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Putting out fires is not improvement. Finding a point out of control, finding the special cause and removing it, is only putting the process back to where it was in the first place. It is not improvement of the process.

W Edwards Deming

One of the problems that besets many large organisations with sizeable Project Management competencies is that it rewards hero culture — PMs can build a great career on rescuing troubled projects. This was certainly the case in my erstwhile employer. One reason (not the only, to be sure) that other PMs got all the glory gigs and the promotions is that I had a habit of running projects which quietly got on and delivered. And that rarely wins you the attention and accolades that it should.

Perhaps what I should have done was as Claudio Perrone instructed in his #LAScot13 keynote: BURN the firefighters!

Or perhaps not.

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Martin Burns

Transformation Consultant at CA Inc (formerly Rally)
Previously: Leader of software delivery portfolios in large scale orgs.
Specialism: Transforming complex delivery organisations to be more Lean/Agile.
Mindset: Continuous Improvement Obsessive
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Deming on Firefighting by Martin Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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