I particularly liked a reply by Alan Shalloway that linked things back to W. Edwards Deming's 14 points for management from his Theory/System of Profound Knowledge. Allan's translation has a bit of a "Lean" slant to it, and doesn't explicitly mention eliminating/reducing variation quite so much. Here is how he summarized it:
Re respect for people, the best place to start, IMHO, is Deming. Here are his fourteen points (Chapter 2 of Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, MIT Press, 2000; originally published in 1982.):
- The world has changed and managers need to adopt a new way of thinking. Delays, mistakes, defective workmanship and poor service are longer acceptable.
- Quit depending on inspection to find defects and start building quality into products while they are being built. Use statistical process control.
- Don't choose suppliers on the basis of low bids alone. Minimize total cost by establishing long term relationships with suppliers that are based on loyalty and trust.
- Work continually to improve the system of production and service. Improvement is not a one-time effort; every activity in the system must be continually improved to reduce waste and improve quality.
- Institute training. Managers should know how to do the job they supervise and be able to train workers. Managers also need training to understand the system of production.
- Institute leadership. The job of managers is to help people do a better job and remove barriers in the system that keep them from doing their job with pride. The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.
- Drive out fear. People need to feel secure in order to do their job well. There should never be a conflict between doing what is best for the company and meeting the expectations of a person's immediate job.
- Break down barriers between departments. Create cross-functional teams so everyone can understand each-other's perspective. Do not undermine team cooperation by rewarding individual performance.
- Stop using slogans, exhortations and targets. It is the system, not the workers, that creates defects and lowers productivity. Exhortations don't change the system; that is management's responsibility.
- Eliminate numerical quotas for workers and numerical goals for people in management. [We add: Eliminate arbitrary deadlines for development teams.] This is management by fear. Try leadership.
- Eliminate barriers that rob the people of their right to pride of workmanship. Stop treating hourly workers like a commodity. Eliminate annual performance ratings for salaried workers.
- Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone. An educated workforce and management is the key to the future.
- Take action to accomplish the transformation. A top management team must lead the effort with action, not just support.
These go back 60 years. And (I can't help myself) these principles are in the context that process causes 94% of the errors - so work on the process to support the people! (people and process, people and process, people and process, ...) ;)
Alan Shalloway, CEO, Sr. Consultant
Net Objectives, Gold Level Sponsor of Agile 2006.
Integrating people, process and technology through training, coaching and consulting.
Alan's website also has some really great articles, papers, presentations and resources on Agile, Lean, Scrum, XP, Design Patterns, and all things related to Agile development and object-oriented design.
For some slightly different interpretations and summaries of Demings 14 points and Seven Deadly Sins, see the following:
- Wikipedia entry on W. Edwards Deming
- Demings 14 points and Seven Deadly Sins of Management from Ends of the Earth
- A summary of Deming's 14 points from the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing
- Phil Cohen's summary of Deming's 14 points (which seems steeped in the language of removing/reducing variation)
There has also been a thread on another discussionlist (sorry - the name escapes me at the moment) on the relevance (or lack thereoff) of Deming's writings and philosophies in the world of today.
What are your thoughts?