Improvement Insights Blog

Posts tagged "Data"

Data is Like a Salmon

To make your Excel data usable, it can’t be chopped up like sushi. Here’s why:

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

“I look at a lot of Excel data that people send me, and unfortunately most of them have been trying to make their spreadsheet pretty so that humans can read it. No, that’s dumb, all right?

“Very often they chop it up into little bits and they either spread it out all over the spreadsheet or they spread it out in separate worksheets because this is May, June, July… and so there’s no way to take that data and turn it into a performance chart: a Control Chart, a Pareto Chart.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Excel, Improvement Insights.

2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Quality

Here’s three New Year’s Resolutions to accelerate your quality improvements: 1) Raw Data Diet, 2) Quality Tools and 3) Worst First. Here’s why these will change your future and your company’s:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. It is the New Year and so it’s time for some New Year’s resolutions. Here’s some resolutions I’d like you to consider.

“First, go on a raw data diet. That means you need to know everything about each individual defect, mistake and error, and then you can summarize that. If you start from summarized data you don’t know where the raw data is, and so most of the time you can’t actually figure out what to fix without the raw data.

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

Take DM Out Of DMAIC

Most companies are drowning in data, so you don’t need to Define and Measure anything new. Take DM out of DMAIC to accelerate results. Here’s why:

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

“In the whole Six Sigma world, the DMAIC process, one of the things I’ve noticed is every company I’ve ever gone to… ever… has so much data they’re just… they’re drowning in their own data, and they don’t know how to analyze what they’ve got. And yet in DMAIC, we teach people to Define and then figure out something to Measure.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

It’s Hard to Do Data Analysis on Ugly Data… Part 2

People often get stuck before the “Analyze” phase of DMAIC because of ugly data.

You can’t analyze data until it is in the right format for analysis.

In this data about medications that might affect patient falls, we have to:

  1. Transpose the data
  2. Use Excel’s Text-to-column feature to split the meds into separate cells
  3. Use QI Macros UnStack Columns tool to get all of the meds into a single column
  4. Use QI Macros Data Mining Wizard to create a PivotTable and Pareto chart of medications involved in patient falls

You can watch the video below:

Posted by Jay Arthur in Data Mining, Improvement Insights.

Making Up Data

Recently at a conference, I saw a noted Six Sigma practitioner use Minitab to generate data for analysis.

In that moment it struck me: colleges have been training students to manufacture “real-looking” data for class assignments. All you have to do is enter some parameters and out pops data that varies with whatever distribution you assign it.

Isn’t this what got us into trouble in this economy: creating data that justified our behavior and inflated results?

I’d like you to consider that seemingly innocuous behaviors like this can lead to catastrophic results: market crashes, inflated bonuses and general stupidity.

If teachers want to generate data for students, that’s probably a good idea.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Six Sigma.