I agree - His last paragraph points out that he loves Stardock, so it's not a troll post or anything, it's a legitimate post. But using a book from 1986 isn't very applicable. I'm sure it's intuitive and enlightening, but very few points have an effect on a company like Stardock:
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
Stardock is constantly dedicated to creating quality programs, and when they do screw up, they make efforts to fix it even if they lose money. They can do this because they do not rely upon single releases like a lot of small game companies, where each year rests on the fate of single games. They have a full suite of different softwares available at any one time, so they are competitive and able to stay in business while maintaining their mission.
The provide jobs thing is not necessary, as good business typically has very few 'fluff' jobs, only employing those they require. But we know Stardock is hiring.
2. Adopt new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
This book is a bit outdated. This is 2011, and so this principle from 1986 has already come to fruition across the board.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
In 1986 software companies were nothing compared to what they are now. People were paid by lines of code vs. the efficiency of the code. This is a false point for any software business now because "inspection on a mass basis" is basically another way of saying beta. Stardock's run with Elemental initially failed because the beta was not long or large enough. The code was quality, the people were quality, the concepts were quality, but in the end the mass inspection was not big enough.
4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
Irrelivant for software - The only overhead is equipment, utilities, and paychecks (Equipment including software), and Stardock builds their own engines to cut costs for future games. Some aspects can be applied to certain things, like their hardware suppliers etc., but most of the time in this day and age it is more profitible to have business accounts with multiple companies. I can have an account with NewEgg, Tiger Direct, and Best Buy, and shop at any of the three to compare prices within minutes thanks to the Internet. Businesses do the same thing on trying to get the best prices. Stardock also has their own release and support platform, instead of relying on Steam or others.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
Since software production is not the same as physical good production, this can be applied to the many hats discussion by Brad - They were trying to do things with what they had and in the end, they've got things more sorted out for better production. Though this did not decrease costs, it increased them, but the lesson was learned.
6. Institute training on the job.
This is obvious to any company nowadays. Even when you come out of college you have to be familiarized with the company and policies, as well as their specific engines and ways of doing things.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
On the charts Brad has posted, you can see he has a basic leadership structure - Leads for each sub category (Art, etc.) as well as the project lead (Which is typically him, but can also be someone else directly under him as he is the owner)
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
I don't think Stardock suffers any fear of anything outside of zombie uprisings.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
Research, Design, Sales, and Production are pretty much one big department in software development, split into teams.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
Not really applicable to Stardock. Patches fix things, and nothing is perfect. Budgeting is even allocated to allow for constant patching after releases, so the games and programs can remain profitable while continuing to improve them.
11. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
Seriously though, they have goals, and objectives, but there are no quotas or numeric goals. Just the thought of making customers happy and making a profit. It's more of a service industry in this regard.
12. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
Again, not a factory setting.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
Well, certifications and continuing education on software development is a necessity in such a company, so I assume each person is maintaining a high level of continuing understanding.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.
This is reliant upon the fact that the company is in need of the preceeding points of transformation, which it is not.
According to Deming application of these points will transform style of management. Unfortunately, some deadly diseases stand in the way of transformation. Thus, in Chapter 3, he identifies seven deadly diseases that cause the decline of American industry:
1. Lack of constancy of purpose to plan product and service that will have a market and keep the company in business, and provide jobs.
So one of the diseases is not following one of the points, which is already being followed by Stardock minus the provide jobs thing. Jobs are not the purpose of Stardock. Making great games is the purpose of Stardock.
2. Emphasis on short-term profits.
Stardock has its plans laid out for the long term, and has been around long enough that I'm sure they're not reliant on short term profits.
3. Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review.
No idea why performance reviews are a bad thing. If someone's doing badly, letting them know what they've messed up is a good thing, right? If they continue, they obviously didn't take it to heart and should go. If they fix things, you get a better employee for it.
4. Mobility of management, job hopping.
Stardock has no voluntary turnover, so not an issue.
5. Management by use only of visible figures, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable.
Brad is actively involved in the company, and everything runs out of the one building. Everyone is active and even the public can access Brad via forums as a public figurehead of the company.
6. Excessive medical costs.
... What? So if someone slips when setting up anti-zombie barricades and takes a shotgun blast or hatchett chop, Stardock shouldn't pay for it?
[quote]7. Excessive costs of liability, swelled by lawyers that work on contigency fees.
I'm sure Stardock has a few legal advisors that they pay when needed, but they don't keep anyone on staff from what I've been told. (I mean, Brad routinely tells forum trolls to go die in a fire. I think if they did have a legal department they don't anymore.
But I'm sure they don't because that would mean voluntary turnover, so I'm sure it never existed in the first place)