Deming's SoPK (System of Profound Knowledge) Discussion

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David Hartman

Wes Bucey said:
Juran folks were much more pragmatic - "OK. What do I do and how do I do it? Don't waste my time with philosophy, I have too much work to do."
I discovered many years ago that my learning style is such that learning the "how to do it" information is not nearly as important for me as learning the "why it works that way".

Although you really can't use the "why" information without knowing and understanding the "how" information (which is where Mike is coming from with his queries for examples of Deming's philosophies in use).

I too believe that a pairing of Deming and Juran (perhaps with a sprinkle of Crosby - after all I was an ITT employee for quite a few years :rolleyes: ) seems to cover the bases quite well.
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
I think that there is an important blend with Deming's philosophies and Juran's applications. I agree with you folks here that the influences of both men and other contemporaries is important. I started with Fiegenbaum, moved to Juran, and settled with Deming. Nonetheless, all have had a profound affect on me and I use their guidance in an intertwined effort.

Again in the National Archives, these men exchanged many letters and recognized each others contributions, personally and professionally just as Drucker and Deming had.

Kevin
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Kevin Mader said:
Dave,

I removed the PDF of Myron's paper as the DEN and Myron have explicitly asked that this not be done. However, I would encourage folks who read this thread and wonder what the link was for to visit the DEN to read it there. Regards,

Kevin
Okay, help a dummy here. What's the DEN? And why can't a paper from there be posted here if credit is given?
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Mike S. said:
Okay, help a dummy here. What's the DEN? And why can't a paper from there be posted here if credit is given?
Never mind -- I found it.

So I did a quick scan through a few pages and found this:

The following is excerpted from Chapter 4 of The New Economics, second edition by W. Edwards Deming.

The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge. The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people.


A manager of people needs to understand that all people are different. This is not ranking people. He needs to understand that the performance of anyone is governed largely by the system that he works in, the responsibility of management. A psychologist that possesses even a crude understanding of variation as will be learned in the experiment with the Red Beads (Ch. 7) could no longer participate in refinement of a plan for ranking people.

Thr first quote almost sounds like it could have come from a new-age guru espousing a new religion. Or is it just me?

The second quote is just too broad and absolute for my taste. Or, maybe not... Hey, I'm as good a home-run hitter as Sammy Sosa, it's just that I've been in a bad system! And I'm as brilliant as Stephen Hawking -- it's just that I've been in a bad system! Okay, so I'm being a bit sarcastic. But how many folks here really believe that in their daily lives that they DO NOT work and interact with people who are better than others at a given task outside of any differences in the system they work in? In other words, the differences between Jane's ability to make 50 widgets in an hour vs. Joe's ability to make 30 in an hour means there is always a systemic fault, not differences between their internal talents, abilities, and motivations? To believe Deming's assertion goes aganist a lifetime of real-life experiences. One thing for sure, I don't want Deming as my advisor on draft-day for my favorite sports team -- but I'd be okay if he worked for the Yankees! :lol:
 
C

Craig H.

Mike S. said:
Never mind -- I found it.

So I did a quick scan through a few pages and found this:

The following is excerpted from Chapter 4 of The New Economics, second edition by W. Edwards Deming.

The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge. The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people.


A manager of people needs to understand that all people are different. This is not ranking people. He needs to understand that the performance of anyone is governed largely by the system that he works in, the responsibility of management. A psychologist that possesses even a crude understanding of variation as will be learned in the experiment with the Red Beads (Ch. 7) could no longer participate in refinement of a plan for ranking people.

But how many folks here really believe that in their daily lives that they DO NOT work and interact with people who are better than others at a given task outside of any differences in the system they work in? In other words, the differences between Jane's ability to make 50 widgets in an hour vs. Joe's ability to make 30 in an hour means there is always a systemic fault, not differences between their internal talents, abilities, and motivations? To believe Deming's assertion goes aganist a lifetime of real-life experiences. One thing for sure, I don't want Deming as my advisor on draft-day for my favorite sports team -- but I'd be okay if he worked for the Yankees! :lol:
Ok, Mike, I see your point. One thing that I don't recall seeing much in Q literature, or business literature for that matter, is just what you do with the""Joes" of the world. To take your sports analogy a little further, what makes a great coach?

