Start People on the Right Path

Improvement Insights Blog

Start People on the Right Path

Ever noticed that if you start someone on one path, they tend to stay on it even if it was only a starter path? How do you get people started in quality improvement and SPC?

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

“Have you ever noticed that if you start somebody on one path they will stay on that path? If you start people on another path they’ll stay on that path, right? Because it cost them a certain amount of time and energy to learn how to be on that path.

“I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of trainings out there; if you start people on the ‘line chart path’ they’re going to keep drawing line charts forever because they learned how to do it in Microsoft Excel, and geez that’s easy. Many trainers I see in their training they recommend using run charts because they’re pretending that you do not have enough data points to make a good control chart because ‘you’re starting from scratch with new measurements…” No, you’re not! Go start with real measurements that already exist, right?

“But if you start them on the ‘run chart path,’ they’re going to keep doing run charts. A run chart is just a control chart without the limits, so why not just start them on control charts, right? Start drawing control charts from the get go, right? I don’t care how few data points you have, in not too long you’ll have 15 data points and you’ll need a control chart anyway, right?

“Start using the tools of quality: control charts to establish a baseline for what everything’s doing. In QI Macros you could fix the limits or you can actually then go in and start showing process changes when you make things happen. It’s very simple, and you can detect unstable conditions. There are a lot of things you can do with control charts that you simply cannot do well in a run chart.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Start people on the right path. Let’s go out and approve something this week.”

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