The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Archive for the ‘systems thinking’ Category

Software Code Reviews from a Deming Perspective

Software code review is the practice of reviewing the software code written by colleagues on your software development team. Like many practices the form it takes can vary quite a bit. W. Edwards Deming stated in Out of the Crisis: Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass […]

Stratify Data to Hone in on Special Causes of Problems

We have a tendency to focus on special causes even when poor results are due to common causes within the system. To improve results that are due to the system trying to determine the specific problem with any bad result and fix that problem is an inefficient strategy. But there are times when seeking the […]

Educate New Managers on Their New Responsibilities

Far too often companies promote employees into management positions and expect them to fulfill the obligations of their new position without helping prepare them to meet their new responsibilities. People who excelled at doing their non-supervisory job often have little education or experience to succeed with their new responsibilities. Managing a software development team is […]

Jobs to be Done

In Clayton Christensen’s new book, Competing Against Luck, the authors delve into the importance of gaining a deep understanding of what your customers desire. The book lays out a Theory of Jobs to be Done in a very compelling way. To me this is a great example of extending Deming’s ideas with a great deal […]

Using Deming’s Ideas When Your Organization Doesn’t

If people asked Dr. Deming what they should do if they tried to get their company to adopt Deming’s ideas on management and the company wouldn’t he often suggested working on their resume and applying to other companies. Of course a tricky part of this decisions is determining how much effort to put into getting […]

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 […]