The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Archive for the ‘systems thinking’ Category

Using Checklists to Reduce Process Variation and Improve Results

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is a wonderful book about how to create systems that work. At the core the Checklist Manifesto is about determining the critical process conditions and creating a system to assure that the those process items are properly handled. In the book Atul Gawande paraphrases Daniel Boorman, veteran pilot who […]

Transforming the Management System of an Organization

In response to our request asking what topics readers would like to see addressed on our blog, Dan Bracewell said: I’d like to see some posts about how to implement change in an organization. How does one get an organization to start looking at itself as a system? How does one get the organization to […]

Applying Understanding of Variation to Large Datasets

Understanding Variation by Thomas Nolan, Rocco J. Perla and Lloyd Provost. There have been large changes in the use of data since the publication of Understanding Variation, by Thomas Nolan and Lloyd Provost. The new article discusses how to use an understanding of variation when working with large datasets (for example, government data). From the […]

Optimize the Overall System Not the Individual Components

From Dr. Deming’s last interview; published in Industry Week magazine. The results of a system must be managed by paying attention to the entire system. When we optimize sub-components of the system we don’t necessarily optimize the overall system. This is true when looking at the people as Dr. Deming mentions. It is also true […]

Developing Software Using Deming’s Ideas

Deming Institute podcast with TJ Gokcen, CEO of Acquate on “Joy in Software Development” (download the podcast). Describing the importance of creating software using Deming’s ideas as expressed in agile software development, TJ says so it is a set of methods and practices that is more catered to change. So you do not have a […]

Leadership and the New Science

Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organizations from an Orderly Universe by Margaret Wheatley does a good job of exploring how to view organizations as a system. A quote by Meg Wheatley from an interview long after the publication of the book does a good job of capturing the ideas explored in the book: […]

Understanding Data is Often Challenging

Using data to understand the system and validate our theories and successful improvements is an important part managing well. In some cases it is fairly easy to understand and collect data that provides a clear and accurate measure of what we care about. But getting data that helps can also be very challenging. Creating a […]

Finding Joy In Learning: Applying Deming’s Theory to Schools

Presentation by Michael King and Jane Kovacs at the 2015 Deming in Education conference – Finding Joy In Learning: Applying Deming’s Theory to Schools. The speakers work for Quality Learning Australasia (QLA). QLA’s website has quite a bit of useful information. One of the tools they used in the presentation is a Lotus diagram which […]

Exploring Complex Problems Using Systems Thinking

Cornell Policy Review published a special issue exploring the application of systems thinking to public policy problems. Graduate students were given an introduction to systems thinking and then applied the concepts to address issues their field. Students applied systems thinking to a wide array of problems, and they reported finding DSRP [distinctions, systems, relationships, and […]

Specification-based Management is Not Sufficient

Guest post by Bill Bellows (originally written as a comment about the question of how Dr. Deming viewed six sigma). While Dr. Deming was known for his appreciation of continuous improvement, he was also know for encouraging us to think of variation and improvement from a systems perspective. As such, I do not believe he […]