Resources for Learning About Quality


This is a list of resources for learning about the transformation to continually improving quality that is emerging in businesses, service and governmental agencies, schools and colleges.
Related Pages

Dr. Deming's Quality Management

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"Inside TQM" - "Teachings of Dr Deming"
"Continuous Improvement in the Classroom"
Deming Electronic Network Discussion List Archive

Total Quality @ Mt. Edgecumbe High School
Online Quality Resources - Quality-Related Sites

American Society for Quality

Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award
Innovations in Government

Basic Tools for Process Improvement
Quality Control Tools Tutorials
TQM Library and Resources

Resources for Total Quality in Schools

The following publishers specialize in quality:

The American Society for Quality
Quality Resources
CC-M Productions (Videos)

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Dr. Terry Halwes

The items in this first section focus on the "Quality Revolution" as a whole, and give a very lively but scattered introduction to a mountain of information and a host of viewpoints. The authors have no particular commitment to Deming's system -- they skip from one management consultant to another, giving a broader view of the various influences at work in the U.S. and elsewhere. 

For anyone unsure about whether learning about quality is worth the effort, a good beginning is a series of videos, originally aired on PBS. The most recent is How Everyone Wins: Finding Joy, Meaning and Profit in the Workplace, an "introduction to and history of the failures and successes of the 20-year American revolution in work and personal lives -- and what we must learn to prosper and survive." It costs $50. An earlier three-part video series Quality...or Else, is more comprehensive. You might call your local public television station and ask when they plan to air the series again. The free Viewer's Guide for the series comes from CC-M Productions. The Viewer's Guide is itself an interesting brief introduction to the topic and cites many sources of information about quality management. The series is $300. 

The companion volume, containing even more information than the series does, is Quality OR ELSE: The Revolution In World Business by Lloyd Dobyns and Clare Crawford-Mason. You can read an excerpt from Chapter I on the Web, or download the entire chapter.

If Japan Can...Why Can't We? is the NBC News White Paper, first shown on June 24, 1980, which is "credited with beginning the Quality Revolution and introducing W. Edwards Deming to American managers. It tells how the Japanese captured the world auto and electronics markets by following Deming's advice to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and
pieces. The report is an important historical document. It provides a deeper understanding of why we have had to learn to work and live in such rapid change. The program is an excellent consciousness raiser. Viewers are usually startled to see Deming predicting two decades ago what has happened." 70 minutes; $200. 

The next item contains reprints of dozens of articles on various aspects of quality -- some are very simple and some more advanced. Titled An Introduction To Total Quality For Schools: A Collection Of Articles On The Concepts Of Total Quality Management And W. Edwards Deming, the collection is published by the American Association of School Administrators. (Although his name is in the title of the collection, some of the articles included advocate management strategies that Dr. Deming has rejected as mistaken; but, all in all, this is a valuable resource.)

Myron Tribus has prepared a list of resources on Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska. He comments: "I strongly recommend this material to anyone contemplating quality in education. MEHS has been at it longer than any other institution in the World. In my two visits there I have been overwhelmed by what I saw. In the words of Lew Rhodes: "It was difficult to tell the students from the teachers".

Books Specifically About Deming's System

Easy Reading

Thinking About Quality : Progress, Wisdom and the Deming Philosophy, by Lloyd Dobyns, Clare Crawford-Mason. When American managers attempt to adopt Deming's approach as if it were a simple management plan, it doesn't work, because "the Deming method is a philosophy -- and calls for radical changes in how we think about everything we do."  (Times books, 1994.)

The Deming Management Method, by Mary Walton, a journalist, provides an easy and entertaining beginning for those who want to learn more about Deming himself and his contributions, first to Japanese and then to American understanding of effective management (Putnam's, 1986). 

Walton's newer book, Deming Management At Work, still nontechnical and very readable, tells more about how the methods have been applied. (I would recommend reading this one before her first book) The first chapter summarizes Deming's philosophy of management, with sections on Deming himself, the Fourteen Points, the Seven Deadly Diseases, and the process-investigation tools. Later chapters focus on organizations that have used Deming's system in transforming themselves: small and large manufacturing firms and service agencies, plus the U.S. Navy (Putnam's, 1990).

Car: A Drama of the American Workplace, by Mary Walton, looks in depth at one car maker, Ford, working on the redesign of one car, The Taurus. Ford has been held out as a shining example of what quality management can do for a company -- but successful manufacturing takes more than incorporating quality into a product. She shows how corporate reorganization, conflicts between teams, poor communication with customers, short-sighted cost cutting, and other mistakes resulted in a drop in Taurus sales after the redesign. 

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Sources of Deeper Understanding 

An Introduction To Total Quality For Schools, the collection published by the American Association of School Administrators (described in the section on introductory materials) is included again here. In it are several excellent articles that are relatively explicit about how to actually go about various aspects of a transformation to continual improvement in producing quality. See especially the articles by Deming (Ch. 3), Scholtes and Hacquebord Ch. 10), Baker and Hunter (Ch. 11), Joiner (Ch. 12), Senge (Ch. 13) and Tribus and Tsuda (Ch. 14). 

