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The Components of Deming-based Lean Six Sigma Management Theory

The components of Deming-based Lean Six Sigma management include:

  • The Macro Model (dashboards without irrational goals, quotas, or timetables)
  •  The Micro Model (projects and tasks that replace many of the requirements for performance appraisal systems), 
  • The Management Model (Dr. Deming’s Theory of Management, called the System of Profound Knowledge and the Japanese Way of Total Quality Control).

The Macro Model

When it comes to dashboards, the Macro Model (mission statements, job descriptions, objectives, and metrics (indicators) are a cascading system of information that defines employees’ jobs and ensures that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing.

The Micro Model

The Micro Model replaces the quotas, targets, and hard deadlines set by management’s desired objectives with process improvement projects. When one of the objectives is not generating the desired output (metrics/indicator results), managers employ Micro Model projects to investigate the process that underlies the problematic metric that is associated with the problematic objective. Using the dashboard, managers can put a project in place to transition employees from the existing flowchart of how to do the job to a new and improved flowchart of how to do the job, which will resolve the issues that are causing poor results on the problematic metric. The SDSA cycle, the PDSA cycle, the Six Sigma DMAIC model, and the Lean Manufacturing methods are all examples of models that are commonly used for this type of process improvement.

Good data is required for a dashboard and projects. A good set of data is required for both the Macro Model and the Micro Model. It is a data-driven approach to management. This is the purpose of the Management Model.

The Management Model

The management model is based on Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge and the 14 Points for Management. In order to have good data, one must have an organizational culture in which employees will not be penalized for delivering poor results, as described above. Managers should start asking questions like: “Let’s take a look at the flowchart of your job and see how you could improve your process outputs,” rather than punishing them with the performance appraisal system and the rank and yank system (fire the bottom 10% of employees based on their performance appraisal scores every year); if employees fail to meet their target, quota, or deadline set by MBO. Managers might also ask:  “What are the issues in your job that are blocking you from getting to where you want to be?”These questions will allow employees to make changes to their process such that they can now meet and maybe exceed expectations.