Our prevailing system of management…

“Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers–a prize for the best halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars–and on up through the university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, rewarded for the top, punished for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable.”

Edward Deming quoted on the ScrumDevelopment list by Jeff Sutherland.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

2 thoughts on “Our prevailing system of management…

  1. Esther,
    It’s Clem Garcia in Dallas TX. I was looking for some inspiration tonight after a terrible encounter with so call “consultancy” opportunity as a ScrumMaster. The disappointment was the hiring manager is an ex-Accenture PM. He got a CSM, but explained that his firm is not hiring Agile ScrumMasters. I was a surprise to hear him say “Software teams need to told what to do, when to do, and when to finish. Otherwise nothing gets done”. He also was clear that Agile Scrum is not management preferred. When I asked him if he read the Manifesto or ever spoke with a Signatory, his response “I don’t need to, I already know what large corporations want”. So, when I asked him why he ask for an Agile ScrumMaster, he said “Oh we were thinking about it, but that may not be for 2-3 years”.

    When I read your post Our Prevailing System of Management quote, I felt a whole lot better. Deming being quoted by Jeff Sutherland…

    Thank You.

    1. Hi, Clem –

      That is a very distressing story. But not entirely a surprising one, given the prevailing model of work and motivation that I’ve observed.

      Many of us are working to show other ways of working… and at some point, enough people will realize there is a better way, and the mechanistic model will go the way of the dinosaurs.

      Warm regards,


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