Improvement Insights – Lean Six Sigma Moneybelt

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Improvement Insights" Posts

Quality Improvement Insight from Mark Twain

When asked how he tackled writing books, Twain replied with his simple secret to success. Here’s how it applies to quality improvement:



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

“Mark Twain said the secret to being successful is to get started, and to get started you have to take your huge, potentially impossibly unmanageable thing – a project – and break it down into smaller chunks, and then you start on the first one. You just chunk it down, start on the first one and work your way through.

“Many people, when they first get started in quality, they’re looking at their whole corporation and [thinking], “Oh my gosh, where do I start?”

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

Lessons from My First Dog Door

When I got my first dog, Tai, I had to let him in and out until I discovered dog doors. Here’s how that lesson applies to quality improvement:



“A few years after I got my first house, I got a dog. He was the cutest little mixed breed rescue. His name was Tai, and it was a fun time, but I realized that whenever that dog had to go out I had to open the door and let him out to the back yard. Then when he wanted to come back in, I had to open the door and let him back in.

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

Garage Door Insight

When I bought my first house, it didn’t have a garage door opener. I thought I couldn’t afford one. I was wrong. Here’s how that applies to quality improvement:



“Back in 1978, I bought my first house; it was a three bedroom, one and three quarter bath ranch with a two car attached garage. I’d spent most of my money on the down payment, but then I had a few more dollars so I got a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. Unfortunately, my garage did not have a garage door opener [and] I didn’t have the money to go get one, so I just started coming in.

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

Run from Run Charts to Control Charts

Consultants spend a lot of time teaching people how to create run charts. This assumes you’re starting up a new measurement from scratch. Not true. There’s more than enough data laying around to use with control charts which tell you so much more about performance. Here’s why:



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

“When I attend some of these meetings, people spend a lot of time trying to teach run charts. “Well, when you have fewer than 15 data points, use a run chart.” Well, I want to suggest to you if you don’t have 15 data points, go find some data that does, all right?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Six Sigma.

How to Ensure the Adoption of Countermeasures

Ever wondered why it’s so hard to propagate improvements from one group to the next? Here’s why and what to do about it:



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

“I was recently at one of the IHI presentations at their conference and they mentioned… “How long does it take for medicine to adopt a new practice?” On average it’s 17 years… 17 years. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? I think penicillin was 25 years, and some of the other things… but 17 years?

“They say, “Well, you know, we haven’t peer reviewed that, so we have to peer review it so we can confirm that your hypothesis is correct and that we can actually…” Right?

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

Thriller Novel Insights for Improvement

Thrillers and detective novels always have two villains – -the bad guy and the internal bureaucracy. As a Quality Improvement hero, you will face the same problem. Here’s why and what to do about it:



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

“I’ll admit it: I like to read thriller novels. I do, right? I just find them terrific… or detective mystery novels. Invariably the good guy has to go combat some bad actor somewhere. It could be the murderer, it could be a terrorist, it could be whatever it is, but the good guy almost invariably also has to fight the bureaucracy of his police department, the CIA, the FBI, the… whatever the heck it is, right?

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

Creating a Quality Management System Piece by Piece

Some people think that Quality Management is an all or nothing event. Not true. Here’s why and how:



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

“Very often, people talk about creating a quality management system, but it’s as if you can create one from whole cloth. No, you can’t, right? Very often, most of your organization does not need full-blown quality management yet. I always say “start with the worst first,” and there’s a lot of research; Diffusion Of Innovations suggests that four percent of your business (or four steps out of 100, one step out of 25) is causing most of the mistakes, errors, waste, rework, lost profit, patient harm, whatever it is, right?

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

The Myth of the One Right Answer

In school, they always made you search for the one right answer. In real life, things are rarely that simple. There are often many right answers. Here’s how to choose the best among those:



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

“I don’t know about you, but in school – first grade all the way through college – it seemed like they were preaching that there was always one right answer to a question. You had to get that one right answer to be able to get a hundred percent on your test (unless it was an essay thing, and then that was a different thing).

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

When You’re Stuck – Hire Help

Most of us are hesitant to admit that we don’t know how to do something. So we can waste a lot of time trying to learn how. But in business, that’s a foolish waste of time and money. Here’s why:



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

“Like many other people, I have a hard time asking for help. The other day, I was trying to work on something for our website: it was a process link to go out to the United Postal Service and get the Zip Plus 4 thing.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Think Like Bill Gates

Ever been tempted to give up on some problem? Think it might be impossible to solve? Consider learning to think like Bill Gates. Here’s how:



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

“I recently watched a documentary about Bill Gates, and the interviewer was asking about… Bill was trying to eradicate polio on the planet, and he had gotten vaccination and kind of gotten it narrowed down to some part of northern Africa (if I remember correctly), but insurgents and rebels and all kinds of things were trying to stop this immunization (which I don’t understand at all, but that’s how it goes, right?).

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.