W. Edwards Deming Quotes

Quotes in systems thinking

A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.


Money and time spent for training will be ineffective unless inhibitors to good work are removed.


A bad system will beat a good person every time.


numerical goals set for other people, without a road map to reach the goal, have effects opposite to the effects sought.


Defects are not free. Somebody makes them, and gets paid for making them.


Best efforts are essential. Unfortunately, best efforts, people charging this way and that way without guidance of principles, can do a lot of damage.


Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.


The merit rating nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, [and] nourishes rivalry and politics. It leaves people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondent, dejected, feeling inferior, some even depressed, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior. It is unfair, as it ascribes to the people in a group differences that may be caused totally by the system that they work in.


Management of a system requires knowledge of the interrelationships between all of the components within the system and of everybody that works in it.