T'was the season for toys recently, and Christmas day found me
playing around with a classic, the Etch-a-Sketch. As I noodled with
the knobs, I had a sudden flash of recognition: my drawing reminded
me of the Empirical CDF Plot in Minitab Statistical Software. Did you just ask,
"What's a CDF plot? And what's so empirical about it?" Both very
good questions. Let's start with the first, and we'll... Continue Reading
While there are many graph options available in
Minitab’s Graph menu, there is no direct option to
generate a waterfall chart. This type of graph helps visualize the
cumulative effect of sequentially introducing positive or negative
In this post, I’ll show you the steps to follow to make Minitab
display a waterfall chart even without a "waterfall chart" tool. If
you don’t already have... Continue Reading
In my last post on
DMAIC tools for the Define phase, we reviewed various graphs
and stats typically used to define project goals and
customer deliverables. Let’s now move along to the tools you can
use in Minitab
Statistical Software to conduct the Measure phase.
Measure Phase Methodology
The goal of this phase is to measure the process to
determine its current performance and quantify the problem.... Continue Reading
People frequently have different opinions. Usually that's
fine—if everybody thought the same way, life would be pretty
boring—but many business decisions are based on opinion. And when
different people in an organization reach different conclusions
about the same business situation, problems follow.
Inconsistency and poor quality result when people being asked to
make yes / no, pass / fail, and... Continue Reading
Process validation is vital to the success of companies that
manufacture drugs and biological products for people and animals.
According to the FDA guidelines published by the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services:
“Process validation is defined as
the collection and evaluation of data, from the process design
state through commercial production, which establishes scientific
evidence that a... Continue Reading
you’re working in Minitab and prepping your data for analysis, it’s
common to group data into categories that imply a specific order,
such as Low, Medium, High or Beginning, Middle, End.
But if the data were to appear in a different order in tables
and graphs (for example, Beginning, End, Middle), the result could
be confusing, and might distract from your message.
Fortunately, with Minitab’s va...Continue Reading
Did you ever get a pair of jeans or a shirt that you liked, but
didn't quite fit you perfectly? That happened to me a few months
ago. The jeans looked good, and they were very well made, but it
took a while before I was comfortable wearing them.
I much prefer it when I can get a pair with a perfect fit, that
feel like I was born in them, with no period of
So which pair do you think I... Continue Reading
Want to learn some simple tricks for preparing your graphs for
presentation—specifically, how to add footnotes to your graphs,
display your graphs in one layout, and add objects (shapes, text,
etc.) to make your graphs easier to interpret? Below I’ll share
three tips that can help you get your Minitab graphs
1. Add a footnote to a graph:
If you’re looking to add a footnote while... Continue Reading
The line plot is an incredibly
agile but frequently overlooked tool in the quest to better
understand your processes.
In any process, whether it's baking a cake or processing loan
forms, many factors have the potential to affect the outcome.
Changing the source of raw
materials could affect the strength of plywood a factory produces.
Similarly, one method of gluing this plywood might be better... Continue Reading
If you’re familiar with Lean Six Sigma, then you’re familiar
DMAIC is the acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and
Control. This proven problem-solving strategy provides a structured
5-phase framework to follow when working on an improvement
This is the first post in a five-part series that focuses on the
tools available in Minitab Statistical
Software that are most... Continue Reading
It's that time of year again. The time when eggs get nogged,
pudding gets figgy, and it becomes socially acceptable to speak in
rhyme. So on that note, and with apologies to Clement Clarke
Moore, I bring you this timely and heartfelt PSA. Enjoy.
Twas the week before Christmas, and
I couldn't be bothered,
to make sure that our tree, had quite enough water."A sprinkling of needles on the carpet, I... Continue Reading
A member of Minitab's LinkedIn
group asked how to create a chart to monitor change by
month, specifically comparing last year's data to this year's data.
My last post showed how to do this using an
Individuals Chart of the differences between this year's and
last year's data. Here's another approach suggested by a
participant in the group.
Applying Statistical Thinking
An individuals chart of the... Continue Reading
2 of this blog series, I wrote about how statistical
inference uses data from a sample of individuals to reach
conclusions about the whole population. That’s a very powerful
tool, but you must check your assumptions when you make statistical
inferences. Violating any of these assumptions can result in false
positives or false negatives, thus invalidating your
The common... Continue Reading
2016 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the passage of time
and changes. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I love statistics and
analyzing data! I also love talking and writing about it. In fact,
I’ve been writing statistical blog posts for over five years, and
it’s been an absolute blast. John Tukey, the renowned statistician,
once said, “The best thing about being a statistician... Continue Reading
by Matt Barsalou, guest blogger
I know that Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday in
November, but somehow I failed to notice it was fast approaching
until the Monday before Thanksgiving. This led to frantically
sending a last-minute invitation, and a hunt for a turkey.
I live in Germany and this greatly complicated the matter. Not
only is Thanksgiving not celebrated, but also actual turkeys... Continue Reading
LinkedIn group is a good place to ask questions and get
input from people with experience analyzing data and doing
statistics in a wide array of professions. For example, one member
asked this question:
I am trying to create a chart
that can monitor change by month. I have [last year's] data and
want to compare it to [this year's] data...what chart should I use,
and can I auto-update it?... Continue Reading
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon that data entry errors
occur in data sets that are so large that looking for and
correcting the errors by hand is impractical. Fortunately, Minitab
includes tools that make it easy to get your data into shape, so
that you can proceed to getting the answers you need.
Let’s say, for example, that you were going to look at the
Density Database. It’s... Continue Reading
Pareto charts are a special type of bar chart you can use to
prioritize almost anything. This makes them very useful in making
sound decisions. For example, if you have several possible quality
improvement projects, but not enough time or people to do them all
now, you can use a Pareto chart to identify which projects have the
most potential for making meaningful improvement.
Pareto charts look... Continue Reading
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