Internal goals set in the management of a company, without a method, are a burlesque… For example, the manager of a purchasing department declared that his people are going to increase productivity 3 per cent next year, by which they meant to increase by 3 per cent the average number of purchase orders accomplished per man-year.

When I enquired about methods, they admitted that they had no plan. As Lloyd S. Nelson said: “If they can do it next year with no plan, why didn’t they do it last year?”

They must have been goofing off. And if one can accomplish improvement of 3 per cent with no plan, why not 6 per cent? Moreover, it was numbers only; no plan for all-out effort to minimize total cost…

Deming 1982 ‘Out of the Crisis’ (First MIT edition 2000 p75)