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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Every day, thousands of people withdraw extra cash for daily
expenses. Each transaction may be small, but the total amount of
cash dispersed over hundreds or thousands of daily transactions can
be very high. But every bank branch has a fixed cash flow, which
must be set without knowing what each customer will need on a given
day. This creates a challenge for financial entities. Customers
expect... Continue Reading
A reader asked a great
question in response to a post I wrote
about Pareto charts. Our readers typically do ask great questions,
but this one turned out to be more difficult to answer than it
My correspondent wrote:
My understanding is that when you have count data, a
bar chart is the way to go. The gaps between the bars emphasize
that the data are not measured on a continuous scale.... Continue Reading
We hosted our first-ever Minitab Insights conference in
September, and if you were among the attendees, you already know
the caliber of the speakers and the value of the information they
shared. Experts from a wide range of industries offered a lot of
great lessons about how they use data analysis to improve business
practices and solve a variety of problems.
I blogged earlier about five key...Continue Reading
watched an old motorcycle flick from the 1960s the other night, and I
was struck by the bikers' slang. They had a language all their own.
Just like statisticians, whose manner of speaking often confounds
those who aren't hep to the lingo of data analysis.
It got me thinking...what if there were an all-statistician
biker gang? Call them the Nulls Angels. Imagine them in their
colors, tearing... Continue Reading
If you were among the 300 people who attended the first-ever
Minitab Insights conference in September, you already know how
powerful it was. Attendees learned how practitioners from a
wide range of industries use data analysis to address a variety of
problems, find solutions, and improve business practices.
In the coming weeks and months, we will share more of the great
insights and guidance shared... Continue Reading
I confess: I'm not a natural-born decision-maker. Some people—my
wife, for example—can assess even very complex situations, consider
the options, and confidently choose a way forward. Me? I get
anxious about deciding what to eat for lunch. So you can imagine
what it used to be like when I
needed to confront a really big decision or problem. My approach,
to paraphrase the Byrds, was "Re:... Continue Reading
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
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
So the data you nurtured, that you worked so hard to format and
make useful, failed the normality test.
Time to face the truth: despite your best efforts, that data set
is never going to measure up to the assumption you may
have been trained to fervently look for.
Your data's lack of normality seems to make it poorly suited for
analysis. Now what?
Take it easy. Don't get uptight. Just let your data... Continue Reading
Figures lie, so they say, and liars figure. A recent post at Ben
Orlin's always-amusing mathwithbaddrawings.com blog nicely
encapsulates why so many people feel wary about anything
related to statistics and data analysis. Do take a moment to check it out, it's a fast
all of the scenarios Orlin offers in his post, the statistical
statements are completely accurate, but the person offering... Continue Reading
You need to consider many factors when you’re buying a used car.
Once you narrow your choice down to a particular car model, you can
get a wealth of information about individual cars on the market
through the Internet. How do you navigate through it all to find
the best deal? By analyzing the data you have available.
Let's look at how this works using
the Assistant in Minitab Statistical... Continue Reading
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