Project Tools

Blog posts and articles about tools and techniques that help keep Lean and Six Sigma projects on track.

One of my favorite bloggers about the application of statistics in health care is David Kashmer, an MD and MBA who runs and writes for the Business Model Innovation in Surgery blog. If you have an interest in how quality improvement methods like Lean and Six Sigma can be applied to healthcare, check it out.  A while back, Dr. Kashmer penned a column called "How to Measure a Process When There's... Continue Reading
Right now I’m enjoying my daily dose of morning joe. As the steam rises off the cup, the dark rich liquid triggers a powerful enzyme cascade that jump-starts my brain and central nervous system, delivering potent glints of perspicacity into the dark crevices of my still-dormant consciousness. Feels good, yeah! But is it good for me? Let’s see what the studies say… Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee... Continue Reading
In technical support, we often receive questions about Gage R&R and how Minitab calculates the amount of variation that is attributable to the various sources in a measurement system. This post will focus on how the variance components are calculated for a crossed Gage R&R using the ANOVA table, and how we can obtain the %Contribution, StdDev, Study Var and %Study Var shown in the Gage R&R output. ... Continue Reading
In part 1 of this post, I covered how Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology cleaned up and prepared project data for a regression analysis. Now we're ready to start our analysis. We’ll detail the steps in that process and what we can learn from our results. What Factors Are Important? We collected data about 11 factors we believe could be significant: Whether the date of... Continue Reading
By Peter Olejnik, guest blogger. Previous posts on the Minitab Blog have discussed the work of the Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to reduce the quantities of recyclables that wind up in the trash. Led by Dr. Diane Evans, these students continue to make an important impact on their community. As with any Six Sigma process, the results of the work need to be evaluated. A... Continue Reading
The Minitab Fan section of the Minitab blog is your chance to share with our readers! We always love to hear how you are using Minitab products for quality improvement projects, Lean Six Sigma initiatives, research and data analysis, and more. If our software has helped you, please share your Minitab story, too! My LSS coach suggested that I regularly conduct data analysis to refresh my Minitab... Continue Reading
Recently, Minitab’s Joel Smith posted about his vacation and being pooped on twice by birds. Then guest blogger Matthew Barsalou wrote a wonderful follow-up on the chances of Joel being pooped on a third time. While I cannot comment on how Joel has handled this situation psychologically so far, I can say that if I had been pooped on twice in a short amount of time, I would be wary of our... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.  E. E. Doc Smith, one of the greatest authors ever, wrote many classic books such as The Skylark of Space and his Lensman series. Doc Smith’s imagination knew no limits; his Galactic Patrol had millions of combat fleets under its command and possessed planets turned into movable, armored weapons platforms. Some of the Galactic Patrol’s weapons may be well... Continue Reading
In my recent meetings with people from various companies in the service industries, I realized that one of the problems they face is that they were collecting large amounts of "qualitative" data: types of product, customer profiles, different subsidiaries, several customer requirements, etc. As I discussed in my previous post, one way to look at qualitative data is to use different types of... Continue Reading
Choosing the correct linear regression model can be difficult. After all, the world and how it works is complex. Trying to model it with only a sample doesn’t make it any easier. In this post, I'll review some common statistical methods for selecting models, complications you may face, and provide some practical advice for choosing the best regression model. It starts when a researcher wants to... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger Recently Minitab’s Joel Smith posted a blog about an incident in which he was pooped on by a bird. Twice. I suspect many people would assume the odds of it happening twice are very low, so they would incorrectly assume they are safer after such a rare event happens. I don’t have data on how often birds poop on one person, and I assume Joel is unwilling to stand... Continue Reading
I like learning about new things. This fondness makes it less depressing when I have to admit total ignorance on any subject. Thus, when I heard that there were “New Year honours” given out, I expected something like a Dave Letterman top ten list about events from 2014. Instead, it turns out that New Year honours are awards given out to people for their actions, achievements, or service to the... Continue Reading
Histograms are one of the most common graphs used to display numeric data. Anyone who takes a statistics course is likely to learn about the histogram, and for good reason: histograms are easy to understand and can instantly tell you a lot about your data. Here are three of the most important things you can learn by looking at a histogram.  Shape—Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall… If the left side of a... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger Aaron and Billy are two very competitive—and not always well-behaved—eight-year-old twin brothers. They constantly strive to outdo each other, no matter what the subject. If the boys are given a piece of pie for dessert, they each automatically want to make sure that their own piece of pie is bigger than the other’s piece of pie. This causes much exasperation,... Continue Reading
Over the last year or so I’ve heard a lot of people asking, “How can I calculate B10 life in Minitab?” Despite being a statistician and industrial engineer (mind you, one who has never been in the field like the customers asking this question) and having taken a reliability engineering course, I’d never heard of B10 life. So I did some research. The B10 life metric originated in the ball and roller... Continue Reading
Stepwise regression and best subsets regression are both automatic tools that help you identify useful predictors during the exploratory stages of model building for linear regression. These two procedures use different methods and present you with different output. An obvious question arises. Does one procedure pick the true model more often than the other? I’ll tackle that question in this post. Fi... Continue Reading
Sure, Minitab Statistical Software is powerful and easy to use, but did you know that it’s also magic? One of the illusions that Minitab can perform is the world famous disappearing-reappearing-analysis-settings act. Of course, as with many illusions, it’s not so hard once you know the trick. In this case, it’s downright easy once you know about Minitab project files. If you’ve done any work in... Continue Reading
In technical support, we frequently receive calls from Minitab users who have questions about the differences between Cpk and Ppk.  Michelle Paret already wrote a great post about the differences between Cpk and Ppk, but it also helps to have a better understanding of the math behind these numbers. So in this post I will show you how to calculate Ppk using Minitab’s default settings when the... Continue Reading
Hi everyone! Over the past month, I fielded some interesting customer calls regarding control chart creation and editing. I wanted to share these potential scenarios with you in hopes that you will find them informative and useful. For these scenarios, I used the XBar-R chart as my template, but you could easily apply them to many of the other control charts in Minitab.  Scenario 1: Create a... Continue Reading
Everyone who analyzes data regularly has the experience of getting a worksheet that just isn't ready to use. Previously I wrote about tools you can use to clean up and eliminate clutter in your data and reorganize your data.  In this post, I'm going to highlight tools that help you get the most out of messy data by altering its characteristics. Know Your Options Many problems with data don't become... Continue Reading