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Every minute somewhere, someone refers to Deming’s term SMART (ie, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based).

Lesser known, however frequently copied, you will find his philosophy of continuous improvement. Therefore, true to his words, enjoy the phrasing of Deming’s 14 points of continuous improvement. You will discover an excellent discussion of them in Chapter 2 of Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, MIT Press, 2000; originally published in 1982.

A few are counter-intuitive but you decide. Consequently, take what you like and leave the rest.


Methodological Awareness About Deming’s 14 Points of Continuous Improvement

Deming’s 14 Points — Continuous Improvement Pays for Itself

  1. Provide for the long-range needs of the company; don’t focus on short-term profitability. The goal is to grow the business and add value.
  2. The world constantly changes, and managers need to adopt their way of thinking. Delays, mistakes, defective workmanship, and poor service are never acceptable.
  3. Quit depending on inspections to find defects, and build quality into products and processes as they are built. Use statistical process control to minimize biases.
  4. Do not choose suppliers on the basis of pricing (eg, low bids) alone. Minimize total cost by establishing long-term relationships with suppliers that are based on loyalty and trust.
  5. Work continually to improve customer delivery and service. Improvement is not a one-time effort; every activity in the process must be continually improved to reduce waste and improve quality.
  6. Institute training because managers should know about modern leadership and be able to train workers to become future leaders. Managers also need training to understand the processes of production, delivery, and customer satisfaction.
  7. Institute leadership. Managers ought help people do a better job and remove barriers that keep them from doing their job with pride. The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.


  1. 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 their immediate job.
  2. Break down barriers between departments. Create cross-functional teams so everyone can understand the others’ perspective. Do not undermine team cooperation by rewarding individual performance.
  3. Stop using slogans, exhortations, and targets. It is the process, not the workers, that creates defects and lowers productivity. Exhortations don’t change the system; that is management’s responsibility.
  4. Eliminate numerical quotas for workers and numerical goals for people in management. Also, eliminate arbitrary deadlines for development teams that are management by fear. Embrace facilitative leadership.
  5. Eliminate barriers that rob people of their pride of workmanship. Stop treating hourly workers like a commodity. Eliminate annual performance ratings for salaried workers.
  6. Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone. An educated workforce and management will propel profits in the future.
  7. Take action to accomplish transformation. A top management team must lead the effort with action, not simply ‘support’ it.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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