Line Charts Are Like Driving in a Blizzard

Improvement Insights Blog

Line Charts Are Like Driving in a Blizzard

What charts do you need to stay safe and in control?

“Most of you have driven on a highway. It may have been a two-lane rural [road] or a four-lane interstate, but you know that the lines on each side of the road help you stay on track, keep you safe and know that you’re going in the right direction.

“But if you’ve ever driven in a blizzard, you know all those lines are totally obscured and you can hardly see. I had to go over Raton Pass once upon a time driving from Denver to Tucson to see my parents, and it was a pouring blizzard and I could barely see where I was going. All I had were the tracks in front of me to kind of follow… so that’s a scary thing, right? You don’t know where you’re going.

“Well Ryan on my staff says that using line charts [run charts] to track your progress is a lot like driving in a blizzard: You don’t know how you’re doing, you don’t know if you’re going off the rails or if anything’s happening good or bad. You’re just guessing.

“But a Control Chart is a lot like driving on clear dry pavement in beautiful sunshine because you can tell exactly where the lanes are; you can tell exactly how you’re performing.

“Now a couple years ago I had to sell my seventeen-year-old Subaru and I bought a new Subaru because I just liked it for what I have to do. On that car it has Lane Detection [technology] so if I’m driving along and I start to drift into a lane, it starts beeping at me and warning me, or if I start to drift off the other side towards the side of the road it starts beeping and warning me.

“That’s like QI Macros’ stability analysis. When you have a Control Chart, the stability analysis will pinpoint when you start to go out of control and it’ll do it before you can possibly know it’s happened, right? I mean it’s alerting you instantaneously about what’s going on in your process. Now that’s a very powerful thing to have on your side, right? Because you don’t want to drift into somebody else’s lane, you don’t want to drift into oncoming traffic, you don’t want to be out of control. You want to know that you’re safe and performing effectively, and that’s what Control Chart software can do for you.

“So stop driving in the blizzard. Get on some clear land and start driving effectively, and I think that you’ll find that Control Charts are a powerful way to do that. That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. I’m Jay Arthur. Let’s go out and improve something.”