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 »

Developing Countermeasures and Solutions

Developing effective, feasible and permanent solutions is the key to process improvement. Problems are identified, root causes are verified, countermeasures are developed and implemented, and permanent solutions are created. Methods used to create countermeasures can dictate whether they will become solutions, or not. Let’s start by understanding the difference between a countermeasure and a solution,… Read more »

Root Cause Identification – How to Do it

What is a Root Cause, and How is it Identified? This has probably never happened to you, but what if you created a solution that cost your organization a lot of money, and it didn’t have much effect? Or shaken your head when somebody proposed an expensive project that you felt wasn’t a big priority?… Read more »