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Friday, February 16, 2007

Deming on Management and Measurement

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, arguably, some say, the world's authority on modern management practices, is often incorrectly quoted as saying: "you can't manage what you can't measure."

In fact, he stated one of the seven deadly diseases of management was "Running a company on visible figures alone."

Deming also realized many important things, that must be managed, cannot be measured. Both those points are important.

  1. You can't measure everything of importance to management
  2. You must still manage those important things

Interestingly enough, Dr. Deming is also often quoted as saying: "In God we trust, all others bring data." Besides being a memorable quote, it does imply a requirement of data, and is meant to encourage people to find a way to get measurable data -- when possible.

This adds to an understanding of Deming's thought on the purpose of an organization, which is: "Organizations are a means to improve the lives we live."

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