top of page

W. Edwards Deming's list of

"Obstacles to Success"

1. The belief that automation, computers, and new machinery will solve problems.

2.  Searching for examples-trying to copy existing solutions.

3. The "ours orders are different" excuse-not realizing that the principles that will solve

    problems are universal.

4. Obsolete schools, where graduates have not been taught how to successfully

    run business.

5. Poor teaching of statistical methods in industry: teaching tools without a

    framework for using them is going to be unsuccessful.

6. Reliance on inspection to produce quality.

7. Reliance on the "quality control department" to take care of all quality problems.

8. Blaming the workforce for problems.

9. All forms of "instant pudding". Training without purpose and follow-up


10. The fallacy of zero effects: Companies fail even though they produce products and

     services without defects. Meaning the specifications isn't the complete story in any


11. Inadequate testing of prototypes. Testing without knowing the principles of

      variability is of no value. This is a symptom of inadequate understanding of product

     design, development, and the overall activity of technology commercialization.

12. "Anyone that comes to help us must understand all about our business.

      " There already are competent people in the organization who know everything

       about the business-except how to improve it. New knowledge and ideas must be

       fused with existing business expertise to bring about change and improvement.



bottom of page