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Improvement Insights Blog

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Applying the 4-50 Rule to Software

Programmers often think they need to rewrite software systems to fix the problems in an existing system. This is the wrong approach. You can tune up an existing system with a lot less effort using the 4-50 Rule.



“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified,” “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software]. I spent most of my life working in IT, from mainframe systems to minicomputer systems to microcomputer systems, which led me into the QI Macros. I’ve worked with software my entire life, and there’s something I’d like you to get an idea about.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Six Sigma.

Use Technology to Lock In Quality Improvements

People are error prone. If you want to lock in improvements, use your existing technology to mistake-proof the change. Here’s how:



“I was working with one group of folks in a hospital, and they were complaining about the fact that the doctors were doing these electronic medical records, but they couldn’t get them to complete all the forms and all the fields that were needed to be able to bill the insurance company for the services provided. I was listening to them talk, and they were talking about how they were going to try and train the doctors to do all these things and do all this stuff, and I said, “Wait.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros.

Trying to Save Money on Software Can Kill Your Six Sigma Results

Consultants and trainers keep trying to save money on Six Sigma software while charging a small fortune for training. Without tools to to the job, all of this training is wasted and improvement projects will fail to sustain results. Are you trying to save a few dollars on software or maximize the results from Six Sigma?



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“I’ve been eternally frustrated over the last 20-something years because Six Sigma trainers and [others] will go out and train companies, spend weeks training people in a company, but then not give them the software to do the job.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

How Do I Know If I Have Good Data?

Six Sigma beginners get hung up on the question: “Do I have good data?” You never will. Here’s why and what to do about it.



“People are always asking me, “Jay, how do I know if I have good data?” I’m going to tell you what: you don’t. All data is either collected poorly or whatever, and if nobody’s been using it, they collect it even more poorly.

Most data is systematically distorted to make somebody look good. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to recognize that it’s not going to be the world’s best data, and waiting for the world’s best data will not solve those problems that are waiting for you.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Six Sigma.

Tools Looking for Problems to Solve

People trained in Six Sigma want to take an advanced tool and apply it to a problem. They spend a lot of time looking for a problem where they can use the tool. That’s the wrong approach. What should you do instead?



“I’ve been detecting sort of an interesting pattern, at least recently. There’s all these people being trained as Green Belts and Black Belts, and when they’re done with all that training they have all these tools and then they decide they’re going to take one of those tools – maybe it’s Attribute Agreement Analysis or Design Of Experiments or something more complicated – and then they go out and they look for a problem to solve using that tool.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

Have you ever noticed that no one wants to admit the problems in their life or work? It’s time to start airing our dirty laundry and here’s why:



“You know, I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and I think Tuesday was wash day. We had this washing machine that sat out on the back porch because it never got cold enough to freeze the hoses for the thing. It was a roller washing machine, so you had a big tub about the size of a keg of beer and it would do the wash, but then there was a set of rollers on top.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Healthcare, Improvement Insights, Manufacturing.

QI Macros 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference

Thanks for stopping by our booth at the 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference. Click below to see a quick demo of QI Macros.



Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

Harness the Power of Excel Formulas

Few spreadsheets use the power of Excel formulas, which is like using a Ferrari as a push cart. Excel formulas are power tools for improvement. Here’s how to access them in QI Macros.



“A few years back, I went to an Excelapalooza conference (yes there is such a thing), and the keynote speaker was kind of the head developer for Excel, and she was talking about how Microsoft keeps track of what people do. I was stunned to recognize that only 5% (that’s five out of a hundred) Excel spreadsheets have any sort of formula in them, even division or multiplication or something simple like that.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Excel, Improvement Insights, QI Macros.

*Latest webinar: 10/12/21 QI Macros webinar

Over 60 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating some of the software’s most frequently used tools and answering questions asked by attendees.

Some attendees were familiar with the software and already use it, some had only begun to use it; all were interested in learning new ways that QI Macros can help them with their Agile Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement efforts. (You can hear him answering questions and comments typed in by webinar attendees.)



If you saw a feature demonstrated in the webinar that might have been added to QI Macros after the version you’re using (for instance, the Improvement Project Wizard, the Fixed Limit indicator or the automated Process Change Wizard), you may need to purchase an upgrade to bring your QI Macros to the current version.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Data Mining, Excel, QI Macros, Webinar.

Bucks or Bitcoin?

At an Agile Lean Six Sigma workshop I did for ASQ Phoenix, one participant asked me if I’d applied Six Sigma to Bitcoin. While I haven’t, my insightful answer surprised me and the participant.



“Last week I was doing a presentation, a nightly webinar on Agile Lean and Six Sigma for the ASQ section in Phoenix, and if your section wants me to do a one hour whatever for your section meeting I’m happy to do it. But anyway, in this section meeting we broke out into some work rooms and one gentleman asked me, “Well,” he asked. “Have you ever worked with Bitcoin?”

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights.