The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Posts Tagged ‘understanding variation’

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How to Use Data and Avoid Being Mislead by Data

One of the four areas of Deming’s management system is “understanding variation.” The core principle underlying that concept is using data to improve while understanding what data is and is not telling you. The mistakes in interpreting data are very often related to mistaking natural variation in data as meaningful. Combining this with our brains […]

The Intellectual Foundation of Modern Improvement

The video above shows Don Berwick’s presentation at the IHI/BMJ International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care, 13 April 2016. He starts the presentation with the Red Bead Game (see related posts on our blog: Lessons From the Red Bead Experiment with Dr. Deming, The Red Bead Experiment with Dr. W. Edwards Deming). […]

What To Consider When Looking at Data from Surveys

In this latest W. Edwards Deming Institute podcast, Dr. Sophronia (Frony) Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, (direct download) discussess what you need to consider when looking at data from surveys. One of the points Frony makes is that often the survey data you see fail to provide the details that you really […]

Process Behavior Charts are the Secret to Understanding the Organization as a System

The W. Edwards Deming Institute podcast with Dr. Sophronia (Frony) Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Process Behavior Charts are the Secret to Understanding the Organization as a System (direct download), is another in our understanding variation series. Frony discusses the importance of Statistical Process Control (SPC) in all parts of an organization. […]