Start With The Worst First

Improvement Insights Blog

Start With The Worst First

Don’t waste time on simple problems. Start with the worst first!

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

“One of the things I believe is Six Sigma and Process Improvement and Operational [Excellence]… all of this is easy. All you have to do is pick what’s the worst problem we have.

“Pick the worst first. Go out and find out where the data lives about that worst first thing, because I guarantee you you’re [already] collecting information and data about that. Then use the Tools of Quality to analyze that and figure out what’s our performance now, and where do we want it to be, up or down [from that]. Then use some Pareto analysis or histograms to pinpoint where that’s going wrong, fix it, and then rinse and repeat. Pick the next worst problem next week, and the next one the next week… and in not too long you won’t have any giant ugly problems. You’ll still have problems, but they won’t be giant and ugly.

“So pick the worst first, go find the data and then fix it! Rinse and repeat until you retire. Pretty simple.

“It bears repeating: Pick the worst first, because there will be data about it, go find the data about it, fix it. Analyze, improve, control, analyze, improve, control… Pretty simple.

“That’s my Improvement Insight. Let’s go out and improve something this week, and start with the worst first.”

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