Deming’s Red Bead Experiment

Tonight’s free event at Skills Matter takes us into the brains of Benjamin Mitchell & David Joyce — where they will recreate Dr W. Edwards Deming’s famous Experiment on Red Beads.

This classic learning tool helps illustrates the impact that a system, and traditional management approaches, can have on individuals who work within a system.  The experiment introduces many of Deming’s ideas about management, including some of his 14 Points for Management.  It also introduces the Statistical Process Control Chart.

Originally used by Dr Deming as part of his four-day seminar, the experiment represents a corporation formed of “willing workers”, quality control personnel, a data recorder and a manager.

The corporation’s aim is to produce white beads by dipping a paddle into a container of beads.  The paddle has 50 holes in it to hold the bead. The container of beads contains not only white beads, but some defective red beads. The production of beads is controlled by an approved procedure.

After the experiment there will be a discussion of some of issues addressed by the experiment, which might including: understanding variation in work, the role of a the system on the performance of the workers, the effectiveness of managing with slogans, the usefulness of targets, annual appraisals and financial rewards and how to improve quality.

We will also relate this experiment to approaches to Software Development and the management of software development teams.

Places are filling fast for the event — so don’t miss your chance to register!

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