Is Business “Out of the Crisis” Yet?

W Edwards Deming wrote his guide to Business Agility more than 30 years ago, under the title Out of the Crisis. He criticised the operating model, design and management of Western organizations in detail and described a better way based on empirical control and quality improvement.

Deming is known as the father of quality, yet through the success of his teachings in Japan, lectures and published works, has probably had a greater impact on the whole area we now call Agile than any other individual. He understood the importance of people and their roles within the organization as a system.

In this talk we see how modern organizations seeking agility look through the lens of Deming’s 14 points for transformation, how they fare on his list of 7 deadly diseases and what they can adopt from his system of Profound Knowledge.

A lot has changed in 30 years, especially in the field of technology and our understanding of the workplace and the results are surprising.


Outline/Structure of the Keynote

Introducing Deming as a pioneering agilist

  • 7 deadly sins - any of these sound familiar?
  • 14 points for transformation & PDSA - do these look like agile?

Case study examples

  • Learning-specific (extreme) examples from investment banking IT, healthcare and service industries


  • System of Profound Knowledge as wider framework

Learning Outcome

Hundreds of academic case studies have been written about organisations that have applied Deming’s teachings, providing reliable data about the state of the organisations and the effectiveness of the methods.

The case studies reveal that despite the use of technology, the fundamental flaws of management are unchanged and the 14 points are as relevant to Agile Transformations now as they were 30 years ago.

Target Audience

executives, managers, presidents, VPs, chairpersons, c-suite, change agents

schedule Submitted 3 years ago