A Theory is a Theory, Not a Plan

A driver diagram is a method to help you build an improvement theory. It’s about predicting the changes needed to create a result, not laying out all the actions that are needed, like a to-do list. There’s a difference. This article (open) articulates the role of theory in improvement.

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Like many things we do in quality improvement, Deming has something to say about it.

“Experience teaches nothing. In fact there is no experience to record without theory… Without theory there is no learning… And that is their downfall. People copy examples and then they wonder what is the trouble. They look at examples and without theory they learn nothing.” The Deming Institute

See What’s Your Theory (PDF) for a good discussion of driver diagrams as theory.