Deming's SoPK (System of Profound Knowledge) Discussion

Jennifer Kirley said:
I found a web site that features Steven Prevette's script in Word format. I looked it over, and in my view it's a treasure!

http://curiouscat.com/management/redbeadexperiment.cfm

Do we need permission to use this script in a presentation?

Jennifer
I don't think so, but I'll ask him in an email tomorrow and post his reply. I hope he's flattered by the nice comment you've made.

note: even if Steve does grant permission, protocol always demands you give him full written and verbal credit at each presentation.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
Wes: "note: even if Steve does grant permission, protocol always demands you give him full written and verbal credit at each presentation."

Exactly so. And thank you for asking him.

Jennifer
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
Wes,

Was it really necessary to use the word "perspicacity"? :bonk:

Yeah, I participated in a red bead experiment years back -- and I "get it". But not everything about variation between people's performance is explained by that concept, IMO.

Another simple example: Sammy Sosa has been a major leaguer for 15 years. Over the last 5 years he hit 63, 50, 64, 49, and 40 homers -- hitting a maximum of 66 in a year inhis career. Mike Bordick has been in the majors for 14 years and during the last 5 years he hit 5, 8, 7, 20, and 16 homers -- never hitting more than 20 in a season. What can explain the differences between their homer-hitting ability? Is 66 more than 20? Can it be that irrespective of the "system" they are/were in that Sosa is just a better home-run hitter than Bordick? Does the red bead experiment explain this, or the difference in intelligence between me and Stephen Hawking?
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
Too much responsibility

I agree that the Experiment does not exlain everything about performance variation in people. IMO, we should be cautious about assigning too much responsibility to it.

My understanding is that the Experiment is useful as a parable to explain management's response to variation, not the cause of variation; it explains that variation occurs for reasons beyond the typical error reduction approach. The Experiment's moral is to urge management to pursue and methodically tend to the variation's true cause versus the Blind Man's Bluff approach to improvement.

The Experiment's beauty is doing this with a visual (most people are visual learners, I've been told), practical example that teaches without being perceived as a threat to ego or leadership position.
 
Mike S. said:
Wes,

Was it really necessary to use the word "perspicacity"? :bonk:

Another simple example: Sammy Sosa has been a major leaguer for 15 years. Over the last 5 years he hit 63, 50, 64, 49, and 40 homers -- hitting a maximum of 66 in a year inhis career. Mike Bordick has been in the majors for 14 years and during the last 5 years he hit 5, 8, 7, 20, and 16 homers -- never hitting more than 20 in a season. What can explain the differences between their homer-hitting ability? Is 66 more than 20? Can it be that irrespective of the "system" they are/were in that Sosa is just a better home-run hitter than Bordick? Does the red bead experiment explain this, or the difference in intelligence between me and Stephen Hawking?
Give me a break, Mike! "Perspicacity" is the way I talk in real life. I never made any secret of the fact I'm overeducated.

What comment would you have (based on the statistics you quote) on Mike apparently getting better as he ages, while Sammy seems to be going downhill?

Variation extends to the salary difference between Mike and Sammy, too. I'm pretty sure Sammy gets paid about 15 times more than Mike.

I think Mike plays for one of the Canadian teams, now, doesn't he? I never thought of Mike as a bad player. If I recall, years ago he had a .300 season in the majors - I barely made that in high school ball. Today, I embarrass myself with my grandchildren at the automatic pitching machine in our Sports Center.

Re: Hawking
I bet there are times he'd trade the brains for being able to embarrass himself at the batting cage in front of his grandchildren.

Bottom line:
If you inherit an organization with Mike Bordick, Sammy Sosa, and Stephen Hawking, do you fire Sammy because he's not as smart as Stephen? Do you fire Stephen because he can't hit like Sammy? My guess is you would try to find a use for the talents they do have. Management of an organization works best when it uses knowledge to accommodate variation rather than try to avoid it.
 
Steven Prevette replies

Wes Bucey said:
I don't think so, but I'll ask him in an email tomorrow and post his reply. I hope he's flattered by the nice comment you've made.

note: even if Steve does grant permission, protocol always demands you give him full written and verbal credit at each presentation.
Steve was kind enough to send this reply:
This is the standard set of files that I send out upon request. To my knowledge, the video is still available. Granted, I think they will only
take personal checks. These files were developed to support the US
Department of Energy's Integrated Safety Management System, and are
available for anyone to use. I would assume people will customize it to
their own use. Yes, I would appreciate it if they acknowledged the source
during their presentation.

I am doing this presentation myself in May in Portland OR, at the Region X
OSHA Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association conference.

Steve Prevette
Occupational Safety and Health
Fluor Hanford, A Fluor Government Group Project
ASQ Certified Quality Engineer
steven_s_prevette@rl.gov
509-373-9371
Here are the files he sent:
 

Attachments

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
Happy!

Thanks for getting Steve Prevette's answer through, Wes!

I think it is important not to deviate too much from the original; by re-inventing the script and teaching aids I might invite innovation that results in a loss of effectiveness.
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
Jennifer Kirley said:
I agree that the Experiment does not exlain everything about performance variation in people. IMO, we should be cautious about assigning too much responsibility to it.

My understanding is that the Experiment is useful as a parable to explain management's response to variation, not the cause of variation; it explains that variation occurs for reasons beyond the typical error reduction approach. The Experiment's moral is to urge management to pursue and methodically tend to the variation's true cause versus the Blind Man's Bluff approach to improvement.

The Experiment's beauty is doing this with a visual (most people are visual learners, I've been told), practical example that teaches without being perceived as a threat to ego or leadership position.
Bingo! Anyone who won't admit there are capability differences between people that are not "system" related is fooling themselves, IMO.

Wes,

Regarding your "bottom line": If you hire someone with your own money do you not try to rank them? If you get 10 aplications for a job opening in your company, (or to fix your roof) and all 10 meet the basic requirements you specified, do you randomly pick one of the 10 people instead of wasting time interviewing them?
 

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