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  1. #1
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    Deming\'s 11th point

    11. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor; eliminate management by objectives; and, eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

    I am sure that there dependancy is on previous points. But I am not sure that how is it?

    Thanks
    AmitK

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  2. #2
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    Re: Deming\'s 11th point

    One of the problems of setting very objective goals, is that the plan for fulfillment will be tailored specifically to meet those goals, not necessarily to improve the overall operating situation. Additionally, once a numerical goal is achieved, one may tend to stop trying to achieve any more, as they have reached their strictly defined goal.

    In the field of software, metrics are probably considered a potential target for abuse. While metrics can help provide an indication of the improvement in process, the actual values of the metrics should not be stated as goals.

    That is, I consider it acceptable to look at the metrics and say you've achieved a 10% reduction in defects. It is however not acceptable to say, we need to achieve a 10% reduction in defects by the end of the month.

    One problem here, on translation to software, is the mention of the factory floor. It is not clear how far this extends in the software industry. There are certainly parts of the business that are best driven by numerical goals, such as sales and/or marketing. In a very open development organization though, these lines are not discreet -- this elimination of quotas and numerical goals is not trivial.

    I would say this most significantly relates back to eliminating slogans. Numerical goals, in their essence as Deming intends, amount to no more than slogans. Even consider the ubiquitous "Zero Defects" as an example of a slogan and numerical goal.

    This also relates to eliminating barriers. Management by numbers and objectives implies that the management is not really involved in the day to day activites of the enterprise. In my interpretation, Deming is trying to say that the managers have to be actively involved in the process, and they can't expect the system to be simplified so easily into a numerical and objective form. The manager intent on improving is going to have to become a living part of the system, not just a reviewer and/or dictator.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Deming\'s 11th point

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AmitK:
    I am sure that there dependancy is on previous points. But I am not sure that how is it?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You can see how this leads back to Point 7 about leadership as it states as much. The idea here is substituting the qualities of leadership (and not necessarily a leader; remember the distinction I mentioned regarding that point in the post). The idea here also ties into most of the other points regarding the new quality focus. The idea here is to measure quality indicators - not quotas. This point goes to the very heart of Quality Information Improvement. I cannot stress enough that a large focus of Deming's work was on the idea of "quality information" and the upstream and downstream workers who benefit from that flow of that information. So rather than just harking back to one or two points, this point, like the others as I have tried to show, contains one of Deming's central themes that weaves through the points.

    If you read Deming then you know he described numerical goals like "decrease costs by ten percent next year" as "a burlesque". The idea is to realize that you can achieve goals just by "natural fluctuations" in the organization that have nothing to do with a good process or with process improvement. The idea is not that these things are bad in and of themselves, but rather that they are usually just stated as exhortations or slogans (back to Point 10) without the concomintant process improvement to allow such things to happen and coming up with a plan for attaining the goal. Anyone can toss out a slogan or a phrase but coming up with a way to do it and do it efficiently is what leadership is all about, hence the need for leadership. So going to mortoray's point:

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>
    That is, I consider it acceptable to look at the metrics and say you've achieved a 10% reduction in defects. It is however not acceptable to say, we need to achieve a 10% reduction in defects by the end of the month.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would disagree that it is categorically the case that the former statement is unacceptable. If it is provided with a plan for how to achieve this defect reduction, it can be very effective and is quite acceptable. All process improvement has stated goals, else how do you measure the improvement? We always have a target environment that we want to bring the current environment to, and, as such, there will be statements like this. The key is not to make the statement a slogan, but rather make it a practical statement that can be executed by the staff (which goes back to the training in Point 6 and the breaking down of barriers of Point 9 such that all staffers can participate).

    This point also speaks out against a management fad called management-by-objective just as the Point 10 spoke out against quality-by-fiat, another management fad. If you notice, a lot of Deming's points, if you study the history, go against the grain of what were accepted and entrenched practices at that time. The problem with management by objective is that an organization can usually achieve almost any objective, in the short-term, by paying a high enough price. For example, I can get a product out the door as quickly as possible if I sacrifice the testing time or just buy a bunch of third-party components that seem to do the job (but later might prove to be highly unmaintainable or even detrimental). In the long run, of course, the organization has probably made its situation worse and this harkens back to Point 4 somewhat. Deming long maintained that unactionable quotas, such as those used in management-by-objective or management-by-numbers, interfered with quality. That quite obviously happens in modern software development and hardware development.

    The problem with the numerical approach to management is that the approach functions only as well as the system (set of processes) permits because the approach focuses on the end goal rather than on the process by which the goal is being reached (harking back to Point 5). (Similar to how many focus only on the product and not the process in modern software engineering.) Many quotas, for example, are based on departmental averages or team averages and, of course, this means that half might be producing above and half below the stated average, which means there is a problem in the process. (It also hides outliers. You might have one person making up the bulk of the work for the team, while the others barely contribute but since you have an average, the outlier might dominate.) And yet if the average is arbitrarily defined, then it can be made to seem as if there is no real problem at all. The point is that the "bottom-half" of the workers (those below the average) will have little opportunity for improvement because the system (set of processes) remains the same relative to them. This does not even speak yet to how fair or arbitrary the average is - something to keep in mind.

    So, as an exercise, I would encourage you to think of ways that numbers (and mangement based solely on them without taking them into context) can be quite harmful. Think of this in relation to, say, defect counts. Or think of it in relation to test case count metrics or even coverage metrics.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Deming\'s 11th point

    In my example, quoted by Jeff, I intended to use a very abstract number as the basis to my claim, not as an example. Nonetheless, as for the reasons stated, I feel both the retroactive metric statement and the claim are both invalid.

    There is, as said, no problem with stating a claim, as long as it is specific, outlines the process to achieve it, and is reasonable and believable.

    Further to that, I feel that without knowing where the metrics came from (more precisely) you would be falling into an equivalent fluctuations trap as mentioned by Jeff.

    Sorry, my example was not well thought out, Jeff's response better describes what I agree with.


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    &lt;edA-qa@disemia.com&gt;
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    TestPlan - Superior Web Application Automation & Testing

 

 

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