Category: News

Controlling the Uncontrollable

Out of Our Control Root causes can originate from external and internal factors. Teams often discard apparent external root causes because they believe  the causes are outside of their control to address. As a result, they move on to “more controllable” causes which have less impact on the performance gap that they are trying to… Read more »

Staying Focused with SMART

Getting and maintaining focus throughout a DMAIC process improvement project is key to success. Teams often get lost in the details or follow the data to interesting but irrelevant conclusions. Whether it’s selecting a baseline measure in the Define step, a significant problem in Measure, root causes in Analyze, countermeasures in Improve, and standardized solutions… Read more »

The Storyboard

The Storyboard is used by the team to help track and communicate the team’s progress and successes in applying the DMAIC Process. Tip: It is useful to display the Storyboard in the work area as the team progresses through the problem or opportunity. This enables others in the work area to contribute ideas to the… Read more »

The Value of Charts and Graphs

  Why use charts instead of data tables? The main functions of a chart are to display data and invite further exploration of a topic. Charts are used in situations where a simple table won’t adequately demonstrate important relationships or patterns between data points. By describing the data graphically, a person unfamiliar with your subject… Read more »

The Importance of Integrating Baldrige and Lean Six Sigma

“Why should leaders and decision-makers consider investing in Baldrige/Sterling and Lean Six Sigma?” The Baldrige/Sterling Performance Excellence Criteria represent a system which is founded on the principle that a result is the byproduct of a process. Therefore, to improve a result, one must first improve the process producing the result. This is basic cause and… Read more »

Work Sampling – A Tool for the Times

When work is not getting done, or is being performed poorly, it is tempting to claim “lack of people”, or resources, as the cause. In today’s world with high staff turnover, job vacancies and scarcity of qualified staff, this seems like a plausible excuse. But is it really a lack of resources, or might it… Read more »

Improvement Initiatives Need a Valid Starting Point

When we discuss performance improvement, we think about a measurable beginning baseline, an ending performance level, and the quantified difference (aka gap) to be achieved. To demonstrate a relevant gain, three things need to be in place – a valid measure of appropriate type, a valid target, and the quantified value of the difference between… Read more »

Analyzing a Performance Gap

A few weeks ago I took a break from the virtual world and attended a live conference of performance excellence-minded professionals. In one workshop, I discussed gap analysis and some techniques for getting to the gap drivers. Because of the high-level of interest, I thought it would be helpful to share them now.  Where to… Read more »

Targets – Drivers of Excellence (Sometimes)

In this post we’ll discuss targets and their relationship with measures. A target is a desired level of performance. Its importance cannot be disputed, particularly when coupled with an actual performance level, or baseline. The difference between the actual and target is known as the gap. Therefore, the legitimacy of the gap depends on the… Read more »

The Fallacy of Measuring Performance by Using Averages

The Fallacy of Measuring Performance by Using Averages It may not make sense at first, but customers can be very dissatisfied even when your performance is exceeding their critical requirements. You’ve done your homework, conducted focus groups, analyzed customer feedback and even analyzed research data. You’ve concluded that customers will be very satisfied if served… Read more »