Six Sigma

Posts tagged "Six Sigma"

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.

*Latest webinar: 7/7/20 QI Macros Webinar

Over 80 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to use some of the useful features of QI Macros, as well as some of the new features introduced in recent releases of the software.

Some attendees were familiar with the software and already use it, some had only begun to use it; all were interested in learning new ways that QI Macros can help them with their Agile Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement efforts. (You can hear him answering questions and comments typed in by webinar attendees.)



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.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Webinar.

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.

The Cost of Lean Six Sigma Training

Traditional Lean Six Sigma Training takes weeks when it’s possible to train people and get results in one day. Here’s why it costs so much to train people using last century strategies:

“I want to talk to you about the economics of a Six Sigma class.  All right, so as much as I hate pie charts, I’m going to use one to demonstrate this.  Let’s say you have a classroom and let’s say you have 20 odd people or something go in there.  Now, I can tell you in advance every class is filled with three types of people:  Prisoners, Vacationers and Learners. 

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

Six Sigma Success Metrics

Most companies measure success of Six Sigma using simple, easy to understand metrics. Are you using these measures of success?

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and QI Macros [software]. Today I want to talk to you about success metrics.

“Back in the late 60s I was in high school. I had a paper route and this was during the Vietnam War, and every day I would fold 120 papers and deliver them. The headlines always on the Tucson Daily Citizen was that we’d killed so many Viet Cong and so many Americans had died, so we had this body count metric every single day, Monday through Sunday.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.

FOLB – Fear of Looking Bad

Humans, by nature, have a fear of looking bad (FOLB). And we have a fear of looking stupid (FOLS). These are slowing COVID-19 response and quality improvement. Here’s why:

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

“You’ve all probably all heard some of these acronyms that are running around like FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Well, I wanted to introduce you to a couple more that I’d like you to consider. FOLB: Fear Of Looking Bad.

“Now when I’ve gone out to work with companies in consulting roles, some of these managers think, “I’m supposed to be in charge of fixing everything.

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

Stop Projecting the Past Into the Future

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t keep doing things the same old way. The status quo isn’t working for us anymore. We have to stop projecting the past (the way we’ve always done it) into the future. The future doesn’t have to be an endless rerun of the past.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Agile Process Innovation” and QI Macros [software]. Here’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Stop projecting your past into your future.

“Way too many people do this, right? We start thinking, “Well, we’ve always done it that way so we have to always do it that way.”

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights.