Archive for June 2009

Deming on Software: Overtime

June 20, 2009

Deming wrote:

We shall learn from the theory in Chapter 11 that to hold a worker on the job without pay till he has cleaned up the defectives that were detected by inspection of his product, if he is in statistical control, is to charge him with faults of the system.

Deming on Software: Computers

June 19, 2009

Deming wrote:

A computer can be a blessing. It can also be a curse. Some people make good use of computers. Few people are aware, however, of the negative import of computers. Time and time again, in my experience, when I ask for data on inspection, to learn whether they indicate that the process is in control, or out of control, and at what time of day it went out, and why, or ask about differences between inspectors and between production workers, or between production workers and inspectors, in an attempt to find sources of trouble and to improve efficiency, the answer, “The data are in the computer.” And there they sit.

What management needs is understanding of variation. Figures of yesterday plotted on a chart, and interpreted with some understanding of variation, will indicate existence of a special cause of variation that should be investigated at once, if one exists, or that the variation should be attributable to the system.

Deming on Software: Need more Rock Stars

June 18, 2009

Deming wrote:

“Our troubles lie entirely in the work force.” The supposition is prevalent the world over that there would be no problems in production or in service if only our production workers would do their jobs in the way that they were taught. Pleasant dreams. The workers are handicapped by the system, and the system belongs to management.

It was Dr. Joseph M. Juran who pointed out long ago that most of the possibilities for improvement lie in action on the system, and that contributions of production workers are severely limited.

Deming on Software: Proof

June 17, 2009

Deming wrote:

Improvement of quality is a method, transferable to different problems and circumstances. It does not consist of cookbook procedures on file ready for specific application to this or that kind of product.

It is not unusual for a consultant to receive an enquiry for examples of success in a a similar product line. One man enquired if the methods of this book had ever been used in the manufacture of wheelchairs. … Another man enquired about the management of a hospital: would the 14 points apply? … A banker wondered about application in banks.

My answer to such enquiries is that no number of examples of success or of failure in the improvement of quality and productivity would indicate to the enquirer what success his company would have.

Deming on Software: Performance Evaluations

June 17, 2009

Deming wrote:

One of the main effects of evaluation of performance is nourishment of short-term thinking and short-time performance. A man must have something to show. His superior is forced into numerics. It is easy to count. Counts relieve management of the necessity to contrive a measure with meaning.

Deming on Software: Bugs 1

June 13, 2009

Deming wrote:

Everyone in your company knows that the aim is perfection, that you can not tolerate defectives and mistakes. You make every worker responsible for the defectives that he has produced. Yet from the records that you have showed to me, it is obvious that you are tolerating a high proportion of defectives, and have been doing so for years. In fact, the levels of various kinds of mistake have not decreased; they have been pretty constant and predictable over a a number of years.

Have you any reason to think that the level of mistakes will decrease in the future? Have you ever thought that the problem could be in the system?

Deming on Software: First Thoughts

June 13, 2009

I’ve asked people if they’ve ever read Deming or had exposure to his methods or concepts.

My Dad said, “The statistical guy?”

Before studying Deming, my thoughts were the same. I think we all think that about Deming.

I think at 107 years old, if alive today, Deming would be disappointed to be world famous for statistical methods. I think he’d be disappointed deeply.

Kinda like Indianapolis. You know, the city with the Indy 500? Indianapolis doesn’t hate the 500. It’s part of us. But that wasn’t what we hoped our world legacy would be.

I thought for a long time that Deming was about statistics and manufacturing and uniformity. I’ve been reading his book and I’m finding he was really about something else entirely.

So over the next few days, maybe longer, I’m going to post some of his words.

Here’s a hint about all of this. Deming was not about methods. Deming was not about statistics. Deming thought that applying methods to improve worker productivity was like trying to heal a person, paralyzed from the neck down, with ankle surgery. The problem isn’t down there.

Deming was about fixing top management, not you. On the off chance that you are top management, Deming had harsh worlds for you.

The real fun part about of Out of the Crisis? I’ve never read a book on quality and had a worse attitude than when I started. It’s glorious.

I intend to have some real fun here.