Deming’s Red Bead Experiment

Thanks for attending my session of Dr. W. Edwards Deming‘s Red Bead Experiment, aka the Red Bead Game. Here's a link to Donald J. Wheeler's book Understanding Variation. I also write about the Red Bead Game in my book Measures of Success

On-Site Workshops and Facilitation:

If you'd like to have me come facilitate this at your organization, please contact me. I can combine the Red Bead experience with a teaching session or workshop on “Better Metrics” and the application of basic statistical process control (SPC) / “process behavior chart” methods to better manage data, metrics, and improvement work.

Mark facilitating this at Lean Startup Week 2017

Blog Posts:

See some of my blog posts on this topic.

See, in particular, this post on managing and improving a stable system:

Ask This Question (Not This One) When Trying to Improve a Stable System

Here is my blog post about the red / yellow / green charts and SPC:

What's Demoralizing? The Colors on a Chart or Not Improving the System?

My blog post and video about how to create control charts (“process behavior charts”)

I also recorded a podcast with John Dyer on lessons from the Red Bead Experiment:

Podcast #280 – John Dyer on Dr. Deming's Red Bead Experiment

Other Webinars:

Click the link above for download options

Another webinar by Mark Graban

How to calculate control limits / process behavior limits:

See this blog post about how to do so

or this video:

Other Resources:

Western Electric rules   |   Download this summary

Online Red Bead simulator

Similar simulator, via BBC: “Can chance make you a killer?

Lessons Learned from the Red Bead Experiment (Word .DOC) via

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Red Bead Videos:


The famed 1980 NBC documentary that introduced Dr. Deming to the U.S.: