Cover page by Jurgen Appelo

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Chapter 15. How to Improve Everything

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

—George Bernard Shaw, playwright (1856–1950)

When you read literature about process improvement or quality improvement, you are bound to be confronted with a model of some kind. So many models exist in this business that it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them founded their own agency. Most of the models look pretty, in pictures. But when you get to know them directly, I fear that many of them lack some depth.

Five of the best known improvement models are depicted in Figure 15.1, where I distilled from them a basic pattern for an improvement ...

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