Edwards Deming – Life Story and Teachings

​Edwards Deming

Born: October 14, 1900
Died: December 20, 1993

Best known for: ​The 14 Points of Managing, the Deming Cycle, and the System of Profound Knowledge.

Deming Is best known for:

The 14 points for Managing

Deming’s fourteen points are management for transformation.

 The Deming Cycle

PDCA Cycle for continual improvement.

The system of Profound Knowledge

How managers should acquire new knowledge of the system?

​Edwards Deming was a prominent consultant, teacher, and author on the subject of Quality. Deming has published more than 200 works, including well-known books Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position and Out of the Crisis. Deming developed 14 ​​​​points for managing.



​After sharing his expertise in statistical quality control to help the US war effort during World war II, the War Department sent Deming to Japan to help the nation recover from its wartime losses.


Awarded the Shewhart medal by the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC)


Honored by the Japanese Emperor with the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure for his teachings

  If Japan can ... Why can't we?

If Japan can… Why can’t we? was an American television episode broadcast by NBC News. This was as part of the television show “NBC White Paper” on June 24, 1980, credited with beginning the Quality Revolution and introducing the methods of W. Edwards Deming to American managers.

  The Deming Cycle - PDCA

PDCA (plan–do–check–act) is an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. It is also known as the Deming circle/cycle/wheel, Shewhart cycle.

A variation of this is plan–do–study–act (PDSA) cycle.


Plan the action. Assess the current state, and the future state, and plan how to close the gap. Identify alternate solutions.


Try out or test the solutions (sometimes at a pilot level).


Check to see if the tested solutions accomplished the objective.


Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyze the differences to determine their root causes.

Repeat the cycle

  The Deming System of Profound Knowledge

The System of Profound Knowledge, or management by positive co-operation, is described in its four interrelated elements.

Appreciation for a System

The need for managers to understand the relationships between functions and activities, and that the long-term aim is for everyone to win – employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and the environment.

Knowledge of Variation

Knowledge and understanding of variation, process capability, control charts, interactions and the loss function.

Theory of Knowledge

As all plans require prediction based on historical information, the theory must be understood before it can successfully be copied.

Knowledge of Psychology

The understanding of human interactions, how people are motivated and what disillusions them.

  The 14 points of managing

Deming’s fourteen points of managing include:

1. Create constancy of purpose

Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.

2. Adopt the new philosophy

Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

3. Cease dependence on inspection

Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag

End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly

Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training

Institute training on the job.

7. Institute leadership

Institute leadership (see Point 12). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of an overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

 8. Drive out fear

Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.

9. Break down barriers

Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets

• Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
• Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

11. Pride of workmanship

Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

12. Abolishment of the annual or merit rating

Remove barriers that rob people in management and engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, among other things, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.

13. Education and self-improvement

Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Transformation

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.