Bad at Math?

At the IHI 28th Forum in Orlando, one visitor to our exhibit booth said: “I’m bad at math.” She was worried about needing to learn formulas. I hear this same concern from most people thrust into quality improvement.

I told her: “You don’t need to know formulas. You just need to know how to select data with a mouse and click a button in the QIMacros.” She looked at me incredulously. Then I showed her how easy it is to do it.

This is one way that Six Sigma has failed America, by trying to turn people into statisticians. Most people are afraid of math and statistics. Trying to teach them formulas and central limit theorems makes them feel dumb, so they give up or avoid it all together.

The purpose of Six Sigma is to improve business performance. All anyone needs to know is how to understand control charts, Pareto charts and histograms of their data. You don’t need to know the formulas, just like you don’t need to know electrical engineering to turn on a light.

It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re bad at math. All humans are masters of pattern detection. Once you learn what to look for in a chart (out of control points, Pareto patterns, etc.), you’ll quickly figure out what to improve.

Leave statistics to statisticians. It’s their job.

Learn how to use QIMacros to create charts that went to college and took statistics so that you don’t have to.

This entry was posted by Jay Arthur in Excel, QI Macros, Six Sigma and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post.