Facts and Data

Lean Six Sigma can be applied to apparently intractable problems and is a strategy for an organization to manage by FACTS and DATA. It attempts to identify the core processes and root causes that drive an organization's strategic objectives, and provides a strategy for achieving those objectives.

The Rudiments of Lean Six Sigma Methodology

Lean Six Sigma is actually a merging of two separate methodologies that deal primarily with process improvement as they relate to business practices and customer satisfaction.  However, many of the tools that are used in Lean Six Sigma can be applied to solve problems of an intractable nature (ergo "wicked problems").  Lean is a business strategy based on satisfying the customer by delivering products and services that are just what the customer needs, when the customer needs them, in the amount required, at the right price, while using the minimum of materials, equipment, space, labor, and time.  Lean practices enable an organization to reduce its development cycles, produce higher-quality products and services at lower costs, and use resources more efficiently.  Six Sigma, on the other hand, is a strategy for an organization to manage by FACTS and DATA.  It attempts to identify the core processes and root causes that drive an organization's strategic business objectives.  Also, it is a strategy for achieving business objectives.  (A process is a series of steps and activities that take inputs, add value, and produce outputs for the customer.)

Regarding Six Sigma, the "Sigma" portion denotes a statistical abstraction used to show how much variation exists in a process as compared to a customer's specifications/requirements.  Any process that works within six sigma has an associated variation that renders products and services 99.9997 percent defect free.  Six Sigma can be represented in a variety of ways: "6s," "6sigma," or simply "6 Sigma."  Though touted as a statistical measure of variation, Six Sigma is mostly associated with a business philosophy that focuses on continuous process improvement (CPI).  CPI, in turn, requires knowing the customers' needs, putting in place appropriate measurement methods, and studying business processes.  The Six Sigma methodology allows an organization to see first hand whether or not it is improving key processes.

In applying Lean Six Sigma to climate change, we should focus on "data-driven" observations and ignore preconceived notions.  Our customer is the world community.  What is needed to insure their satisfaction?  Deliverables and services that will create a safe, non-threatening global environment.  How can that be achieved?  What will it cost?  How can the materials, equipment, space, labor, and time required be minimized?  Quality will no doubt be linked with "quality of life."  The "organization" in our case is the world community.  What should the world community's business objectives be and how can they be achieved?  I know ... lots of questions to be answered; but I just wanted to throw these "out there" to get everyone thinking along the Lean Six Sigma modus operandi.

 The idea of cause and effect is also a part of the process of discovering what is wrong and what to fix. The cause and effect or Ishikawa diagram comes from the idea of the forces that drive a fish forward.

The idea of cause and effect is also a part of the process of discovering what is wrong and what to fix. The cause and effect or Ishikawa diagram comes from the idea of the forces that drive a fish forward.

Actually adding information to the Ishikawa diagram is an exercise in deep thinking about the whole system you are trying to understand. The diagram helps focus the investigation. The next Ishikawa diagram is a preliminary analysis of the problem of anthropogenic global warming.