The Psychology of Quality and More
Stocking the toolkit
When starting out, it is a good idea to have a basic toolkit, and then to add tools as applications occur.
A very common basic toolkit is known as the 'first seven tools':
These are mostly easy to use and understand, although control charts usually take more effort (which is worth it). It has been said that 90% of all problems can be solved with these tools.
The first seven tools originated in manufacturing industries, and are most suited to problems where quantitative measurement is possible. When dealing with more uncertain and qualitative situations, selections from the 'second seven tools' can often be very useful:
Of these tools the Affinity Diagram, Relations Diagram and Tree Diagram are most common, and the Matrix Data Analysis Chart is so complex that some descriptions of the seven tools replace it with other tools, such as the Prioritization Matrix.
Other tools which are often useful early choices include Flowcharts or other ways of mapping processes, Prioritization Matrices or Voting for choosing what to do, and Brainstorming or Nominal Group Technique for divergent identification of new items.
As discussed above, it helps if you can get help and practice the use of the tool in a 'safe' environment before using it in real situations. Even then, be prepared for a few false starts.
When working with improvement tools, particularly in groups, there are a number of resources that can be used to make their application easier and more effective. These may include:
And the big