Deming's Point Six

Institute training.

♦ Management is responsible for creating and managing the system of on-the-job training.  One aim of the training is reduced variation in methods.

♦ Waste due to variation in methods on the job:  In an elementary school, three different fourth-grade teachers may employ three different methods in teaching certain math facts.  Some combination of the three teachers' students end up in the same fifth grade classroom next year.  What problems does this create for the fifth-grade teacher?

♦ People are not alike.  They learn in different ways.  By listening, writing, picturing, showing, practice.

♦ A central problem facing management today is the need for better understanding and appreciation of variation.

♦ In every district I visit, I hear stories about some teachers whose classes are highly structured and disciplined, while other teachers seem to allow just about anything in their classrooms.  What are the effects on the students of those mixed messages and variation in classroom discipline criteria and practices?

♦ The greatest waste in America is the failure to use the abilities of her people.

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

♦ Training Effectiveness = f [ (Quality of subject matter) x (Probability of use) ].  This equation states the the effectiveness of any training will be a function of the quality of the subject matter times the probability of use.  

♦ Plant-wide SPC training binges never work and never will.  If the employees return to work and have no control chart to interpret or maintain, the probability of using the training is zero.  Thus, the training effectiveness will be zero -- no matter how great the instruction built into the training program!

♦ Training must be totally restructured.

If training is so important, why hasn’t it been more effective?  It hasn’t been very effective because of a series of inhibitors.  Because management has not changed organization systems to use the training, untold millions of dollars are being wasted on training.


W. E. Deming, Out of the Crisis, MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Education, Cambridge, MA (1986),  pp. 52-54.

J. F. Leonard, The New Philosophy for K-12 Education: A Deming Framework for Transforming America's Schools, ASQ Quality Press, Milwaukee, WI (1996), pp. 200-201.

W. Scherkenbach, The Deming Route to Quality and Productivity, Mercury Press, Rockville, MD (1988), p. 91.

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