Deming on Software: Computers

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.

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