The W. Edwards Deming Institute Podcast

TJ Gokcen, CEO of Acquate -

In this week’s podcast, TJ Gokcen, CEO of Acquate, a software company in Sydney, Australia, shares his learning journey, from collegiate swimmer to software developer, ever in alignment with the Deming philosophy.

For many, Dr. Deming was discovered in 1980 through the NBC television whitepaper, If Japan Can, Why Can’t We.  Throughout this documentary are tell-tale signs of a failing US economy, one heavily dependent on manufacturing, from the production of machine tools to the fabrication of automobiles.   To no surprise, many of the earliest examples of the application of Dr. Deming’s management philosophy were in manufacturing.   Meanwhile, attendees at his seminars who came from outside of manufacturing environments might have struggled to see the significance to their professions.   Credit Dr. Deming with continuously striving to demonstrate the unlimited applicability of his management theory, ever mindful of the trap of having attendees see the statistical tools he presented as his core message.   Credit TJ Gokcen with a simple, yet insightful explanation of how he has been applying Dr. Deming’s philosophy to both the design of the software developed by Acquate and the internal operation of Acquate.

In this 30-minute episode, TJ skillfully guides listeners through the technical jargon of software development, from agile to scrum to waterfall to kanban techniques, and then proceeds to the heart of how he believes Acquate differentiates itself from other software companies.   Using one of Dr. Deming’s favorite questions about “how to wash a table?,” TJ provides parallels for how his developers probe their clients, question after question, wanting to know more and more about “how will the software be used.”   For those who wonder how Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge applies to software, this podcast will open minds and doors to amazing possibilities.   For those who appreciate the wide applicability of Dr. Deming’s philosophy, this podcast will provide a brilliant reminder.
Direct download: DemingEpisode34.m4a
Category:software -- posted at: 7:52pm EDT

10 Minutes with Dr. Deming - Are Big Banks Bad?

In the 4th episode of 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming, Tripp Babbitt provides a follow up on Wells Fargo. He starts with his frustration after listening to the CEO’s testimony to congress, and again hearing about the need for more regulation, and even talk about breaking up the bank. 

The remainder of the episode is devoted to Dr. Deming’s thoughts on monopolies.  He speaks of two worlds, one where the aim is to stay in business for the long term, be a part of a bigger system and provide maximum benefit to everyone and a second world where the aim is only for short term profit.

Hear Dr. Deming talk about monopolies, and how a monopoly has the best chance to be of maximum service to the world and has a heavy obligation to do so. He cites the contribution of the Bell Telephone Laboratories. But as he says it’s not enough to be a monopoly, you must have an aim and be managed as a system to be beneficial. Here he cites the big three automotive companies in the 60’s and the Public Schools System to see where monopolies have fallen short due to short term thinking. Instead of regulation maybe it’s time for education!

If you have comments or suggestions for future 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming topics, please contact Tripp at or through Twitter @demingpodcast.

Direct download: 10_Minutes_with_Dr._Deming_-_Episode_4.m4a
Category:10 minutes with Dr. Deming -- posted at: 6:33pm EDT

10 Minutes with Dr. Deming - Lessons from Wells Fargo

In the 3rd episode of 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming, Tripp Babbitt discusses the allegations and fallout surrounding Wells Fargo Bank and their incentive compensation programs.  These systems of rewards, incentives and bonuses have plagued organizations for years, yet we continue to use these concepts and do virtually nothing as they wreak havoc on industry, government and education.

Tripp shares how Wells Fargo had a goal focused on profit and developed and used a system of rewards, bonuses and incentives to achieve that goal; leading to fraudulent sales practices and ultimately 5,300 employees being fired for trying to achieve their otherwise unattainable goals.

Listen as Tripp uses Dr. Deming’s concepts to look at the situation through a different lens where he describes the “forces of destruction” that lead to broken systems and the reliance on extrinsic motivators while squeezing out our intrinsic motivation .  Rather than relying on these negative forces, Dr. Deming explains, a system should be put in place where everyone comes out ahead, with an Aim for everyone to win. A win-win for everybody. Enjoy!

If you have comments or suggestions for future 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming topics, please contact Tripp at or through Twitter @demingpodcast.

Direct download: 10_Minutes_with_Dr._Deming_-_Episode_3.m4a
Category:10 minutes with Dr. Deming -- posted at: 4:13pm EDT

10 Minutes with Dr. Deming – Where is the Crisis?

In the second episode of our 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming series, Tripp Babbitt, poses the question, “where is the crisis”? You will hear Dr. Deming discuss the crisis of management, and the underuse and underdevelopment of people that still plagues this country today. 

If you have comments or suggestions for future 10 Minutes with Dr. Deming topics, please contact Tripp at or through Twitter @demingpodcast.

Direct download: 10_minutes_with_Dr._Deming_-_Episode_2.m4a
Category:10 minutes with Dr. Deming -- posted at: 4:33pm EDT

David P. Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc. – Where is all the Joy?

In this week’s podcast, David P. Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc., focuses on “Joy in Learning” and how to bring joy back into the education system.

In answering why students aren’t experiencing “Joy in Learning” David starts by quoting Dr. Deming, “are we trying to create a system that teaches students to answer tests or are we trying to create a system that teaches them to think?” The current education system continues to focus on test scores, to the detriment of learning and the loss of elements in the system (like fine arts programs) that brought enjoyment. Dr. Deming was the first person David encountered who believed students have a right to joy in learning. 

What can you do to change the system?  David tells us that restoring joy begins with your “circle of influence” and connecting with those who want a better way to do things. Teachers can start by simply asking students, “what drives you to have joy in learning and what prevents it?”

