by Matthew Barsalou, guest
The old saying “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and
looks like a duck, then it must be a duck” may be appropriate in
bird watching; however, the same idea can’t be applied when
observing a statistical distribution. The dedicated ornithologist
is often armed with binoculars and a field guide to the local birds
and this should be sufficient. A... Continue Reading
Have you ever wanted to know the odds of something happening, or
It's the kind of question that students are frequently asked to
calculate by hand in introductory statistics classes, and going
through that exercise is a good way to become familiar with the
mathematical formulas the underlie probability (and hence, all of
But let's be honest: when class is over, most... Continue Reading
In its industry guidance to companies that manufacture drugs and
biological products for people and animals, the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) recommends three stages for process
my last post covered
statistical tools for the Process Design stage, here we will
focus on the statistical techniques typically utilized for the
second stage, Process Qualification.
Stage 2: Process... Continue Reading
you ever wonder why statistical analyses and concepts often have
such weird, cryptic names?
One conspiracy theory points to the workings of a secret
committee called the ICSSNN. The International Committee for
Sadistic Statistical Nomenclature and Numerophobia was formed
solely to befuddle and subjugate the masses. Its mission: To select
the most awkward, obscure, and confusing name possible... Continue Reading
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
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
The language of statistics is a funny thing, but there usually
isn't much to laugh at in the consequences that can follow when
misunderstandings occur between statisticians and
non-statisticians. We see these consequences frequently in the
media, when new studies—that usually contradict previous ones—are
breathlessly related, as if their findings were incontrovertible
Similar, though less... 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
For all you creative and fun-loving folks out there, in this
blog post I'm going to share a puzzle instead of a story or lesson.
The holiday season is getting into full swing here in the United
States, and that gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect, and
even have a little fun while still thinking about how we can
improve our processes and products.
Perhaps you're wondering what a puzzle... Continue Reading
we enter late December, snow is falling here on the East Coast of
the United States. The official start to winter is on December 21,
2016, but it’s certainly not uncommon to see snowflakes flying
before this date.
If you live in the U.S., you know the winter of 2015 was one for
the record books. In fact, more than 90 inches of snow fell in
Boston in the winter of 2015! Have you ever wondered how... 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
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