Posted on May 1, 2012 · Posted in Leadership, Management, Project Management

William Deming first introduced the fourteen key principles in his book Out of the Crisis which was published in 1986. These principles still apply to business and project management today. From long standing companies to small businesses just starting out, these principles are key components in successful business and project management objectives and endeavors.

  1. The focus is to remain constant with the purpose or goal of your business. Project managers as well as business managers should continuously seek methods to improve your product and your overall service. This is absolutely important for project managers to consider. By continuously striving to improve your product and customer service, you will stay one step ahead of your competition. As it should go without saying staying in business is very important particularly in today’s economy. Staying in business will provide jobs for others.
  2. Life is always changing. Things grow, develop, and die to make way for new methods and new life. The same goes for business. Project managers should stay abreast of the new challenges and changes in the business environment. Some new challenges that business face every day is technology. It is difficult to stay on top of the new systems, technological gadgets, and updates that are constantly at our disposal. The challenge of staying current must be accepted. As a project manager you must be flexible and open to new challenges and changes and must act as leaders.
  3. Business is constantly susceptible to inspection. This ensures your business is up to code and compliant with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. However, you shouldn’t rely on these inspections to improve your business. You need to study and be aware of the new or changing trends and practices. Do not wait for an inspection, or until it’s “too late”, to implement a new change or make improvements.
  4. While cost is important for businesses, and is even more of a key component in today’s economy, the bottom line can’t always be the price tag. A key to business is not the higher price. Instead it is to minimize total cost in order to stay in competition with other businesses. One supplier for any one item can build a long lasting business relationship of trust and loyalty.
  5. Project managers and business managers should always have costs and budgets in the back of their minds. While it seems as if this point may conflict with the previous principle, it is important to remember to constantly attempt to improve production and service. However, it is also important to decrease overall costs. Remember the better the production and service the less you will pay in total cost.
  6. To make productive and informed workers it is necessary to have on the job training for your employees. Training should be held regularly as business grows and as practices change. This will definitely help employees stay well informed and be successful in their roles. As a project manager or business manager you should stay on top of your employees’ overall performances and address training in areas where needed. Not only will this show your employees that you care about their future at the company but that you are a leader they can count on.
  7. Leadership is probably one of the most important areas of project management and business management. A project manager must possess outstanding leadership skills. A good leader should be there to supervise the employees and oversee operations in order to maintain productivity. Today leadership doesn’t stop at just employees but rather it extends to technology as well. Project managers should help improve users’ knowledge and skills as well as oversee the functionality of technology as a whole.
  8. Recognize that fear is not an option. Effective leaders should work with employees and team members to remove the fear of failure and the inability or fear of completing tasks or taking on new challenges. If team members feel confident and encouraged they will ultimately be more effective and productive as well as successful in their roles.
  9. Tear down walls, figuratively and literally. There should be no barriers between departments. All areas of the business to need to be able to work and communicate with one another effectively to reach one goal: get the job done. As a project manager or business manager, it is an essential part of your job to make sure tasks and assignments get done. Teamwork is the most effective tool in a business setting. In addition, you can also tear down the walls in a literal sense. More and more companies are even instituting an open floor plan which reduces segregation among supervisors, coworkers, and teams. Not only does this open up the doors of communication studies have also shown that employees feel more comfortable in an open floor plan.
  10. Teamwork cannot be competitive. Do away with targets and inter-business competitions. This only drives team members and coworkers away from one another and ultimately decreases morale. Reward equally and allow praise among all employees.
  11. Leadership is the ultimate key to production. The old fashioned system of setting up goals and standards is obsolete and outdated. Quotas have statistically failed in business in the past. Successful project managers can institute measures and practices of leadership and display those skills to ensure productivity rather than succumbing to quotas and standards.
  12. Another crucial component that a project manager must focus on is quality. There are many different ways you can go about establishing quality in the work place. Remember that a team member will always take pride in his or her accomplishments. Do not hinder these feelings among your team members. Quality is absolutely the key to business, but creativity and craftsmanship in your team members will ensure more productivity and a happier work place.
  13. Human beings by biological nature have the desire to learn. As people we want to learn, grow, and develop. This goes for our careers as well. Education and self improvement should be constantly emphasized in the work place. Project managers should show team members how they can grow personally as well as professionally. By investing and encouraging team members to learn and grow, the company ultimately grows as a business.
  14. All effective members of a business are responsible for the transformation and growth of the business. The company is only as strong as its weakest link. By instituting attitudes of leadership, encouragement, and new philosophies, each team member will do his or her own share of work to help transform the company.

William Deming’s fourteen principles of business management are still very effective in the business world today. So what do most of these principles have in common? Leadership. By extending leadership qualities to team members and by applying these principles to all areas of the business, reaching company goals and objectives, regardless of how large or small, will become more visible. These principles begin at the management level and will trickle down.

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