Deming Philosophy: New Ways To Think About The World

Guest post by John Hunter, author of Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability.

Mike Tveite shared his presentation “The Deming Philosophy: New Ways To Think About The World” at the 1993 Ohio Quality and Productivity Forum conference.

YouTube video

I would emphasize, as I have done in a few previous posts, that these presentations that we share are incredibly valuable. I realize finding an hour to watch these presentations may not be easy. But they are packed with content and if you are serious about applying Deming’s ideas they are incredibly powerful resources.

It also seems to me that the benefit from watching them grows exponentially rather than being simply additive. After you watch and try to implement the ideas in 12 of these presentations you get much more value than the benefit of the first one you watched times 12. Don’t miss the “and try to implement” phrase. You can learn by watching them but you will learn much more if you try to implement the ideas and learn from that experience. You will have new questions that arise when doing so and then can watching more of these videos seeking more insight.

I think Mike’s presentation echoes this idea (though not exactly about watching these presentations online) of the value of the effort to learn about Deming’s ideas and how that is not a linear process.

Mike Tveite:

We don’t understand processes just by looking at defects, we need to be studying whole processes unless there are signals there are special causes.

Improving Problem Solving by Ian Bradbury and Gipsie Ranney explores the example of this idea that Mike used in his presentation (NASA’s Challenger shuttle).

There is no rule in nature that says we’ve got a one to one relationship between cause and effects.

We have to take a systems view of results. Many causes interact to create results. Trying to solve problems by seeking out one cause that we attempt to fix often creates problems. We need to understand the system and appreciate the interactions between the elements of the system. One of the questions mentioned a favorite tools/concepts of mine, design of experiments, that is very useful in learning about interactions. Using factorial design of experiments allows one to understand important interactions leading to the results we see. The learning through planned experiments allows us to find better solutions, based on an understanding of the interactions between inputs and elements in the system.

Related: Mike Tveite on The Role of Learning in Improving Organizations – Deming 101 with Mike Tveite– Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory

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