The Psychology of Quality and More

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Beyond Six Sigma

~ David Straker ~


-- Introduction -- Focusing statistics for value -- Deepening strengths --
-- Adding critical skills -- The bottom line -- References --

-- Printer-friendly one-page --

Adding critical skills

A glimpse of traditional Black Belt training immediately shows an overwhelming focus on statistics. This gives excellent and detailed skills in this area. However, there is always an opportunity cost and in this case it is in understanding of other areas that may be of greater value.

Create deep people skills

The most difficult parts of almost all improvement and change projects are to do with people, where issues range from sponsor commitment, to resistance to change, to learning new skills. The skills in communication and persuasion of those who are leading and facilitating change can make or break a project or an entire programme. There is a huge range of potential approaches in this area, ranging from basic psychology to methods in group dynamics.

Systemic understanding

A close focus on processes can lead to the bigger picture being missed, which is where more difficult business problems can lie. A systems understanding can also help avoid process improvements leading to problems elsewhere. Useful disciplines in this area include Systems Dynamics and Supply Chain Management

Extend Creative skills

Although Six Sigma does include basic creative techniques such as Brainstorming, there is also a much wider field of creative and inventive methods. Approaches such as Synectics, CPS and TRIZ can lead to a wide array of choices for solutions to improvement problems.


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