Monday, November 3, 2008


Now that my site is at least superficially present, I hope to start using this blog to point out useful links that I come across and also throw out some ideas to make you think about how to become a more effective problem solver.

The first suggestion is: Inquire. If you notice something unusual in your data, inquire! Often you will learn more from a single unusual data point than from looking at reams of usual data. Statistical process control is a great example of this. Often we are tempted to ignore outliers but in reading any process control text there's a lot of emphasis put on dealing with outliers. Typically the outlier has a unique cause associated with it and if you can determine the cause, you will learn more about your process than from all the in-control data. An example of learning from your mistakes. An outlier is not necessarily a mistake, sometimes the value is actually desirable. Recently we noticed a particularly good section in one of our control charts. Why? Once we figure out why, we have a great opportunity to improve our process.

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