Improvement Insights
Blog

Latest "Improvement Insights" Posts

Where are the Quality Tools at ASQ WCQI?

Having reviewed the quality tool usage in posters at ASQ WCQI, I have to ask: Where are the Quality Tools?



“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“I was at the ASQ World conference and I looked at the team posters – you know, the improvement posters that were located in the exhibit hall. Surprisingly, out of all of all these little posters that were out there were there only two control charts, there were about five fishbone [diagrams], maybe one Pareto chart, but most the rest of it was line and bar charts.

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

Agile – Fail Fast, Fail Forward

Agile Silicon Valley Companies have this motto: Fail Fast, Fail Forward. Here’s how it applies to Lean Six Sigma:



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

“I was out at the ASQ World Conference this year and I was observing this guy talking about exponential growth, and he was saying that in Silicon Valley they have a motto: “Fail Fast, Fail Forward.”

“Now I think everybody worries about failing in their first project or whatever it is. No, “fail fast, fail forward,” that’s the Agile approach to things: Rapid iteration to converge on a better world, right?

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

Hacking Lean Six Sigma Training

In the early 1990s, I took a control chart class that lasted five days. We learned decision trees and how to calculate control chart formulas with a calculator. I knew that the phone company would never tolerate five-day trainings for 70,000 employees and I knew that few of our employees would tolerate calculating these formulas manually. The only way to remove this barrier was to automate it. Here’s how I did it.

Let’s stop teaching people things they don’t need to know. It’s waste. When I automated everything, it shortened the training and increased retention and results. You can too.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur.

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

One and Done

This phrase popped up at the Lean Six Sigma World conference. Here’s what it means: Don’t be a “one-trick pony.”



“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“I was down in San Antonio for the Lean Six Sigma World Conference and I heard a phrase that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. The phrase was, “One and done.” “One and done.”

“Now, it turns out what they were talking about was people were getting their Green Belt training and guess what? They do one project and then they’re done. They got their certificate… you know, they’re certified, and that gives them a little bit better job, but then they don’t go on to do any more projects.

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

Will It Work Here?

Agile Lean Six Sigma approach will rapidly answer this question. One-day Yellow Belt problem solving will get results where Green Belt and Black Belt training may not.



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

“I was out at the Lean Six Sigma World Conference in San Antonio there was a very interesting presentation about Yellow Belt trainings. What they found was that if they did it a certain way (which is the way I’ve been doing it for the last twenty years) that they got better results. Well, that’s kind of cool, right?

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

Six Sigma Project Birthdays

If you have to throw a birthday party for your improvement project because it isn’t complete, you’re not alone, but you’ve lost sight of the outcome.



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

“At the Lean Six Sigma World Conference I heard another phrase that I had never heard before: “Project Birthdays.” What? A project that has lasted so long, a year later it’s having a birthday and it’s still not done yet. In one of the studies the Green Belt teams had as long as 16 months to complete a project.

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

Six Sigma Unicorns

One session at the Lean Six Sigma World conference presented findings from of a study of successful Lean Six Sigma implementations. If you think your company can become a unicorn, watch now:



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

“I was in San Antonio at the Lean Six Sigma World Conference and there was a presentation by a couple of consultants about a study they’d done on successful Lean and Six Sigma deployments. Now, unfortunately it was a little skewed, because the minimum size of the company was 150 million dollars going up to about 750 million dollars, so you have Fortune 500 companies with deep pockets.

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

Jay is the Fourth Horse of Statistics

Everyone thinks I’m a statistician by trade, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s my journey.



“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software]. I’m here in Maui Kaanapali Villas in Maui.

“One of the things that I want you to think about is because I wrote the QI Macros, everybody thinks I’m a statistician or something, but… the truth is a little bit further from that.

“Suzuki the Zen master had a story of four horses: One ran easily, one you had to flog it a little bit, one he had to flog a little more, and the fourth one you had to flog a lot to get it to move.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros, Statistics.

Are Limiting Beliefs Stopping Your Improvement Projects?

Everyone has limiting beliefs and they could be stopping your improvement projects. Here’s why and what to do about it.  



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software]. I want to talk to you about something that sounds a little bit out of the Six Sigma ballpark.

“One of the things I’ve noticed is people will develop limiting beliefs about what’s possible. They’ll say, “Well, I can’t fix that because…” or “I can’t do this because my boss won’t let me,” or “I can’t do this because management doesn’t understand control charts, performance charts,” …or whatever.

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

Are You Hesitating to Improve?

Lots of people hesitate to get started on improvements. Here’s why and what to do about it.



“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“I have noticed that a lot of people, when they get trained in Six Sigma or whatever, they hesitate to get started. You know it’s like, “I’m afraid of not doing it right,” or “I’m afraid of not tackling the right problem,” or “I’m afraid of somebody [making me feel] stupid or somebody criticizing what I’m doing,” or whatever it is…

“Well, I hate to tell you this, but you have to be bad to start, right?

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