Bucks or Bitcoin?

Improvement Insights Blog

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?” and I said “Well no, but what’s Bitcoin?” It’s a financial transaction, so it’s just like any other financial transaction, money is exchanged and there’s a chance for it to go wrong, there’s a chance for fraud, there’s a chance for different things that you could work in there.

“Bitcoin is no different from bucks to me, and that’s probably one of my weirdnesses. When I look at processes, I don’t care what’s going through them: it could be pistons, it could be people, it could be bucks, it could be bitcoin, right? It could be anything you’d imagine: buns being manufactured for one of the leading chains, because they have to do statistical process control on the size and the shape of the buns, right?

“These are the kinds of things that I don’t care about; the thing going through there is merely a product to me, the process is almost universally the same. There’s some marketing, some sales, some ordering, some invoicing, some actual production of whatever it is, if it’s bitcoins or bucks, pistons, or people and health, it doesn’t matter, right? So the overall process is very much the same. Customers may use different lingo and jargon and talk about things in different ways: “Well, what about HAIs?” “Well, ‘hospital-acquired infections,’ okay, well now I know what that is. That’s a type of defect, right?” So whatever language your customer uses, guess what? It’s just a process, and the thing going through it. I just stand back and look at the process; I’m a process doctor, right? I don’t have to know everything about your product to understand your process.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Step back, look at the process don’t get all caught up in what the product is: bitcoin or bucks, people or pistons. It does not matter, right? Let’s create a hassle-free America, hassle-free health care. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”