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    I am now using this blog to re-post some comments I make other blogs. For my full management blog see the Curious Cat Management Blog

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Measurement and Data Collection

    Topic: Management improvement

    This is my response to the Deming Electronic Network message on measurement.

    I find it useful, to assure that data collection is a wise use of
    resources, to ask what will be done with the results. If you don't
    have an answer for how you will use the data, once you get it, then you
    probably shouldn't waste resources collecting it (and I find there is
    frequently no plan for using the results).

    I have found it helpful to ask: what will you do if the data we
    collect is 30? What will you do if it is 3? The answer does not need
    to be some formula, if 30 then x. But rather that the results would
    be used to help inform a decision process to make improvements
    (possibly the decision to focus resources in that area). I find, that
    asking that question often helps reach a better understanding of what
    data is actually needed, so you then collect better data.

    I believe, it is better to focus on less data, really focus on it. My
    father, Bill Hunter
    , and Brain Joiner, believed in the value of actually plotting
    the data yourself by hand. In this day and age that is almost never
    done (especially in an office environment). I think doing so does add
    value. For one thing, it makes you select the vital few important
    measures to your job.

    But it is very difficult for anyone to actual suggest plotting data by
    hand: they must be very secure in their reputation (or maybe a bit
    crazy), because it seems to be a hopelessly outdated idea that paints
    you as the same. My appeal, within the Deming context, is that the
    psychology of plotting the points yourself is qualitatively different
    from letting the computer do it. Plotting the data yourself serves to
    lift the data that you plot out of the sea of data that we find ourselves
    inundated with and gives you a deeper connection to it. You would not
    plot all the data that you use by hand; just the most important items.


    John Hunter
    Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections

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