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Top Ten Stupid six sigma Tricks #8

Optimizing processes that lose money

So far, we've discussed Stupid Six Sigma Tricks #10: Conflating systems, methods and tools and #9: Confusing breakthrough with continuous improvement. This month, I’ll spend some time on a more subtle, and no less costly mistake that, in its extreme form, we’ll call Stupid Six Sigma Trick #8: Optimizing processes that lose money.

“Well,” you might say, “Isn’t that what Six Sigma is all about? Taking unprofitable processes and fixing them or making profitable ones more profitable?” And you would be right. For the explanation, we need to dip briefly into the world of accounting. As your dentist says, “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt much and will be over soon."

Read more: Top Ten Stupid six sigma Tricks #8

Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Trick #9

Confusing breakthrough with continuous improvement

This month let’s examine another common mistake that some people (not my loyal, intelligent, heretical and, let's face it, downright attractive readers) make when they use Six Sigma.

I expect to seriously annoy some practitioners when I say that Six Sigma isn't a method of continuous improvement—no matter how many times you've heard someone say exactly that.

Bold assertion, you say? Remember, Six Sigma heretics don’t accept arguments from authority, so keep an open mind and don’t take me at my word. Let’s take a more detailed look.

Read more: Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Trick #9

Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks #1

The end is here

Repent of your wicked ways O fellow Six Sigma Heretics, or surely you shall be smitten (smoted? smited? smartied?) and turned into a pillar of out-of-spec material! The End (of the Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks countdown, anyway) is here! What could possibly be the No. 1 reason that Six Sigma fails? Can you guess? Is your business doing it? Is mine? I can hardly wait to find out!

Read more: Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks #1

Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks, #10

Conflating systems, strategies and tools

As I said in my premier Heretic column, “Dogma and Definition,” I'm interested in examining our assumptions and premises about Six Sigma so we can discard the dross and refine the potential benefits in implementing it.

To that end, I have decided to co-opt an omnipresent element of pop culture. No, not “reality” TV (though a Six Sigma reality show strikes me as very funny—you heard it here first).

And so I humbly present to you the Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks, beginning with no. 10: Conflating systems, strategies and tools.

Read more: Top Ten Stupid Six Sigma Tricks, #10

Dogma and Definition

In Dirk Dusharme’s First Word in the April 2006 issue of Quality Digest, he sneaks into the back of the "Church of the Six Sigma" and cannily reports the goings on. In this bimonthly column, I will burst in through the doors dressed in motley and try to pry the scales off of your eyes, chanting, "DMAIC will set you free!"

Do I do this for my own ego?


Well, maybe.

Read more: Dogma and Definition

Random Heresy

In the Six Sigma world, we give a lot of lip service to the importance of the customer; we even have an official name for it—voice of the customer, or VOC. The problem is that many businesses don’t really have a good system for giving the customer what they ask


News Flash

Six Sigma's lead instructor Steven Ouellette wrote an article with Dr. Jeffrey Luftig on "The Decline of Ethical Behavior in Business."



Six Sigma Online's lead instructor Steven Ouellette was profiled in the June 2008 issue of Quality Digest magazine. If you want to learn more about Steve's peculiar view of the world, as well as what he studied for a year in Europe, read the profile online.




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