So I have been reading about W. Edwards Deming. Who is this?
Deming's 14 points
Deming offered fourteen key principles for management for transforming business effectiveness. In summary:
1. Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs. 2. Adopt a new philosophy of cooperation (win-win) in which everybody wins and put it into practice by teaching it to employees, customers and suppliers. 3. Cease dependence on mass inspection to achieve quality. Instead, improve the process and build quality into the product in the first place. 4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone. Instead, minimize total cost in the long run. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, based on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. 5. Improve constantly, and forever, the system of production, service, planning, of any activity. This will improve quality and productivity and thus constantly decrease costs. 6. Institute training for skills. 7. Adopt and institute leadership for the management of people, recognizing their different abilities, capabilities, and aspiration. The aim of leadership should be to help people, machines, and gadgets do a better job. Leadership of management is in need of overhaul, as well as leadership of production workers. 8. Drive out fear and build trust so that everyone can work more effectively. 9. Break down barriers between departments. Abolish competition and build a win-win system of cooperation within the organization. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and use that might be encountered with the product or service. 10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets asking for zero defects or 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. 11. Eliminate numerical goals, numerical quotas and management by objectives. Substitute leadership. 12. Remove barriers that rob people of joy in their work. This will mean abolishing the annual rating or merit system that ranks people and creates competition and conflict. 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.
The Seven Deadly Diseases:
1. Lack of constancy of purpose. 2. Emphasis on short-term profits. 3. Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance. 4. Mobility of management. 5. Running a company on visible figures alone. 6. Excessive medical costs. 7. Excessive costs of warranty, fueled by lawyers who work for contingency fees.
A Lesser Category of Obstacles:
1. Neglect of long-range planning. 2. Relying on technology to solve problems. 3. Seeking examples to follow rather than developing solutions. 4. Excuses such as "Our problems are different".
I like the idea of not having "Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance." I think it creates competition among coworkers. Everyone feels like their future wage is directly dependant on their perceived performance, so when things go poorly everyone is quick to point fingers and blame on everyone else instead of working toward a solution. When things go well, everyone who doesn't get the recognition they feel they deserve may become bitter towards their boss and those that received recognition.
I work as a software developer and nearly all bugs we have had is a result of having a poor system for developing software. We need better project management (by the project managers), better hardware, and time for implementing systems for testing and Q&A. All of this "costs" too much.
So when things go wrong, it's the developers who get the blame. It's not the developers' fault. The developers were given a set amount of time and resources to accomplish a task and that's it. It's management's fault for not improving the system or listening to the developers suggestions. (And yes as I sit here typing I am blaming management instead of looking for a solution.)
Developers blame management; management blames developers. All place blame and aren't focused on a solution or improving the system. Everybody is a victim. People take sides and rivalries develop making the overall system less efficient.
I think one of the causes of this is "Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance."
I don't think significant blame for a poor software development system can be laid on the annual review process. However, I have seen performance review systems -- like the awkward, onerous one used by Microsoft -- that appear to seriously depress individual production.
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