Six Sigma Blog by Jay Arthur

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Six Sigma" Posts

Be A Process Doctor

Medical doctors (M.D.) help people heal. In Lean Six Sigma, we help companies heal. Be a Process Doctor(P.D.).

“Medical doctors diagnose and then treat patients. I think of myself as a Process Doctor: a P.D.; not an M.D., a P.D. I work with companies and I try and figure out why their systems are not working the way they ought to and remove blockages to speed things up. You know, get the electrical systems working better. It’s the same idea. So I think you and I are all Process Doctors.

“Now, I think the metaphor about this is great because we’re in the helping profession and we help things get better and stay better; stay healthy, just like a medical doctor.

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

12/14/21 Healthcare Zero Harm / Trillion Dollar Prescription Webinar

Over 70 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to achieve both the goal of “zero harm” as well as IHI’s goal of cutting healthcare waste by 50% by 2025.

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 Templates 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. Send an email to and we can help to generate a quote to upgrade all the users at your organization or by just guiding you through the purchasing process.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Healthcare, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Webinar.

My Apple Tree Reminded Me About Low-Hanging Fruit

My apple tree had hundreds of apples this year. I invited people to pick some and leave some. Soon, all of the low-hanging fruit was picked, but there were still hundreds of apples in the tree. Maybe you need a fruit picker to get to the rest of the fruit in your company.

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

“We have an apple tree in our front yard (I think it’s Jonathan apples), and this year in an unusual fit of luck, we got a giant crop. I bet we had a thousand apples on that tree.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Data Mining, Improvement Insights, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

Books to Simplify and Clarify Lean Six Sigma

After weeks of Six Sigma Green or Black Belt training, many people are still confused about what to do and where to start. These people tell me: “Jay, I read your Lean Six Sigma Demystified or Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals book and it clarified Six Sigma. I felt like I finally knew what to do.”

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of Lean Six Sigma Demystified and Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals

“Over the last decade, I’ve been at conferences and talking to people on the phone, and they say, “Jay, I got my Green Belt training and my Black Belt training (or whatever it was), and I was still confused until I read your Demystified book.”

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

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.

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.

Burnt Toast Society – Are You a Member?

Do you ever order toast, but it comes burnt? Do you eat it or send it back? How often does this happen to you? Yesterday it happened to me three times in one day. What can we learn from these quality failures?

“We’re babysitting our daughter’s dog; she’s only 10 months old and she needs some exercise, so we took her to the Hobnob daycare center. When we got there, the woman up front, kind of with a gruff tone, said “Well, you need to make a reservation.” My wife Shirley said “Well, our daughter made a reservation.” “Well, I don’t see it here,” you know?

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

Spaghetti Dinner Team Building

Getting quality improvement teams to come together and be productive is key to success. Here’s a story and insight into get results quickly.


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

“When I was a young’un, I was in programming and there was a guy named Tom DeMarco who’s very famous, actually, in… the whole software development environment. And so, one of the things that he told us was a story about how he was bringing a new software team [together] and getting them started.

“So what he did was he invited them all over to his house to make a spaghetti dinner but when they got there he admitted that he didn’t have anything to make a spaghetti dinner.

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