Well, I would say that motivation is an obvious factor, but even when motivating all of the players to do their best there will be variation. IMO, one of the least talked about abilities of good coaches is how they can look at the abilities (and lack thereof) of each of the players, and match the game plan to the players ' abilities. In a way, this is true in business as well. We all have strengths and weaknesses. A good manager will work to play to their employees' strengths and protect them from their weaknesses.

I don't know that Deming ever really put it quite like this (he may have even thought it was so much drivel), but maybe the strategy I mentioned above could be part of "the system"?

Craig
 
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WALLACE

Quite Involved in Discussions
Mike S. said:
Thr first quote almost sounds like it could have come from a new-age guru espousing a new religion. Or is it just me?
Nope, It's not just you,
It does sound rather evangelistic to me too.
Deming was a deeply religious man and, it's my guess that he aligned much of his understandings and interpretations of profound knowledge on his cultural and religious beliefs. I'm certainly not trying to throw bricks at this possibility yet, when Deming was in Japan assisting in their so called economical recovery, profound knowledge was spoken of, interpreted and focused more so as systems thinking and building.
Wallace.
 

Wes Bucey

Consultant/Advisor
Moderator
Mike S. said:
The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge. The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people.

A manager of people needs to understand that all people are different. This is not ranking people. He needs to understand that the performance of anyone is governed largely by the system that he works in, the responsibility of management. A psychologist that possesses even a crude understanding of variation as will be learned in the experiment with the Red Beads (Ch. 7) could no longer participate in refinement of a plan for ranking people.
For the ones who did not have the perspicacity to look up the Deming Electonic Network (http://deming.eng.clemson.edu/pub/den/)

Paragraph 1: "transformed, etc." Yeah! For some, the realization is like an Epiphany (a meeting with the Creator.) Does that mean it will happen for everyone? Nope. Does the fact 'everyone will NOT be transformed' invalidate the concept of System of Profound Knowledge? Nope. If you, personally, do NOT get transformed, does that make you a bad person? Nope. Just different. Which goes to the heart of - - -

Paragraph 2: "variation . . . Red Beads . . . no longer . . . ranking people."
Some real life examples of changing systems to accommodate variation in people:
all vehicle drivers are not equally adept at shifting gears - organization gets vehicles with automatic transmissions
all employees are not right-handed - organization adjusts work layout to accommodate either-handedness
In other words, the differences between Jane's ability to make 50 widgets in an hour vs. Joe's ability to make 30 in an hour means there is always a systemic fault, not differences between their internal talents, abilities, and motivations?
Is there some factor in the system which favors Jane over Joe? What if there are more Joes than Janes in the employment pool? Does it make sense to create a system to make uniform high rate of widgets, despite individual variation among employees? Is the end goal to have a pool of Janes or to get widgets out the door?
:topic: Did you ever witness or participate in the Red Bead experiment, Mike?
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
Is 50 more than 30? Sort of a trick question when asking a statistician, which Dr. Deming was. If both numbers are within the upper and lower control limits of a stable process, the answer is no. Wes is right: The Red Bead Experiment demonstrates why this is.

Back to the group...
 

Wes Bucey

Consultant/Advisor
Moderator
Anyone curious about the Red Bead Experiment?

Kevin Mader said:
Is 50 more than 30? Sort of a trick question when asking a statistician, which Dr. Deming was. If both numbers are within the upper and lower control limits of a stable process, the answer is no. Wes is right: The Red Bead Experiment demonstrates why this is.

Back to the group...
It occurs to me that old timers, most especially Demingites, assume "everyone" knows about the Red Bead Experiment.

Is anyone curious enough to make it worthwhile to start a new thread to talk about it and its implications for SoPK and Systems Thinking in general?

An ASQ stalwart, Steve Prevette, spoken of several times here in the Cove, offers a free script so an organization can try the experiment on its own.

A couple of years ago, the Cove listed a website with a photo showing Steve overseeing the Experiment:
http://www.hanford.gov/safety/vpp/redbeadreach.pdf
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
Steve also has a one hour video of him doing the experiment that was available for a minimal charge (not sure if this is still the case). I think that when I tried to buy it though, the receptionist didn't have a way to charge me. I've since purchased the Deming Library, which has the experiment along with the Funnel, so that base is already covered. These tapes, though, run around $500, so Steve's version is quite the bargain.

Kevin
 

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