DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Quality and Performance Improvement

Key Competencies: 


Planning and implementing change
Problem solving

Team work

Quality and performance improvement

Quantitative analysis

Systems thinking




Quality and Performance Improvement_syllabus_2016Jan.pdf




This module was both challenging and rewarding.  We were taught the foundational theory of quality improvement and systems thinking.  Studied variation and learned to track it, interpret it and alter processes sufficient to account for it.  We were introduced to several QI tools / models such as the PDSA cycle, Lean and Six Sigma.  


As I approach my work going forward I intend to use the principles learned and apply them as needed.  I may choose to use parts and pieces of various models to accomplish the task at hand.  The work of this module did present certain barriers to overcome such as managing time to complete the work or to meet with groups on a regular basis. I did not use the improvement model to overcome these particular barriers but I recognize the value of the QI tools and can appreciate how they can be applied to one’s personal and professional life. 



There is significant benefit derived from the study of the historical contributions of great QI leaders such as Dr. Deming, Juran, and Shewhart. The more modern work of Brian Joiner was founded in such teachings as well.  Joiner proposed the principles of the Joiner triangle which include defining the voice of the customer, scientific approach and the concept of being all one team.   We were asked to discuss the interplay between the work of Deming and Joiner which was an excellent exercise in comparison of style and identifying the overarching principles. 


Systems Thinking

This module was key to our understanding of how to view organizations as a system.  According to Dr. Deming, a system is a ‘network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the aim of the system’ (Nau).  Within a system, management is responsible to achieve the aim by managing with the aim in mind and reviewing system processes as needed to make improvements that contribute to achieving the aim.  



Variation is a critical piece of information that managers of any organization must understand and appreciate.  Common cause variation versus special cause variation and the use of run and control charts to map variation help us to infer trends from data and make changes accordingly.  Variation as it relates to people ties this work back to our early work in the MHA program around motivation.  Understanding the value of variation among your staff and being able to manage a team playing to each team member’s strengths allows management to derive the most benefit from the team and informs management’s understanding with regard to motivating said staff.


System of Profound Knowledge

I value the insight I have gained about Dr. Deming and his system of profound knowledge.  The system of profound knowledge includes high level concepts of appreciation of a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge and knowledge of psychology.  These enormous principles are four that you cannot understand by simply memorizing what they are; one must work with them for years and try and fail with the concepts to have true knowledge around them.  I look forward to a career of striving to gain that kind of insight and deep level of understanding which will make me a better manager and team member.








Deming, W. Edwards. (1994). The new economics for industry, government, education. Second edition. The W. Edwards Deming Institute.


Joiner, Brian. (1994). Fourth generation management the new business consciousness. Joiner Associates Incorporated.


Nau, Roulla. Quality Improvement. HSML 6269 2U1. George Washington University Milken School of Public Health.  Reviewed March, 2016






DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.