David shares that there is no recipe for using the Deming philosophy, unlike other education movements. Often these methods don’t work because there is no understanding of variability between communities, states, cultures and the background of students. Once it’s decided to change the system, real learning happens, performance goes up and joy returns!

Direct download: DemingEpisode33.m4a
Category:education -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT

Travis Timmons, Owner and Physical Therapist of Fitness Matters and Kelly Allan, Deming Institute Advisory Board Chairman - “From Chaos to Process”

Travis Timmons, owner of Fitness Matters and Kelly Allan, Senior Associate of Kelly Allan Associates and Chair of the Deming Institute Advisory Board.

Travis and Kelly share the Deming journey “From Chaos to Process” of Fitness Matters, starting with Travis’s introduction to The System of Profound Knowledge® (SoPK), and systems thinking. The focus then shifts to psychology and caring for people, and how they have driven our fear and removed barriers all while creating “joy in work”.  He ends with how using the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) Cycle has helped them grow and thrive.

Travis discusses how he was introduced to the Deming philosophy and areas that first resonated with him - including using a systems approach, and how to think differently and put processes in place to make better decisions. One of the most powerful aspects for him was how SoPK makes you look at how you care for people inside and outside the organization.

Travis and Kelly then talk about how the psychology element and the team mindset has been game changing.  These have led to less fear, less stress and more joy within the organization, leading to positive outcomes and win-wins for everyone (including the competition).

Lastly, Travis shares a few examples of PDSA’s and the aha moments they discovered along the way. From getting new referrals to finding tampering in the scheduling system, PDSA’s have been a very effective tool in moving them light years ahead in working together as one system and having fun while they do it.

Direct download: DemingEpisode32.m4a
Category:management -- posted at: 4:58pm EDT

Cliff Norman and Ron Moen of Associates in Process Improvement (API) – The PDSA Cycle “Business Is More Exacting Than Science”

Cliff Norman and Ron Moen, of Associates in Process Improvement (API) discuss the history of the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA Cycle) and their research on the subject. 

Cliff and Ron start with how the underpinning of Deming's philosophy was the idea of "continuous improvement", with the PDSA Cycle underlying that philosophy. They discuss the PDSA Cycle of never-ending improvement and learning, and how the iterative nature of the cycle fits with The Deming System of Profound Knowledge®. As Ron shares, Dr. Deming believed that "business is more exacting than science" as businesses must continually learn and improve to survive.

Next Cliff and Ron delve into why they wrote a paper on the PDSA Cycle. Ron explains that the quality movement in America began after the NBC White Paper, If Japan Can..Why Can't We? aired in 1980. This raised interest in the Japan and the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle, which originated there.  Although Dr. Deming never spoke of PDCA, it was connected to him in the early 80's. That incorrect attribution was the inspiration behind the paper. 

Cliff and Ron discuss the evolution of the PDSA Cycle, starting hundreds of years ago with the theories of Galileo and Aristotle. Listen as they take you through the progression, from the Shewhart Cycle, through the Deming Wheel and ultimately the PDSA Cycle as we know it today.

Direct download: DemingEpisode31.m4a
Category:management -- posted at: 12:17pm EDT

Kevin Cahill, Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute, and David Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc. – “The Deming in Education Initiative”

In this week’s podcast, Kevin Cahill, Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute® and David Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc., introduce The Deming in Education Initiative.  Kevin and David share how The Deming in Education Initiative was conceived, the impact of the Deming Philosophy on education, and where the Initiative is going in the future.

The initiative first began many years ago when David joined the Deming Institute Advisory Board to help with their efforts to apply the Deming philosophy in education. But the roots of Deming in Education go even further back.  As David explains, improving education was “a great love” of Dr. Deming, as an educator who taught at NY University for 40 years.  Many of Dr. Deming’s theories and teachings are directly focused on the education system.  After working with Dr. Deming from 1986 to 1993, David began implementing the concepts in his own education system, finding that students easily took to the new approach.

Over the last 25 years, David has seen the Deming teachings make a profound and lasting impact on improving school culture and the learning process in the US and around the world.  It is the only philosophy that improves all aspects of the education system.  That impact has inspired Kevin, David and The Deming Institute to commit a deeper focus on developing a long term, sustainable, systems approach to improving education for all students, through The Deming in Education Initiative.

Direct download: DemingEpisode30.m4a
Category:education -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

Frony Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Inc. – Beware, Not All Polls Are The Same

This week's Podcast, continues our "Knowledge in Variation Series" with Dr. Frony Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Inc.

In this podcast, Frony discusses online surveys and polls. She starts by sharing the fundamental piece of every single survey. From there she delves into elections polls, and why so many election polls show different results. Lastly, she discusses two or three good things you can do to help yourself understand a poll.

Direct download: DemingEpisode29.m4a
Category:knowledge of variation -- posted at: 6:15pm EDT

Scott Dalgleish is the CEO at Phase IV Engineering – “It Just Made Sense And It Worked”

Scott's story starts in 1986, as a graduate walking in the doors of P&G to be a new engineer and shift manager. He was soon perplexed by how he could contribute to solving issues associated with production and quality. During this time, P&G introduced the Deming Philosophy to the organization; a decision that would have a profound impact on Scott's professional and personal life. Scott eagerly applied what he learned, despite facing resistance to change and improvements. After three years, he decided to move to a smaller company where the Deming principles were readily embraced. Listen as Scott discusses how he leads a highly inventive engineering organization whose focus is on innovation and the advantage gained through the embrace of Deming's continual improvement philosophy. Hear his fascinating approach to hiring employees without factoring in schooling and GPA, and a discussion between Tripp and Scott on the challenged presented by ISO 9000.

Direct download: DemingEpisode28.m4a
Category:management -- posted at: 5:14pm EDT