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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.

Which Came First, Management Support or Results?

What’s the easiest way to get management support for Lean Six Sigma?



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

“If you’ve been around Six Sigma or TQM and all these other things, you often hear it said (and you know it’s one of Deming’s 14 points) that you need management commitment and support… to get results – to get anything going.

“I’m going to disagree. I’m going to suggest to you that if you start getting results and start improving things and saving time, saving money, saving lives using the tools of quality, you will get management support.

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

Matrix Diagram Magic

Matrix diagrams are one of the most common tools in Six Sigma. Once you learn how one works, you know how to use all of the others!



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

“One of the tools that I think people don’t think about too much are Matrix Diagrams. A matrix diagram is essentially anything divided up into rows and columns. Now, these can be as simple as an action plan, it might be how you put all your countermeasures and prioritize them, so there might be some column for prioritizing things in some sort of fashion.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros.

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.

7/11/19 QI Macros Webinar

Over 30 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to use some of the useful features of QI Macros, as well as some of the new features introduced in recent versions of the software. Some attendees were familiar with the software and already use it, some had only begun to use it; all were interested in learning new ways that QI Macros can help them with their Agile Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement efforts. (You can hear him answering questions and comments typed in by webinar attendees.)


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 “Find Tool” search feature or the automated Value Stream Map), you may need to purchase an upgrade to bring your QI Macros to the current version.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

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.

New QI Macros feature: Change Run Charts into Control Charts

Many people use Run Charts as a way to introduce people to SPC. You can now create a Run Chart with QI Macros and easily change it into a Control Chart.

Watch a video demonstration of this new feature:



Purchasing a new license is $279, but if your licensed version of QI Macros is from 2014 or later, you can upgrade to the most recent version of QI Macros for just $119 per license. (The upgrade won’t work on licenses 2013 and earlier.)

View the new features and enhancements we’ve added, and purchase an upgrade for your 2014 or later QI Macros licenses by clicking THIS link.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

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.