I am a firm believer that in order to “do” really great quality management, you must at least have a basic understanding of working with data–specifically how to read it so you can so something with it.
I got onto this book (via Stacey Barr, Performance Measurement Specialist and creator of PuMP, a performance measurement methodology) because I really wanted to learn how to better understand my data–what’s normal and when should I act? What exactly is an XmR chart and how on earth do I read
I’m happy to say this book delivers on answering these questions, and does so in a simple and easily understandable way, for the most part. Some of the book gets a bit technical and I couldn’t really relate to the examples (being from a service industry), but don’t let that stop you from reading this book if you’re
interested in and want to do more with your data (like motivate people to action). I also loved Wheeler’s examples of how businesses can do data badly–you’ll cringe, but you’ll never make those mistakes again!
It is hard for me to believe that this book was published in 1993 because it is still so relevant. Added bonus – you can buy in fairly cheaply online (have a look at the stores that sell second hand).
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite lines from the book (I took notes to remind myself of what not to do!):
“No matter what the data, no matter how the values are arranged and presented, one must always use some method of analysis to come up with an interpretation of the data.”
Why I love this line is because I think that interpretation is a forgotten step when looking at data. As Quality Managers, when we look at data and information, we need to be asking "Why?" (getting to the root cause, if you like). And if we don't get good answers, we need to not be afraid to seek them out!
Thanks for reading,
The Quality Nerd loves all things Quality Management and Internal Audit...too much is never enough!