Run from Run Charts to Control Charts

Improvement Insights Blog

Run from Run Charts to Control Charts

Consultants spend a lot of time teaching people how to create run charts. This assumes you’re starting up a new measurement from scratch. Not true. There’s more than enough data laying around to use with control charts which tell you so much more about performance. Here’s why:

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

“When I attend some of these meetings, people spend a lot of time trying to teach run charts. “Well, when you have fewer than 15 data points, use a run chart.” Well, I want to suggest to you if you don’t have 15 data points, go find some data that does, all right?

“You don’t need to start tracking new data all the dang time, start with data you already have. That’s where the money is, because somebody’s already tracking the stuff that’s broken.

“Jump to control charts, skip run charts. If you ever get in a situation where you suddenly discover a new metric that no one has ever thought of before, start tracking it with a run chart; when you get to 15, go to a control chart. But I’m telling you, every place I go, everybody is swimming in data they have no idea what to do with, but they’ll look around to go try and capture something new and different. No! You already have all the numbers you need: Giddyap! Turn them into control charts, start monitoring your process, and guess what? When you do that, it gets a lot easier to manage that business and to detect when things are starting to go good or bad or whichever way they’re going.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Skip run charts; go to control charts. Let’s create a hassle-free America; hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”