The Matrix of Principles

What is it?

The Matrix of Principles is a reflection tool to capture how team members understand Deming’s 14 Management Principles.

Why use it?

Reflecting on the management principles enables the team to share their beliefs on management, to share their views on where the organization is, and to identify areas for improvement.


  • Take a blank sheet of paper, or use a whiteboard,
  • Draw a 2×2 matrix,
  • The horizontal axis represents your agreement with the principle. On the right, you agree; on the left, you disagree,
  • The vertical axis represents how the principle is applied to your organization. “Applied” at the top, “not applied” at the bottom,
  • You will now position Deming’s 14 Management Principles by placing their numbers on the matrix. Each team member uses a different color.
  • After placing each principle, the facilitator asks the outliers to explain their position.
  • The facilitator asks the group what ideas it inspires for the team.

You can use the tool for self-reflection. As a facilitator, it is useful to try the exercise first by yourself to be able to pick the principles that will most resonate with your team.

You can also use the Matrix of Principles with other principles. The ones from the Agile Manifesto are other principles that are great conversation starters.

Further Information

This practice was first published in Changing Your Team From The Inside.