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Project Management Blog
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 15:51

Point 14 - Deming in Project Management

Total Participation Starting From the Top

This point speaks to the need for
(1) commitment from top management and
(2) commitment from everyone else in the organization.
Quality is everyone’s job, and if any implementation is not total, it will not fulfill its full potential. 

In project management, I see this point alluding to executive formation and support of a company-wide Project Management Office. That PMO must be the central source of all project management knowledge, under continuous development by the practitioners of project management. Lessons learned and any potential improvements to the project management methodology used by all PM’s in the company should be evaluated, tested, and implemented as a positive change.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2007 15:49

Point 13 - Deming in Project Management

Training Not Related to Job/Task

In order for continuous improvement to become organizational culture, it must also become a personal goal for every employee. Self-improvement should not be limited to immediate application, that would be an example of short-term thinking. Employees are the most important assets of an organization, and therefore require effort to retain and enhance them.

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Sunday, 12 August 2007 21:03

Point 10 - Deming in Project Management

No Slogans or Disingenuous Pep Talks

This point consists of two elements as I see it. (1) Walk the talk, and (2) hold systems accountable.

Walk the Talk

Slogans are phony. The word slogan has a connotation of something that is not real. It sounds like an advertisement, and not something you can really trust in. In a project management organization, it is much better to have published guidelines and a vision that defines your philosophy and practice. Train your project managers and teams on the methodology. Then, let them execute within that framework, and put a system in place so that the practitioners can revise the process and make it better.

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Sunday, 12 August 2007 20:54

Point 9 - Deming in Project Management

Break Down Departmental Barriers in Pursuit of a Common Goal

Many processes are cross-functional. The same is true of projects. {mosimage}This point is about dissolving the “us versus them” scenario that so often exists in one form or another within organizations. In most projects that I work on, there are individuals from departments such as operations, central services and other support functions, MIS, IT, Service Engineering, etc. The “us versus them” attitude comes about when project managers and project team members look at their own interests at the exclusion of others, and instead of working towards a common goal, work towards their own separate and distinct goals.

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Thursday, 05 July 2007 19:05

Point 8 - Deming in Project Management

Drive out Fear and Create Trust

Fear encourages short-term thinking. One of Deming’s classic stories was about a foreman who didn’t stop production to repair a worn-out piece of equipment, because he feared that stopping production would mean missing his daily quota. Instead, he let production continue. When the machine failed, it forced the line to shut down for 4 days.

 

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Saturday, 16 June 2007 10:17

Deming's 7th Point in Project Management

Teach and Institute Leadership

It is the age-old distinction that usually merits much lip service and little true implementation. There is supervision/management, and then there is leadership. Project managers can either be supervisors or leaders, regardless of their job title.

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Saturday, 16 June 2007 10:12

Deming's 6th Point in Project Management

Job/Task-Related Training

A quality organization understands the value of the people who work in it. The same goes for project management. Training project managers, analysts, and everyone else who regularly works on projects in the company methodology, soft skills, etc. can bring significant rewards.

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Saturday, 16 June 2007 09:46

Deming's 5th Point in Project Management

Continuous Improvement

This is one of my favorite points from Dr. Deming. I see so many mistakes that are made again and again, and lessons learned that are either completely undocumented or filed away after a project, never to be seen again.

Do all of the other project managers in the firm get exposure to lessons learned from other projects? Usually not, in my experience. Surely, individual project managers and sponsors learn from their projects, but organizational learning and continuous improvement require a formal process for the documentation, analysis, and incorporation of lessons learned into a common methodology.

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Thursday, 17 May 2007 15:32

Deming's 4th Point in Project Management

Consider Costs and Benefits of the Entire System and Deliverable Lifetime

The textbook wording of this point varies, but is usually something like “Stop making decisions purely on the basis of cost.” When I read the various descriptions however, I believe the textbook title is not an adequate summary.

When Deming talks about not making decisions purely on the basis of cost, he is referring to a plant perspective and talks about the importance of having regular suppliers.

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Saturday, 12 May 2007 10:43

Deming's 3rd Point in Project Management

Inspection is a Tool for Improvement, Not a Whip

Deming's third point urges practitioners to design quality into processes, using inspection as an information-gathering tool to do so. In project management, the processes and systems make up a methodology. Does your organization have a consistent methodology, or does everyone run projects their own way?

Inspecting project performance through the lens of continuous improvement facilitates applying lessons learned to a consistent and ever-improving methodology. This can not be done effectively unless there is a consistent system of managing projects in the first place.

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