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Deming\'s 12th point.
12. Remove barriers that rob hourly employees, management, and engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual review or merit rating and management by objectives. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from mere numbers to quality.
When Deming worked with a company or conducted a seminar, he frequently asked participants to name obstacles that prevented them from experiencing pride in their work. Often, the responses included the following:
1. 1Conflicting or unclear goals
2. Arbitrary decisions by the supervisor
3. Lack of time, resources and direction
4. Devaluation of efforts
5. Fear of mistakes or failure
6. Insufficient information and training
7. Little feedback on performance
Often managers do not understand the problem because they do not focus on the human processes behind the product or service. This leads to Deming's most controversial point: the use of rating and merit systems. He feels that these methods are unfair and counterproductive because they brand a few employees winners and encourage constant competition. This can be harmful to the interest of both companies and employees. He believes that if the "system" in which people work is predictable then over time most employees will perform at about the same level, and that only a few will deviate.
Jeff/Mortoray can you explain this point. I am not able to read between the lines. What I am getting is very unclear picture.
Re: Deming\'s 12th point.
To understand the flaws in the merit / rating system you have to understand the manner in which some of these ratings are actually done. In some businesses, even in the software world, the rating system becomes dehumanizing.
As an example, in some annual reviews your supervisor will have a checklist in front of him, and go through it with you. Such items he mentions may include nubmer of items you produced per day, number of complaints received on your work, rate of defects coming from your department, etc... There is very little room for the "but I..." or "it was necessary because..." comments. You're assigned a rank and that is final.
It also fails to consider that people have a natural distribution of ability, especially in specialized fields. There is no escaping the fact that Person X will always be better than Person Y at a particular task. Everytime you compare to Person Y to Person X, X will feel happy, and Y will feel upset. This natural distribution would correlate to his intent to say that only a few will deviate.
Deming's viepoint is coming from the manufacturing sector primarily. His points are tailored to that industry. People were measured strictly on their volume output, there were no real indications of the quality of that output. It had a very strong do-as-your-told mentality.
The is long history leading up to this point. Without mentioning it, Deming is attacking the principles laid out by people like Ford and Winchester (pioneers in mass production and assembly lines). The factory floor grew into a living machine, and the people and machines were essentially being rated within the same system (Machine X produces 5 units, Person Y produces 3 assemblies, Machine X consumes 50watts power, Person Y eats 3 sandwiches).
Worse, in the assembly line world, the work of one individual early on the line directly impacts the output of those further on the line. If you wish to spend an extra X minutes per part, you have to be willing to defend your action to Y number of people further down on the line. And this is virtually impossible if management is looking specifically at volume output from the end of the line, or if they are comparing you your counterpart on the next line.
Winchester introduced the concept of replaceable parts for the purpose of replacing broken parts. In this situation is was seen more beneficial to produce two parts than to produce one part that lasts longer -- especially when you get to sell the second part. This was seen as an improvement in quality, because previously you'd just have to buy a new rifle -- of course this may never have been required if the manufactured rifles weren't of poor quality to begin with.
Granted, replaceability is not a failure in its own, and indeed it grew into the concept of platform technology (which actually comes from the auto industry -- pull the top off a modern VW Golf and VW beetle and you'll see the same car), whereby new products can be
built quickly building on the basics of the previous products.
...end of aside.
When Deming says to manage quality, not numbers, he is reflecting on this notion: "If you manage by numbers, you'll produce numbers on output, if you manage by quality, you'll produce quality on output." That is, if you don't change management to support your quality effort, your output cannot change.
Re: Deming\'s 12th point.
This point, to a large extent, speaks to an issue that is often encapsulated by the phrase: "There is no I in Team." That is pure, unadulterated garbage and it constantly amazes me the people still tout this "pearl of wisdom", as they seem to think it some divine mantra. Of course there is an "I" in team, unless you feel that teams are some sort of hive-mind collective. The "No I In Team" approach led to a lot of individual creativity and accomplishment being subsumed and thus personal fulfillment unachieved. This all harkens back to the Age of Agriculture (again, it pays to study history) when one farmer or land-tender was responsible for the whole thing. Then the Industrial Age started and specialization of labor came on the scene and this means many workers only saw one part of the total work product and thus the feeling of accomplishment was largely removed. (This has been well-documented in historical work studies.) We now see the same thing being repeated in the Information Age (as it has been called) and not enough people study simple history to even recognize this, much less act to counteract it.
And the ironic thing is that the Information Age actually gives us the tools to combat this trend, much better than any tools that came about in the Industrial Age. Think about it: we have intranets, shared databases, peer reviews, etc. These are all ways to collaborate in the work products and see all of them through to completion, even those we may not directly effect. It gives us a sense of "being in it together" even while still retaining the "I" - the individual contributions of a person. This is why one of the first things I advocate for a QA group in most organizations is a QA Intranet. You would be amazed at how many QA practitioners do not do this, even though it is one of the simplest things to establish.
The whole point here is simple: let people feel good about their work. If you do, they will feel pride of ownership and will do better work.
Consider this. At one point Volvo had changed its whole manufacturing process. Originally they had each person on an assembly line performing just one small set of tasks. For example, one person would bolt the left-hand doors to the car, while another might do the right-hand door - but that was ALL they ever did. Well, Volvo decided to create a "team based structure" such that a given group would follow the car down the assembly line and, as a team, work out what needed to be done, utilizing their various specialities. This seems simple and, perhaps, even a little banal. However, it had an electrifying effect. Morale skyrocketed (becuase the feeling of "I" was still there but they also got to see the full work product through to completion). Productivity went way up because the people enjoyed the process and could get behind it. And then quality went up as well because not only did each person want to make sure that "their contribution" went well, but they wanted to be good for the team. The point is that the person, whether making cars or software, has to identify with the work product in its entirety. This does not mean they have to work on the whole thing, but they have to be able to identify with the whole. (This is referred to as "coupled productivity" and "manifest reward" in some of the psychological studies related to the workplace.)
Just a point about mortoray's comment:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Deming's viepoint is coming from the manufacturing sector primarily. His points are tailored to that industry.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Actually, I disagree with the implications of this comment but I agree with its correctness in terms of general facticity. It is true that Deming's context was more the manufacturing sector, but as I have strived to show in these posts, Deming's real guiding theme was Quality Information Improvement. This means his points had a much wider scope than just manufacturing and that is very important to realize. He was also speaking to quality and management trends and, like all such trends, they tend to transcend one industry and root themselves firmly in others because the common ingredient is human beings. And as I have been able to show in most of these posts, these same trends have manifested in the IT/IS sector as well, sometimes with even more vengeance than in the other sectors. I do agree with mortoray's further points, however, that Deming was speaking out against the assembly-line mentality to a large degree. As I have also shown in various posts, Deming spoke out harshly against many common management and quality practices that were extant in his day (and are still extant today, unfortunately).
Re: Deming\'s 12th point.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JeffNyman:
Actually, I disagree with the implications of this comment but I agree with its correctness in terms of general facticity.
I meant only to imply that the phrasing, and ideologies, of Deming are potentially easier to understand if first considered from his viewpoint -- if nothing more than to understand specifics terms, like "factory floor". Once understood, they apply, with only minor term adjustment, to any production industry (including computer software).