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    I am now using this blog to re-post some comments I make other blogs. For my full management blog see the Curious Cat Management Blog

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010

    Work on System Improvements for Best Results Not Problems with Individuals

    The Deification of Deming

    When people discuss how best to change an organization, Lean proponents will invariably cite Deming and argue that since he has shown that 94% of the potential for improvement is in the system there is little point in working with organizational culture.
    ...
    If lean is ever going to become more mainstream people must start treating it less as a religion with its own gods and more as a collection of insights that have to be carefully tailored to the context you are working in.


    Also "94% of the potential for improvement is in the system there is little point in working with organizational culture" is about the opposite of the point he was making. His point would better be stated that there is little point in working on "problems with individuals."

    Working on "culture" can mean many things. And often it is just a big waste of time. But the reason for that is not due to systemic/common cause versus special causes.

    What Dr. Deming was suggesting is you need to look for systems improvements (which could be cultural - a culture that operates with data based decision making, an understanding of variation...). I think the red bead experiment illustrates the point he was making - any focus on fixing the employees on that system is futile if you don't change the system.

    Related: Blame the Road, Not the Driver - Common cause variation - Deming on Management

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