Quality Trainer

Blog posts and articles about learning statistics for quality improvement with Minitab's e-learning course.

If your work involves quality improvement, you've at least heard of Design of Experiments (DOE). You probably know it's the most efficient way to optimize and improve your process. But many of us find DOE intimidating, especially if it's not a tool we use often. How do you select an appropriate design, and ensure you've got the right number of factors and levels? And after you've gathered your... Continue Reading
The other day I was talking with a friend about control charts, and I wanted to share an example one of my colleagues wrote on the Minitab Blog.  Looking back through the index for "control charts" reminded me just how much material we've published on this topic. Whether you're just getting started with control charts, or you're an old hand at statistical process control, you'll find some valuable... Continue Reading

7 Deadly Statistical Sins Even the Experts Make

Do you know how to avoid them?

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Design of Experiments (DOE) is the perfect tool to efficiently determine if key inputs are related to key outputs. Behind the scenes, DOE is simply a regression analysis. What’s not simple, however, is all of the choices you have to make when planning your experiment. What X’s should you test? What ranges should you select for your X’s? How many replicates should you use? Do you need center... 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
If you've read the first two parts of this tale, you know it started when I published a post that involved transforming data for capability analysis. When an astute reader asked why Minitab didn't seem to transform the data outside of the capability analysis, it revealed an oversight that invalidated the original analysis.  I removed the errant post. But to my surprise, the reader who helped me... Continue Reading
As a Minitab trainer, one of the most common questions I get from training participants is "what should I do when my data isn’t normal?" A large number of statistical tests are based on the assumption of normality, so not having data that is normally distributed typically instills a lot of fear. Many practitioners suggest that if your data are not normal, you should do a nonparametric version of... Continue Reading
Last week, thanks to the collective effort from many people, we held very successful events in Guadalajara and Mexico City, which gave us a unique opportunity to meet with over 300 Spanish-speaking Minitab users. They represented many different industries, including automotive, textile, pharmaceutical, medical devices, oil and gas, electronics, and mining, as well as academic institutions and... Continue Reading
In quality initiatives such as Six Sigma, practitioners often need to assess the capability of a process to make sure it can meet specifications, or to verify that it produces good parts. While many Minitab users are familiar with the capability analysis tools in the Stat menu and in Minitab’s Assistant, the Assistant includes a less-frequently used feature—the Capability Snapshot. What Is the... Continue Reading
It's all too easy to make mistakes involving statistics. Powerful statistical software can remove a lot of the difficulty surrounding statistical calculation, reducing the risk of mathematical errors—but  correctly interpreting the results of an analysis can be even more challenging.  No one knows that better than Minitab's technical trainers. All of our trainers are seasoned statisticians with... Continue Reading
In previous posts, I’ve outlined some reasons why a Lean Six Sigma project might have been deemed a failure. We’ve gathered many of these reasons from surveying and talking with our customers. I’d like to present a few more reasons why projects might fail, and then share some “words of wisdom” from Minitab trainers on how you can avoid these project failures. Forcing Projects into DMAIC Certain... Continue Reading
In a previous post, I discussed how to avoid a disastrous Lean Six Sigma project failure, specifically if the reason behind the failure is that the project solution never gets implemented. In this post, let's discuss a few other project roadblocks that our customers cited when we asked them about the challenges they come across in completing projects. I’ll also go into detail about suggestions our i... Continue Reading
As we said in yesterday’s post, it’s been exciting for Minitab to be a supporter of the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement taking place this week in Indianapolis. There have been many great sessions and an abundance of case studies shared that highlight how quality teams worldwide are improving the performance of their businesses. One session that generated a lot of interest from the... Continue Reading
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." I’m sure you’ve heard this most vile expression, which was popularized by Mark Twain among others. This dastardly phrase impugns the reputation of statistics. The implication is that statistics can bolster a weak argument, or that statistics can be used to prove anything. I’ve had enough of this expression, and here’s the rebuttal!... 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! Throughout my 15 years as a Six Sigma Initiative Leader, Consultant, Trainer, Black... Continue Reading
We got the opportunity a few weeks back to sit in on one of the preliminary round judging events that make up ASQ’s International Team Excellence Award Process (ITEA). I wrote about the ITEA in a previous post, but the process is an annual event that celebrates the accomplishments of quality improvement teams from a broad spectrum of industries. Estonand I traveled to Charlotte, N.C., to attend... Continue Reading
Trying to remember what the alpha-level, p-value, and confidence interval all mean for a hypothesis test—and how they relate to one another—can seem about as daunting as Dorothy’s trek down the yellow brick road. Rather than sitting through a semester of Intro Stats, let's get right to the point and explain in clear language what all these statistical terms mean and how they relate to one another. Wh... Continue Reading
I remember a time in my career when I mistakenly thought I knew statistics—really knew statistics. It was before I met Yanling Zuo, Michelle Paret, Eduardo Santiago and a whole host of other Minitab statistical experts. I was a Quality Engineer and I’d been applying statistics for years. I assumed that the ability to design and run an experiment meant that I understood DOE. I assumed that years... Continue Reading
Looking for a safe bet?  Here's one: People you know hate statistics. You may even be one of them. So was I. See, math has never been my strong suit; I could understand the concepts easily enough, but I never liked solving math problems. I used to view anything involving math as an enemy, and avoided it like my life—or livelihood—depended on it. I became a professional writer and editor. I was good... Continue Reading
Can you really trust your data? As scientists at OPERA demonstrated, it can be all too easy to just assume that even the best measurement tools are behaving the way they should.Photo credit: OPERA Collaboration Quality improvement is no cakewalk. Doing Lean Six Sigma projects and proving your results with data analysis and reliable statistics is no small task. Every day you're confronted... Continue Reading
Like a lot of people who need to analyze data for their work, I am not an expert statistician. Over the years I've acquired a fair amount of knowledge and experience, but mainly enough to make me appreciate more than ever the value of statistical software in making data analysis an accessible tool.   And I've discovered over and over again how quickly specific statistics skills can get rusty if you... Continue Reading