My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: W. Edwards Deming

We begin the First Friday of the month, September 2014, with another of my Favorite Gurus…

W. Edwards Deming

I never met the late W. Edwards Deming – but my brother did. My brother is a professor at Northwest College and has been since the early 1980s.
Garry, got this autograph for me. He had read in his school’s paper (he is/was a professor at Northwest College in Powell WY) about Deming’s visit, and recognized “the name” from what he had heard from me endlessly back in the 1980s.
And so he went to hear him speak, and then asked for the autograph (below) after Deming was done.
I posted about this previously – in 2007 here – and in 2013 here.
When I went to visit my brother a few years later (2003) I particularly like the sentiment about this next photo, but not the sentiment’s execution.
The grass on the mall of the Deming Plaza in Powell WY (where Deming grew up) was shoddy. I hope it looks better today than it did when I first took these photos in 2003.
I wrote about The Deming Plaza back in 2007 – here.
From Deming while I was at MTEC – Motorola’s Education & Training Center – I learned a lot about Quality thinking, SPC and X-Bar R Charts, and the red bead experiment – that taught me the truth about process variation, and management’s tendency to blame the workers – which Deming loved to demonstrate as he berated the workers in the red bead experiment.
I never became an expert Practitioner in the tools and techniques of TQM, I merely blended them in adopted or adapted, into my own Performance Improvement (PI) practices… a.k.a.: HPT – Human Performance Technology.
Demings teaching on Quality in the early 1980s blended nicely with my earlier learning about Human Performance Technology (HPT) and the Performance Improvement approaches of Geary A. Rummler (MFFFG Post on the late Geary A. Rummler –  here).
Back to Deming…
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia…
W. Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming.gif
Born October 14, 1900
Sioux City, Iowa
Died December 20, 1993 (aged 93)
Washington, D.C.
Fields Statistician
Alma mater University of Wyoming BSc
University of Colorado MS
Yale University PhD
Influences Walter A. Shewhart

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.

Trained initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, championed the work of Dr. Walter Shewhart, including Statistical Process Control, Operational Definitions, and what he called The Shewhart Cycle which evolved into “PDSA” (Plan-Do-Study-Act) in his book The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education, as a response to the growing popularity of PDSA, which he viewed as tampering with the meaning of Dr. Shewhart’s original work.

He is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry which began in August 1950 at the Hakone Convention Center in Tokyo with a now seminal speech on what he called Statistical Product Quality Administration, which many in Japan credit with being the inspiration for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960, rising from the ashes of war to become the second most powerful economy in the world in less than a decade, founded on the ideas first taught to them by Dr Deming:

  1. That the problems facing manufacturers can be solved through cooperation, despite differences.
  2. Marketing is not “sales,” but the science of knowing what people who buy your product repeatedly think of that product and whether they will buy it again, and why.
  3. That In the initial stages of design, you must conduct market research, applying statistical techniques for experimental and planning and inspection of samples.
  4. And you must perfect the manufacturing process.

He is best known in the United States for his 14 Points (Out of the Crisis, by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Preface) and his system of thought he called the System of Profound Knowledge, consisting of four components, or “lenses” through which to view the world simultaneously:

  1. An appreciation of a system,
  2. understanding of variation,
  3. psychology
  4. and Epistemology, or a theory of knowledge.

Deming made a significant contribution to Japan’s later reputation for innovative, high-quality products, and for its economic power. He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Despite being honored in Japan in 1951 with the establishment of the Deming Prize he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death in 1993.

President Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987. The following year, Deming also received the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Deming’s Writings

Here is a list of books by and about Deming – here.

What I Learned From Deming

The importance of systems thinking, and Statistical Control.

I especially liked his 14 Points:

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training on the job.

7. Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company (see Ch. 3).

9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.

Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective (see Ch. 3).

13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Share Your Stories

If the work of W. Edwards Deming has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below.

Or simply share a URL there that is relevant.

And – thank you – for sharing!

The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series

We each have many influencers, mentors, both active and passive, knowingly and unknowingly in their respective roles in our development.

This series is my attempt to acknowledge all of them… one by one… in no particular order… as I attempt to consciously reflect on what I have have learned and whom I have learned it from, regarding all things “Performance Improvement” – my first focus.

I have a long list.

Lucky me.

Next month –  continuing with the influence of TQM – Total Quality Management – the late Joseph Juran.

Links to All of the Past Posts in the MFFF Guru Series

Here is a page with links to all of the Past Posts from this series, listed below – here.

  • W. Edwards Deming – September 2014
  • Bonnie B. Small – August 2014
  • Walter A. Shewhart – July 2014
  • Carl Binder – June 2014
  • Ruth Clark – May 2014
  • Rob Foshay – April 2014
  • John Carlisle – March 2014
  • Miki Lane – February 2014
  • Harold Stolovitch – January 2014
  • Bill Wiggenhorn – December 2013
  • Will Thalheimer – November 2013
  • Roger Kaufman – October 2013
  • Roger Addison – September 2013
  • Ray Svenson – August 2013
  • Dick (Richard E.) Clark – July 2013
  • Allison Rossett – June 2013
  • Carol Panza – May 2013
  • Jane Bozarth – April 2013
  • Judy Hale – March 2013
  • Margo Murray – February 2013
  • Neil Rackham – January 2013
  • Robert (Bob) F. Mager – December 2012
  • Joe H. Harless – November 2012
  • Thomas F. Gilbert – October 2012
  • Sivasailam Thiagarajan (Thiagi) – September 2012
  • Geary A. Rummler – August 2012
  • Dale Brethower – July 2012

Here is a page with links to all of the above Past Posts in My First Friday Favorite Guru Series- here.

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5 comments on “My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: W. Edwards Deming

  1. Pingback: T&D: Reflections on 40 Years in the Biz | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D/PI: Thankful for My Many Mentors | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Remembering W. Edwards Deming on the Anniversary of His Birthday | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  4. Pingback: Review: The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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