## 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.

## 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.

## 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.

## 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.

## 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

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!