Spreadsheets are slow - Smart Charts (Control Charts) are fast.

Improvement Insights Blog

Spreadsheets are Slow – Smart Charts Are Fast

Ever noticed how long it takes for people to analyze a spreadsheet? Too long. How can a smart chart eliminate the delay and accelerate understanding?


“One of the things I’ve learned is spreadsheets… People do a lot of spreadsheets. 54% of the Excel spreadsheets out there have no formulas in them, or anything else for that matter; they’re just little reporty things.

“Now, one of the things for you to think about with a spreadsheet is, it’s an auditory process. You’re reading it cell by cell, by heading by heading, by whatever by whatever, and reading (an auditory thing) is a very slow process.

“Now, take the flip side. What’s a chart? A chart is a picture, and people can grasp pictures very quickly, so they can very quickly go, “Oh, things are getting better, things are getting worse. I should focus on the big bar,” or, “My histogram is shifted off to the left or right.” I can see that like that [snaps]; I don’t have to read numbers, it’s just like that [snaps]. Visual things are very fast.

“So if you want to speed up Quality Improvement, start using the charts, the tools of quality, and stop looking at spreadsheets. Nobody wants to read your spreadsheet because they can’t. It takes too long, they’re not going to do it.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week; switch from plain old spreadsheets to control charts, Pareto charts, histograms, whatever.

“Let’s create a hassle-free America, hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.