## Measurements Part 2

Last month I talked about the “sigma” index and how it can be used. So what could be bad about the “sigma” index?

Never forget that metrics drive behavior and that people are very, very good at finding a way to succeed when given a goal. It just may not be the thing you wanted them to do.

## Measurements, Part 3

I spent my June and July articles beating up on the “sigma” index commonly associated with Six Sigma. Let me sum up by saying that, while not wrong, “sigma” isn’t an efficient metric for accomplishing what we are trying to do in today’s business environment. Is there a better way to do that? I think that there is, and in this, my lucky 14th Heretic article, it is fitting that we continue to explore ways to measure the effect of Six Sigma.

## Measurement Levels

There is something that will get you into trouble if you don’t know about it, and which in my experience very few Black Belts or even Master Black Belts know about. It’s only in the mind of the person doing the research, and no software program will know about it. This mysterious property is “measurement level,” and that is what I want to talk about this month.

## Don't Judge a Gauge by Its Sticker

### Measurement System Analysis

I seem to be thinking about the measurement phase a lot recently. I suppose it’s because I’ve seen some teams working hard on problems that turned out to be nothing more than problems with measurement. Let me give you an example.

## For the Soul

Harvest time—vegetables fresh from the local farmer’s market going right into a homemade soup, eaten with fresh bread. Yum! This month, I’d like to talk about a recipe for a Greek alphabet soup, which you had better know about if you plan on doing an experiment. This may be the first recipe that might save your bacon, rather than use it up.

## Digging Out From a Data Blizzard

As I’m writing this, our first big snowfall of the year is piling up outside and it is –10°C (15°F). This brings to mind the many times my grandfather told me of how he walked to school in winter uphill (both ways) with no shoes. So I wondered, will I be able to spin the same yarn for my girls and tell them about how much colder it was when I was young? And could granddad have been exaggerating about more than the fish he caught? So (of course) I did what any data-geek would do and downloaded the data. Let’s take a look and see how this time series pertains to Black Belts.

## Elegance Rules

By the time you are reading this, you will have made your New Year’s resolutions, and I will have already broken mine. But I have an idea for a resolution that you might be interested in keeping, and one that could make your New Year happy and profitable. It is something that most Black Belts I talk to have never heard of. Before we get there, we need to talk about another powerful tool, with which you may be familiar.