Six Sigma

Posts tagged "Six Sigma"

*Latest webinar: 10/21/20 Healthcare Zero Harm / Trillion Dollar Prescription Webinar

Over 50 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to achieve both the goal of “zero harm” as well as IHI’s goal of cutting healthcare waste by 50% by 2025.


If you saw a feature demonstrated in the webinar that might have been added to QI Macros after the version you’re using (for instance, the Templates Wizard, the Fixed Limit indicator or the automated Process Change Wizard), you may need to purchase an upgrade to bring your QI Macros to the current version. Send an email to and we can help, for instance in generating a quote to upgrade all the users at your organization or just guiding you through the purchasing process.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Webinar.

Accelerating Software Quality Using the 4-50 Rule

Leaders, managers and programmers sometimes get frustrated with software systems and try to rewrite them. This usually fails. It is possible to use Six Sigma and the 4-50 rule to find and fix the few code modules that have the most bugs and require the most enhancements. This delivers software quality without the high cost and risk. Here’s how:

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

“Today I want to talk to you about software. Now, some of you may work in software, some of you may use software… (If you have a phone, you’re using software) There’s lots of software around, and sometimes there’s bugs and stuff like that, and sometimes we’re enhancing things.

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

Cut The Cockleburs for Hassle-Free Living

Six Sigma isn’t just for business. You can use it to make your life more hassle-free. Here’s how:  Become the CIO of Your Life. 

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

“I used to walk my dog Coco on the High Line Canal that runs for about 73 miles throughout Denver. I’d take her for a walk and she’d go running around, but she’d pick up these cockleburs. A cocklebur plant stands about waist-high, has big broad leaves and it produces these little spiny things about the size of the top of my thumb that has little hooky things all around it.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

The Next Decimal Place

SPC software companies keep trying to gain some edge by tweaking the formulas for various statistics, but is the quest for the next decimal place of precision useful? If you’re trying to send a rocket to Mars? Absolutely. If you’re trying to tune up a business process, not really. Here’s why.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software]. I’m going to talk to you about what I call The Next Decimal Place.

“Because I’ve been in the software business, [I’ve seen] people and try and change formulas. Let’s say it’s Cp and Cpk. Well, we used to do the upper spec minus the lower spec over six standard deviations for CP, and guess what?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Statistics.

You Don’t Need Formulas or Decision Trees

You don’t need to know Six Sigma Formulas or decision trees to make improvement. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Agile Process Innovation; Hacking Lean and Six Sigma for Results.”

“Back when I got started in Quality (and maybe many of you), we had to learn formulas to calculate things for control charts and whatever. I spent five days in a control chart class learning how to calculate the formulas for every control chart manually. Now, that did not really teach me anything about the distributions underlying them, it taught me how to calculate them manually. What they didn’t tell us in that class is software can do that for you.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Trends Are Not Always Improvements

Line charts with trend lines can be misleading. They can provide a kind of “false positive” that implies improvement where there is none. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Agile Process Innovation.”

“I go to all these trade shows and I see a lot of poster presentations but they’re using line charts and then they draw a trend line through them and then they say, “Oh, we made an improvement.” No you didn’t. If it doesn’t really fit the line very well, if your goodness-of-fit metric is less than 80%, I’m not buying it. But nobody gives me a goodness-of-fit metric called r-squared, they just show me a line graph or a bar chart and then they show a little line through it.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Mammograms are a Type of Inspection

Breast Cancer is Rare, yet we subject women to mammograms to try to detect it. False positives are 20X higher than true positives. Deming said: “Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.”

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

“I found another interesting item in Malcolm Gladwell’s book; again, it was in the back notes. They were talking about mammograms. Breast cancer itself is really rare, it’s like less than a half of 1% of women who get a mammogram actually have cancer, so it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Why Are People Using Line and Bar Charts, not Control Charts?

If you look at improvement project posters at quality conferences around the country, you’ll find that almost everyone is using Excel line and bar charts. Even after decades of Six Sigma training and association membership. What’s the hold up? Here’s my take:

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

“Every year I look at lots of improvement posters and I keep wondering, “Why isn’t anyone using the tools of Quality?” Control charts, Pareto charts, histograms… Most of them are just using plain old Excel line and bar charts. Now it might be because they don’t know about the power and beauty and how easy it can be now to do Control charts, Pareto charts and fishbones.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Predators are Lazy

Predators are lazy. So are humans. Here’s why that’s a problem:

“I was out in Hawaii and I saw these people doing shore fishing. I thought, “That might look fun.” I went to this one store that sells sporting goods stuff and I said, “Is there anybody who has a class or anything on shore fishing?” He said, “No, no; nobody does that,” he said. “But all you have to understand is that predators are lazy.”

“I think I’ve talked about this before, but essentially, the predatory fish come in on the tide and then they go out on the tide.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

Is It Time to Rethink and Simplify Quality Improvement?

At the ASQ Lean Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix, keynoter Gregory Watson asked: “Is it time to rethink and simplify quality improvement?” I believe Agile is the answer:


“I was out at the ASQ Lean Six Sigma conference in Phoenix [earlier this year]. Dr. Gregory Watson, the keynote [speaker], was also the keynote [speaker] at the very first conference back in 2000. He said, “Is it time to start to rethink what we’re doing in Quality? Can we simplify what we’re doing?”

“I say the answer to that question is yes, obviously, because I’ve been talking about Agile Lean Six Sigma: How do we take the skills of Agile and apply them to Lean and Six Sigma so we can get results in a day or two; not in weeks and months and years.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.