W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming wrote extensively on quality, particularly in relation to manufacturing industry; what follows is adapted from the 14 points he considered when promoting Total Quality Management. Much of this is applicable to the software industry.

1 Create constancy of purpose towards improvement of the product and service in order to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.

2 Adopt the new philosophy: we are in a new economic age. We no longer need to live with commonly accepted levels of delay, mistake, defective material and defective manufacture.

3 Cease dependence on mass inspection; require, instead, statistical evidence that quality is built in.

4 Improve the quality of incoming materials. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price alone. Instead, depend on meaningful measures of quality, together with price.

5 Find the problems: constantly improve the system of production and service. There should be a continual reduction of waste and continual improvement of quality in every activity in order to yield a continual rise in productivity and a decrease in costs

6 Institute modern methods of training and education for all. Modern methods of on-the-job training use control charts to determine whether a worker has been properly trained and is able to perform the job correctly. Statistical methods must be used to discover when training is complete.

7 Institute modern methods of supervision: the emphasis of production supervisors must be to help people do a better job. Improvement of quality will automatically improve productivity. Management must prepare to take immediate action reports from supervisors concerning problems such as inherited defects, lack of maintenance of machines, poor tools or fuzzy operational definitions.

8 Fear is a barrier to improvement, so drive out fear by encouraging effective two-way communication and other mechanisms that will enable 'everybody to be part of change and belong to it'. Fear can often be found at all levels in an organisation: fear of change, fear that it might be necessary to learn a better way of working, fear that their positions might be usurped frequently afflict middle management, whilst workers on the shop-floor can also fear the effects of change on their jobs. The results of fear can be seen in inspection: operators may record incorrectly the results of inspecting their own work for fear of exceeding the quota of allowable defects, and inspectors may falsify results to avoid the wrath of their colleagues.

9 Break down barriers between departments and staff areas. People in different areas such as research, design, sales, administration and production must work in teams to tackle problems that may be encountered with products or service.

10 Eliminate the use of slogans, posters and exhortations aimed at the workforce, demanding zero defects and new levels of productivity without providing methods. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships; the bulk of causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the workforce.

11 Eliminate work standards that prescribe numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for the people in management. Substitute aids and helpful leadership; use statistical methods for continual improvement of quality and productivity

12 Remove barriers that rob hourly workers, and people in management, of their right to pride in their work. This implies, inter alia, abolition of the annual merit rating (appraisal of performance) and of management by objectives. Again, the responsibility of managers and supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

13 Institute a vigorous programme of education, and encourage self-improvement for everyone. What an organisation needs is not just good people; it needs people who are improving with education. Advances in competitive position will have their roots in knowledge.

14 Top management's permanent commitment to ever-improving quality and productivity must be clearly defined and a management structure created that will continually take action to follow the preceding 13 points