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Thursday, May 23, 2019
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These feature articles are published monthly by Quality Digest.  They are collected under the nom de plume of The Six Sigma Heretic, which tells you something about how we approach Six Sigma.  They are written by ROI President Steven Ouellette, and have a unique blend of humor and statistical depth that makes him one of Quality Digest's most popular authors.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed to be alerted about each month's article!

Measurements, Part 1

Now that we have talked about defining Six Sigma and 10 stupid Six Sigma tricks, I’ll move on to the measure phase and discuss some things that work and don’t work in measuring the effect of Six Sigma. The new metric that Six Sigma brought to us was the sigma index, so let’s start with it. Whenever I refer to this index, I will write out “sigma” and put scare quotes around it. This will get tiresome, but this is necessary to differentiate it from the statistical term for standard deviation. I’ll tell you up front that I’m not a big fan of the sigma index for a couple of reasons, which I promise I’ll get to.

But first, what is “sigma”?

This is a bit convoluted, I warn you.


The End is Here!

Repent of your wicked ways O fellow Six Sigma Heretics, or surely you shall be smitten (smoted? smited? smartied?) and turned into a pillar of out-of-spec material! The End (of the Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks countdown, anyway) is here! What could possibly be the No. 1 reason that Six Sigma fails? Can you guess? Is your business doing it? Is mine? I can hardly wait to find out!


Neglecting Daily Management

The end is near! Well, at least the end of the Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks (SSST) countdown. The Heretic soldiers on until his appointment with the stake. This month, we arrive at Stupid Six Sigma Trick #2: Neglecting Daily Management. In this SSST, companies get so starry-eyed over the fancy statistics that can solve big problems that they forget to do the day-to-day basics, and find out to their detriment what Carroll’s Red Queen meant.


Don't read further until you have read Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks #3!


Pruient Photographs (not really)

I had a lot of feedback from interested readers in regards to Stupid Six Sigma Tricks #5, which I jokingly called “Pop Stars Without Clothing,” and which was about the frequent misuse of statistics in the Six Sigma world. Taking heart from this response to what might have been viewed as dusty old statistics, I decided forthrightly to call this Stupid Six Sigma Trick #3, Prurient Photographs. Oh, all right, it’s not really about that either. I thought I’d continue my riff on the bad statistics that I run across frequently, so this is really SSST #3, The Bride of Bad Stats.


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