Eliminate Slogans if…


demingI once visited a company that displayed slogans all over the place written by a senior executive over the software delivery group. One of them said something akin to, “We must get rid of the notion that for quality to increase then productivity must decrease.” Every time I saw them I was reminded of the following principle from W. Edwards Deming:

“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.” – W. Edward Deming

The executive over of the software delivery group implemented practices which met short term goals by rewarding the creation of technical debt. Technical debt always kills downstream productivity. They had been creating technical debt and decreasing downstream productivity for over a decade. They were literally buried in hundreds of millions of lines of poorly written code.

Don’t post slogans talking about quality and productivity if you have implemented a system that strips the participants from producing quality and increasing productivity.

Do you want to lead an awesome delivery group? A great place to start is to read and understand Deming. It is transformative. He teaches that it is the job of the manager is to ensure the system the people work in actually meets the stated goals. Anything less is just an empty slogan.

At the very least, don’t posts the empty slogans on the wall. 

By Tom (Thomas) Meloche – www.TomMeloche.com

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