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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.

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

Have you ever noticed that no one wants to admit the problems in their life or work? It’s time to start airing our dirty laundry and here’s why:

“You know, I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and I think Tuesday was wash day. We had this washing machine that sat out on the back porch because it never got cold enough to freeze the hoses for the thing. It was a roller washing machine, so you had a big tub about the size of a keg of beer and it would do the wash, but then there was a set of rollers on top.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Healthcare, Improvement Insights, Manufacturing.

QI Macros 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference

Thanks for stopping by our booth at the 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference. Click below to see a quick demo of QI Macros.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

Harness the Power of Excel Formulas

Few spreadsheets use the power of Excel formulas, which is like using a Ferrari as a push cart. Excel formulas are power tools for improvement. Here’s how to access them in QI Macros.

“A few years back, I went to an Excelapalooza conference (yes there is such a thing), and the keynote speaker was kind of the head developer for Excel, and she was talking about how Microsoft keeps track of what people do. I was stunned to recognize that only 5% (that’s five out of a hundred) Excel spreadsheets have any sort of formula in them, even division or multiplication or something simple like that.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Excel, Improvement Insights, QI Macros.

10/12/21 QI Macros webinar

Over 60 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating some of the software’s most frequently used tools and answering questions asked by attendees.

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 Improvement Project 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.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Data Mining, Excel, QI Macros, Webinar.

Bucks or Bitcoin?

At an Agile Lean Six Sigma workshop I did for ASQ Phoenix, one participant asked me if I’d applied Six Sigma to Bitcoin. While I haven’t, my insightful answer surprised me and the participant.

“Last week I was doing a presentation, a nightly webinar on Agile Lean and Six Sigma for the ASQ section in Phoenix, and if your section wants me to do a one hour whatever for your section meeting I’m happy to do it. But anyway, in this section meeting we broke out into some work rooms and one gentleman asked me, “Well,” he asked. “Have you ever worked with Bitcoin?”

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

Doubt the Default Solution

All too often, improvement teams fail to question the default approach to doing business. They come up with countermeasures that simply parrot the status quo. I recently saw a TED talk on creativity. The presenter said: Doubt the Default. Sage advice. Here’s why:

“I saw an interesting TED talk this weekend. The professor was talking about creativity, and he used a phrase that I kind of liked. It’s “doubt the default.” Doubt the default. So whatever you’re doing right now is the default; doubt the default.

“Steve Jobs said “Hmm… you know, I don’t like these little tape cassette recorders.

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

Congratulations, Adrienne, on 20 years with QI Macros!

Today, we celebrated with a staff lunch and a cake to mark Adrienne’s 20th anniversary of working here at KnowWare. Congratulations, Adrienne! Thanks for your many years of hard work!

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

The Two-hour Improvement Week to Maximize Results

Big Sigma wastes time and money. You can make a lot of progress in just two hours a week. Here’s how.

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

“One of the things that’s irritated me for a long time is the whole Six Sigma idea (I call it “big sigma”) where it’s like, “We have to do it wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling; everybody has to be on a Six Sigma project.”

“That’s wrong, okay? A very little portion of your business is broken – not the whole enchilada, right? So you can spend a lot of time trying to fix things out there in various places and never get to the few things that really are key to moving the business.

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