Myron Tribus. Several of his papers are available free from the  Total Quality @ Mt. Edgecumbe High School Web site in Adobe Acrobat format and a Zipped WordPerfect or text files from the TQM BBS at Clemson University. Formerly Director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT, he studied Deming's system for over a decade and over the years wrote a number of useful papers on various aspects of the introduction of quality management. The essays "have been found useful in creating an interest and awareness among people who are not yet acquainted with Total Quality Management. The essays are not copyrighted, so you may reproduce and circulate them as you wish. If you do, please acknowledge the source" (Quote from another article by Tribus and his colleagues). To obtain copies of the Quality First collection write or call Nick Wright at the American Quality and Productivity Institute, 1420 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 684-2863. The price is $15, including postage. 

W. Edwards Deming. The New Economics : For Industry, Government, Education. (MIT Press, 1995.)

William W. Scherkenbach. The Deming Route To Quality And Productivity: Road Maps And Roadblocks. His understanding of the Fourteen Points of Deming's philosophy, with examples. A powerful supplement to and commentary upon Deming's teachings, it has been hailed as a good introduction to Out Of The Crisis. However, whenever Mr. Scherkenbach felt he had nothing to say that would further clarify Deming's text, he said very little, so some of the Fourteen Points are barely mentioned. (Mercury Press, 1986). 

W. W. Scherkenbach. Breakthrough Performance (CD ROM).
Includes the text of Deming's Road To Continual Improvement. Very clear and enjoyable. He follows the language of Deming's later seminars: Continual improvement requires "a philosophy of Profound Knowledge." "Understanding Profound Knowledge involves a revolution in thought. Operationalizing Profound Knowledge requires an evolution of practice." Not just a commentary, this is a comprehensive presentation of the whole system. (WWS, Inc., 1998). See his Web site.

W. Edwards Deming. Out Of The Crisis. The "Bible" of the Deming Way, with many examples of how managers who began to understand the philosophy were able to transform various aspects of their processes (MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1982).

Rafael Aguayo. Dr. Deming: The American Who Taught The Japanese About Quality. I personally found this one very useful; but it is in some sections more an interpretation of Deming than a simple description. Dr. Deming states in his "Forward" that the book might well have included the idea of a system and the plan -- do -- check -- act cycle. (For those, see the works by Scherkenbach and by Deming himself.) Mr. Aguayo does, however, offer insights that I have found nowhere else (Simon and Schuster, 1990). 

For learning to use the quality improvement tools, the text most often recommended is Kaoru Ishikawa's Guide To Quality Control. Intended for self-study and for the training of people with no technical background (Asian Productivity Organization). 

Kaoru Ishikawa. What Is Total Quality Control? the Japanese Way

Walter A. Shewhart. Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control. (Dover, 1986).

Handbook of Quality Tools : The Japanese Approach (Classics in Paper) by Tetsuichi Asaka (Editor), Kazuo Ozeki (Editor). 

Many texts offer further practice in applying the methods. Particularly attractive is a series by Davida and Robert Amsden and Howard Butler, published by Quality Resources: SPC Simplified: Practical Steps To Quality (Second Edition, 1998); SPC Simplified Workbook (1990); SPC Simplified For Services (1991). 

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Local Deming Associations are independent groups of individuals or organizational members who are interested in learning about and developing an increasing understanding of Dr. Deming's teachings and their application to life and work.

Community Quality Councils: Bringing together organizations committed to quality, or at least committed to learning about it, they work to foster transition to total quality in every part of the community, including education. Please note that Community Quality Council is not a support group as we use the term. (Most memberships are institutional; membership is hundreds of dollars per year, and only consultants and trainers join as individuals. A support group would welcome individual memberships, and would not charge them the same fee as an entire school district or corporation.) This is not intended as criticism of the Quality Councils. Support groups will probably find them quite helpful--at the very least, the quality council knows about most of the organizations in the area that are making the transition to quality, organizations including schools and colleges. The Connecticut Quality Coalition, for example, currently includes a few school districts, some individual schools, and the state community colleges.

One of the most highly respected trainers is William W. Scherkenbach. "He was my student, and there's none better in the world... It takes a little ingredient called profound knowledge, and he's got it." W. Edwards Deming.

Seminars on these topics tend to be expensive, although upper-level managers are used to paying such fees. For example, one three-day seminar given under the auspices of the American Association of School Administrators, featuring Dr. Deming and "five of his top associates," cost $1070, not counting transportation, hotel and meals. Two-day AASA seminars that don't involve Deming himself are about $400. Four-day seminars offered in the SPC Press catalog are $900. Fortunately, though, prices for tapes from the Deming Library series have been reduced. Tapes for the nine volume basic series are now being offered for $100 per session. 

A less expensive option is the fifteen-session course, Quality... OR ELSE: A Course of Study, produced by CC-M Productions. The first five sessions focus on various aspects of the content of the first video in the QUALITY...OR ELSE series, the next five sessions focus on the second video, and the last five focus on the third. The description of the course in the viewer's guide for the video series states that the course "can be led on any level from basic to advanced by a nonprofessional instructor." This suggests that the course could be offered in most communities without the expense of importing a consultant to teach it. The course materials are included in the $300 cost of the video series. 

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Revised on April 30, 1999

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