Identifying Causes (book chapter 4 on problem solving)

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ccochran

Hello, all:

I think I'm finally getting a little momentum on this book project. Here's Chapter 4, Identifying Causes. As always, I greatly value any feedback and criticism you might have.

Talk to you soon,
Craig
 

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A

ab001

Hello, all:

I think I'm finally getting a little momentum on this book project. Here's Chapter 4, Identifying Causes. As always, I greatly value any feedback and criticism you might have.

Talk to you soon,
Craig

I like the Opportunity Priority function you have described. We've done a similar thing in the past but didn't have a good name for the 'control' factor. We tried calling it 'ease of fix' and 'impact'.
If you can get people who understand risk assessments, this is easy. [it's a BIG if, though]
 
C

ccochran

ab001,

Yes, that's a big if. In the past, I've used a multi-voting process for prioritizing causes, but it really doesn't produce consistently good results. The evaluation using the 3 factors of frequency, likelihood, and control works quite well, and it's fairly intuitive to most people.

Thanks for taking a look at the chapter!

Craig
 
C

Charlie H

Craig,


Thanks for posting this. It couldn't come at a better time. We are currently triing to eliminate rework and it is moving slowly. We just decided to try a brainstorming session with the employees that perform the actual rework. Hopefully this will shine a brighter light than our other attemps.
 
C

ccochran

Ajit and Charlie--

Thanks for taking a look at the article. Your comments are very encouraging. Charlie: Yes, I hope your brainstorming goes well! If the chapter is of any assistance then I'll be extremely gratified.

This chapter does have a couple of quirks worth mentioning:

1) Cause and Effect Diagrams (aka Fishbone Diagrams) are not mentioned at all. I have never found a great deal of value in these, so I just skipped over any mention of them. They're very popular tools, though, and my guess is that some people might be disappointed that they're not addressed.

2) There's no mention of common cause variation versus special cause variation. I would have launched into a explanation of the central limit theorum and control charts, and it seemed to un-focus the chapter. So I left it out.

3) The use of data is described and encouraged, but it isn't the overriding focus of the chapter. For a chapter on problem causes, this could bug some people.

Thanks again,
Craig
 
Q

qualityboi

Ajit and Charlie--

1) Cause and Effect Diagrams (aka Fishbone Diagrams) are not mentioned at all. I have never found a great deal of value in these, so I just skipped over any mention of them. They're very popular tools, though, and my guess is that some people might be disappointed that they're not addressed.

2) There's no mention of common cause variation versus special cause variation. I would have launched into a explanation of the central limit theorum and control charts, and it seemed to un-focus the chapter. So I left it out.

3) The use of data is described and encouraged, but it isn't the overriding focus of the chapter. For a chapter on problem causes, this could bug some people.

At the level where this chapter is written, it is easy to understand without going into the more technical tools for problem solving and decision making. I see what you are wrestling with. Quality tools such as histograms, discrete and continuous probability distributions (binomial, poisson, hypergometric, normal, uniform, exponential), but where does it stop? I don't think it should bug people that you don't go too much into data analysis because then you would have more of a stats book.
I might reference that there are whole professions dedicated to breaking down the headings in your brainstorming spreadsheet. Moreover if the frequency, likelihood and control numbers are too difficult to write down then professional statiticians or quality personnel can be hired for the low low price of $19.99 :D Just poking fun, but the only time we had some breakdowns using this method is when there were some bias toward frequency and likelihood between managers.... otherwise I think it reads fine, it just depends on your target audience.
 
C

ccochran

Qualityboi,

You nailed my thinking exactly. Keep the thing lean and focused, and if people want to go whole hog with sophisticated tools then they'll have to go elsewhere. (By the way, the $19.99 statistics consultants are now going for $9.99.) In the vast majority of companies I visit, they need basic problem solving...and that's really the target audience for this. A good dose of "Get off your butt and really try to address the causes of your biggest problems." They might be flying the six sigma flag out front, but they are still poor at nuts-and-bolts problem solving in the back.

I appreciate you taking a look at the chapter. If you think of anything I should add or change, please let me know. I'll get cracking on the next chapter soon: Planning & Implementing Solutions.

Craig
 
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world quality

Easy to identify with and wish more people would go to lean and understand simplicity, and Looking at PM on equipment is great. Most people would not even look at this. This is a must for tooling, machinery, etc.

Also would you look at this word doc. and i think you could reflect and creat a cause matrix with it for your chapter 4.
 

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ccochran

World Quality: I like your Root Cause Matrix. It certainly looks like it could be a good tool for spurring creativity around potential causes. Yes, maybe I could incorporate something like this into the chapter. Thanks for your suggestion, and thanks for taking a look at the material. Hope all is well in Knoxville. --Craig
 
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