(process,funny) Six Sigma

Best stuff I've seen on Six Sigma in a long time:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=208900&cid=17033026 says/asks:

Six Sigma -- I find it hilarious. Basically, they took the work of Walter Edward Demmings, widely regarded as the driving force behind Japan's industrial turnaround, repackaged it, and called it "new". Demmings cane up with "kaizen" or the process of continual improvement. Basically, no process is complete unless it has a feedback and improving mechanism

For anyone who is an expert: What has six sigma added to this paradigm?

Then http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=208900&cid=17033512 replies:


At least in GE's implementation of Six Sigma. They found a way to take what is essentially the engineering version of the scientific process, wrap it in so much red tape that it is unworkable (a 12-step process that really had 15 steps) , and put it in the hands of every worker in the company. Originally they gave bonuses for doing it, but eventually they took those away and declared "Thou shalt not get a raise without a Six Sigma Project." What ended up happening is that people refused to make any process or product improvements unless they were part of somebody's (preferably their own) Six Sigma project.

It was ridiculous. You ended up with one person optimizing a part of a process, while the person in the next cubicle was eliminating the entire process in favor of a more unwieldy one. Then, six months later, somebody else would start a new project that essentially put the original process back in place. Of course the problem was that they were using a distinctly product-oriented procedure, and trying to use it to solve process problems.

Don't even get me started on the math. They would assume normal distributions for everything. Never mind that one of the steps was to prove normalcy. If that test proved it wasn't normal, you were instructed by your "Black Belt" to assume normalcy anyway -- even if a Weibull distribution was clearly the correct choice (like in timed exercises). Idiots, I say. And then they had PHB's (called "Black Belts" and "Master Black Belts") trying to tell engineers how to do math, when they didn't even know how to use a simple Q test. If they saw a data point that didn't support their theory, they just called it an outlier, and deleted it.

You'd think after nearly two years of not working at GE, I wouldn't get so wound up about it. I guess as an engineer, it really gets my goat when people use math improperly.

[I normally don't copy entire tracts of text, preferring to just give the URL and leave it at that, but in this case it seemed necessary and useful...]

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