The Public Sector and Deming
Posted on January 7, 2006 Comments (3)
Paul Soglin, former Mayor of Madison Wisconsin, quotes one of Deming’s 14 obligations of management:
In looking for online background on Deming thinking in Madison I came across this explanation of Madison’s start, on the US Department of Labor site:
My father, Bill Hunter, was very involved (responsible for it, if you want my version of events) with the effort so I am interested in the results. He wrote up the experience for Deming’s Out of the Crisis (pages 245-247). It is always nice to see that Deming’s ideas have stayed in the minds of leaders (in Madison this is no doubt due to the great work of George Box, Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, Tom Mosgaller, Barb Hummel and many others).
For those partisans who want to hear from the other side (Soglin is a democrat), Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, is well know for his support of Deming’s ideas: “I’m a disciple of Edwards Deming. I really believe in a culture and system of quality.” (Transformational Leadership lecture, 2003) He met with Deming several times and has long spoken of the importance of Deming’s ideas. Gringrich’s required reading list (Out of the Crisis and New Economics by Deming, The Effective Executive by Drucker, The Art of War by Sun-Tzu and and 8 others).
More online resources on Madison’s efforts:
- Doing More With Less in the Public Sector: A Progress Report from Madison, Wisconsin by William G. Hunter, Jan O’Neill, and Carol Wallen, June 1986
- Quality in the Community: One City’s Experience, by George Box, Laurel W. Joiner, Sue Rohan and F. Joseph Sensenbrenner, June 1989
- Not online (too bad) Quality Comes to City Hall, Joseph Sensenbrenner, Harvard Business Review.
I also ran across this essay/application by Michael Masterson, former Police officer in Madison:
Our continuous organizational improvement journey continued in 1986 when Chief David Couper designated me as team leader of a project team to explore the concept of the Experimental Police District – a study of changing the traditional paramilitary hierarchical profession which emphasized control of its employees as well as its citizens to a new philosophy based on quality management tenets. Both would now be called customers. This change effort was premised on developing quality from the inside – out. By developing a new leadership philosophy we called “The 12 Principles of Quality Leadership”, we saw improved workplace conditions and employees attitudes which then led to community benefits of improved neighborhood conditions, reduced victimization, reduction of fear, increased citizen involvement, and increased satisfaction with police.
By the way he got the job as Boise Police Chief
- Transformation and Redesign at the White House Communications Agency (pdf format) by March Laree Jacques explores how Deming and Ackoff’s ideas were applied in a public sector setting.
- Quality Improvement and Government: Ten Hard Lessons From the Madison Experienceby David C. Couper, Chief of Police, City of Madison, Wisconsin, USA.