The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Archive for the ‘understanding variation’ Category

Utopia: Next Stop or Last Stop?

Post by Bill Bellows Sir Thomas More was not the first person, nor the last, to disagree with King Henry VIII. His last serious conflict, refusing to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn as the Queen of England in 1533, was interpreted as a snub against Anne. From this episode, More’s enemies organized efforts to […]

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

Post by Bill Bellows Long before Adele and Lady Gaga spoke their first words, The Beatles and The Beach Boys were music industry leaders in the US and UK, as well as worldwide airwave competitors.   While neither group may have heard of Alfred Politz, a pioneer in the field of market research, they would have […]

Understanding and Misunderstanding Variation

Guest post by John Hunter. This webcast shows Mike Stoecklein’s presentation, Understanding and Misunderstanding Variation in Healthcare, at the 2015 Deming Research Seminar. The companion research paper that Mike wrote, Understanding and Misunderstanding Variation in Healthcare is packed with additional information on the topics he discusses and includes a summary of interviews with 40 individuals […]

Management by Extremes

Post by Bill Bellows In the spirit of standardization that is growing in popularity in organizations around the world, is there room for diversity?   That is, is variety really the spice of life, or does it represent a non-value added effort, if not simply waste?    In other words, should variation always be reduced to zero?   […]

The Funnel Experiment with Brian Hwarng

Guest post by John Hunter. This webcast shows Brian Hwarng’s presentation, The Funnel Experiment, at the 2015 Deming Research Seminar. As Brian says: The purpose [of the funnel experiment] is to demonstrate, by theory, the losses that are caused by tampering. Chapter 9 (“The Funnel”) of The New Economics is a good source to learn […]

Application of Statistical Methods in 1940

Dave Nave found an interesting forward from a set of 1985 standards on Control Charts. It describes how those standards were created as part of the World War II war effort, with Dr. Deming on the committee. Subsequently the standards were transfer to ASQ/ANSI. From the forward Upon request by the War Department, the American […]

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 […]

Eric Budd Presentation on Data and Operational Definitions

Eric Budd’s presentation at the 2016 Annual Deming Institute Conference: An Exercise in Operational Definition. The exercise Eric uses in the presentation shows how much variation can show up in data – just from how the data is collected. And in this example the data even has an operational definition used in collecting the data. […]

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 […]

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 […]