Data Analysis

Blog posts and articles with tips for analyzing data for quality improvement methodologies, including Six Sigma and Lean.

Back when I was an undergrad in statistics, I unfortunately spent an entire semester of my life taking a class, diligently crunching numbers with my TI-82, before realizing 1) that I was actually in an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) class, 2) why I would want to use such a tool in the first place, and 3) that ANOVA doesn’t necessarily tell you a thing about variances. Fortunately, I've had a lot more... Continue Reading
Control charts are a fantastic tool. These charts plot your process data to identify common cause and special cause variation. By identifying the different causes of variation, you can take action on your process without over-controlling it. Assessing the stability of a process can help you determine whether there is a problem and identify the source of the problem. Is the mean too high, too low,... Continue Reading
Last time I touched on the subject of the greatest Super Bowl quarterback, I promised a multivariate analysis considering several different statistics. Let’s get right to a factor analysis. Getting Ready for Factor Analysis One purpose of factor analysis is to identify underlying factors that you can’t measure directly. These factors explain the variation of many different variables in fewer... Continue Reading
Going into Saturday, Nebraska was 0-5 in games decided by 7 points or less and Michigan State was 4-0 in games decided by 7 points or less. You'll often hear sports analysts use this as proof that one team chokes under the pressure and the other team knows how to win in the clutch. But in reality, the result in close games can have just as much to do with luck as it can skill. Consider the formula... Continue Reading
Don't be a grumpy cat when something on your capability report doesn't smell right. After pressing that OK button to run your analysis, allow your inner cat to understand how and why certain statistics are being used. To help you along, here are some capability issues that customers have brought up recently. Cp is missing You’ve generated a capability analysis report with the Johnson transformation... Continue Reading
By Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger A problem must be understood before it can be properly addressed. A thorough understanding of the problem is critical when performing a root cause analysis (RCA) and an RCA is necessary if an organization wants to implement corrective actions that truly address the root cause of the problem. An RCA may also be necessary for process improvement projects; it is... Continue Reading
I have two young children, and I work full-time, so my adult TV time is about as rare as finding a Kardashian-free tabloid.  So I can’t commit to just any TV show. It better be a good one. I was therefore extremely excited when Netflix analyzed viewer data to find out at what point watchers get hooked on the first season of various shows. Specifically, they identified the episode at which 70% of... Continue Reading
4th and 1. It's a situation where the Big Ten 4th down calculator will never say to kick (unless, of course, it's the end of the game and a field goal will tie or take the lead). But what would it take to have the statistics suggest a punt? The key here is how far the punt travels. Last year the average Big Ten punt traveled about 40 yards. Using this value, in your own territory you'll score... Continue Reading
Easy access to the right tools makes any task easier. That simple idea has made the Swiss Army knife essential for adventurers: just one item in your pocket gives you instant access to dozens of tools when you need them.   If your current adventures include analyzing data, the Editor menu in Minitab 17 is just as essential. Whether you're organizing a data set, sifting through Session window output,... Continue Reading
As Halloween approaches, you are probably taking the necessary steps to protect yourself from the various ghosts, goblins, and witches that are prowling around. Monsters of all sorts are out to get you, unless they’re sufficiently bribed with candy offerings! I’m here to warn you about a ghoul that all statisticians and data scientists need to be aware of: phantom degrees of freedom. These phantoms... Continue Reading
Nebraska lost another close game, teams continue to incorrectly punt to Ohio State on 4th and short, and Northwestern keeps making terrible 4th down decisions. Another regular week for the Big Ten 4th down calculator. In case you haven't read the earlier entries in this series, I've used Minitab Statistical Software to create a model to determine the correct 4th down decision in Big Ten Conference... Continue Reading
By Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger Teaching process performance and capability studies is easier when actual process data is available for the student or trainee to practice with. As I have previously discussed at the Minitab Blog, a catapult can be used to generate data for a capability study. My last blog on using a catapult for this purspose was several years ago, so I would like to revisit... Continue Reading
People who are ill frequently need medication. But if they miss a dose, or receive the wrong medication—or even get the wrong dose of the right medication—the results can be disastrous.  So medical professionals have a lot at stake in making sure patients get the right medicine, in the right amount, at the right time. But hospitals and other medical facilities are complex systems, and mistakes do... Continue Reading
Week 4 in the Big Ten featured a couple blowouts, an insane comeback, and the worst punt in the history of recorded time. But before we get to all that, here's my weekly blurb on what exactly the 4th down calculator is.  I've used Minitab Statistical Software to create a model to determine the correct 4th down decision. And for the rest of the college football season, I'll use that model to track... Continue Reading
With Speaker John Boehner resigning, Kevin McCarthy quitting before the vote for him to be Speaker, and a possible government shutdown in the works, the Freedom Caucus has certainly been in the news frequently! Depending on your political bent, the Freedom Caucus has caused quite a disruption for either good or bad.  Who are these politicians? The Freedom Caucus is a group of approximately 40... Continue Reading
Every single Big Ten team played a conference game this week, giving us the most 4th downs to analyze yet. Last week, 4 of the 6 games were decided by one possession. This week only 2 of the 7 games were decided by one possession, so let's see if the losing teams missed opportunities to keep the game close! But first, a quick refresher on what this is.  I've used Minitab Statistical Software to... Continue Reading
Step 3 in our DOE problem solving methodology is to determine how many times to replicate the base experiment plan. The discussion in Part 3 ended with the conclusion that our 4 factors could best be studied using all 16 combinations of the high and low settings for each factor, a full factorial. Each golfer will perform half of the sixteen possible combinations and each golfer’s data could stand as... Continue Reading
You've collected a bunch of data. It wasn't easy, but you did it. Yep, there it is, right there...just look at all those numbers, right there in neat columns and rows. Congratulations. I hate to ask...but what are you going to do with your data? If you're not sure precisely what to do with the data you've got, graphing it is a great way to get some valuable insight and direction. And a good graph to... Continue Reading
I read trade publications that cover everything from banking to biotech, looking for interesting perspectives on data analysis and statistics, especially where it pertains to quality improvement. Recently I read a great blog post from Tony Taylor, an analytical chemist with a background in pharmaceuticals. In it, he discusses the implications of the FDA's updated guidance for industry analytical... Continue Reading
It was a wild weekend in the Big Ten. Four of the six conference games were decided by a touchdown or less, and all of those close games means we have plenty of 4th down decisions to analyze. If you're new to the Big Ten 4th Down Calculator, I've used Minitab Statistical Software to create a model to determine the correct 4th down decision. And for the rest of the college football season, I'll use... Continue Reading