Eliminate the Failure Points of Quality Improvement

Improvement Insights Blog

Eliminate the Failure Points of Quality Improvement

Ever noticed that some people struggle to learn Quality Improvement and Lean Six Sigma Here’s why:

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

“I talked about Tim Ferriss’ approach to simplifying things. He also points out that in many situations when people are coming on board there are certain failure points: where do they fail? His cooking book is about having too complicated a recipe, or too many things that had to get done at the same time. So how do we make it up so that they don’t have that problem? How do we eliminate the failure points?

“Well, one of the things that I know is from all the training I’ve seen, we try and teach people too much stuff, right? Just with culinary school, we teach people too many things simultaneously and they get confused. It’s a failure point. They start to think they can’t do it or they’re not smart enough to do it. That’s a problem. So only teach a handful of tools; I only teach seven key tools. I’m describing those in my “Agile Process Innovation” book.

“Now, what else? Well, long ago I learned that people had trouble negotiating decision trees to do things like pick control charts or statistics. So what could I do about that? Well, back in 2006 I created the Control Chart Wizard, and our Control Chart Wizard will [do this] because we ask you to select your data – nobody else asks you to select your data first. I can look at your data and then choose the right chart for you, so I can automate that decision tree. I don’t think you should have to learn all the formulas. No, it’s all built into the software.

“So if not mine, you’ve got to get some software. Let the software think. Let it know statistics so you don’t have to learn all that stuff. I don’t think that’s value added. It fills up courses so the consultants make more money, but it doesn’t really help you. You don’t have to know all the control chart rules because modern software will find all those things for you. Guess what? You don’t have to learn all that stuff either. The software will do that for you.

“When I started doing things around analyzing bucket loads full of data about things like denied insurance claims or medication errors or whatever it is, I had to use pivot tables (which we don’t teach in most classes). Then I figured out [that] I could probably automate that, so I created an Improvement Project Wizard that would take raw data and turn it into improvement projects, if there was an improvement project in there that I thought was solvable. Automation, automation, automation. So take that all away from people, right? You don’t have to learn all of that stuff.

“I want you get this idea that the way we’ve always taught it was because we had to do everything manually. That’s last century. That’s horse and buggy thinking, all right? It’s not Ferrari thinking, right? So what do we want to do? We want to start thinking, “How can we simplify, streamline, optimize and accelerate Quality Improvement so that we get more and more results and we smooth out all the turbulence in day-to-day life, in Healthcare… whatever it is.

“According to the numbers, healthcare has a trillion dollars in waste every year. Out of three trillion, $1 trillion. That’s a lot of money. We can do a lot of that, a lot of things with that: healthcare for lots of people, get rid of all kinds of stuff, all right? Pains and payments to the government and so on.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight. Let’s narrow our focus down to some key things that will make it possible to get things done quickly and use the things we use most of the time, not everything. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”