Six Sigma really sucks!

Picking-up on Sue’s recent Homeblog, I’d like to talk about my recent experience at home.

Over this weekend my wife and I had “words” about the work I do helping on the home chores. There were a number of areas such as cooking, washing dishes, ironing, cleaning toilets, shopping, washing clothes, making beds, tidying-up, planning meals, and so on. I had no idea of the number of NVA factories at work and being a strong believer in Six Sigma I committed to resolve this problem.

I dedicated my Saturday evening and produced what I believe to be a very polished piece of work. I reviewed the key processes and created a core set of current-state value stream maps. For each of these I developed some slick data collections sheets to baseline current performance. I even identified some time saving quick wins. I shared my work and must say I was most surprised by the reaction and being told exactly where to stick my data collection sheets.

But I am a committed practitioner and realised I may have misunderstood the problem statement and goals. It seemed helping to do the chores was more important than improving current performance? So Sunday night I cooked the evening meal and over dinner suggested we discuss our differences. Luckily to support this I had previously produced a fishbone diagram and recommended a rapid brainstorming exercise followed by constraint busting 5-whys to get quick results…….

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Back at work on Monday morning, I am having a tough job trying to explain my black eye. I’m sleeping in the spare bedroom and the kids think I am an idiot.

Six Sigma really sucks!

Comments 8

  1. Elizabeth

    I experienced something similiar when I tried to tackling my son’s poor grades through the use of the DMAIC process. First we documented the problem: Grades Lower than Parental Requirement. Then we moved to how it’s measured: through homework scores, tests/quiz scores and of course progress/report cards. Next we look at the critical Xs, you know what contributes to the problem: No studying, No reviews, No notes, No homework, etc. In the Improve phase we laid out a plan to schedule time for these activities and planned to measure again at next report card. It all seemed so logical to me! My son, on the other had was not so thrilled.

  2. michael cardus

    I remember in my training for 6S we always laughed at "That Guy" the one who had his kids play toys 5S and developed fishbone for the oddest things.
    Then I drank the kool aid and became 6S involved.

    Sometimes all we have to say is "I understand" and listen. Instead of being proactive to be PROBLEM SOLVERS.
    6S practicioners must turn off the wheel and listen sometimes.

    I always hear from my fiancee, This is not work!
    Although she knows inside my head I am running some sort of DMAIC

  3. Ann Genova

    See Kosta’s Blog note here on Nimawashi. Mighta’ saved you some grief.

  4. Sowmyan

    To a person with a hammer in hand every problem seems to be a nail – so goes a saying.

    I think one of the pitfalls of data based problem solvers is to assume every person they are associated with will have the same level of enthusiasm for data and analysis. I suggest you read about Myers-Briggs Type indicator that classifies humans into 16 types. Then you will understand the futility of seeking to approach every thing the way you did.

    Six sigma has its utility. It needs like minded people to work as a team. In a business context people have a greater disposition to give it a try even if they are not the type naturally wired to this approach. In a domestic context…?
    Let me know if MBTI made a difference to your thought process.

  5. Robin Barnwell

    Many thanks for all your comments and lucky for me it was only an April Fool. The idea of improving my wife is impossibile as she is already perfect!


  6. Ron Smith

    Robin, your story is not off the mark. I have been a practitioner way too many years at several companies.

    Several companies’ ago, I took the best of 6S, Lean, TOC, etc. and put them together that works best for the business model. When I took it home, it went over like a smelly dead rat. That was about 7-8 years ago when the kids were still in high school.

    The kids thought that I had spent way too many ‘days on the green’ in college as a Hippie…

    But, now the youngest is a junior at UC Santa Cruz and applied some of the data analysis methods and methods (with help from her mentor – me!!) into a thesis she wrote on a 7 week field trip studying Howler monkey’s social behavior patterns in a Costa Rica rain forest.

    It took years, but the value finally came home when she told me that I was not a dumb as she thought before and this ‘stuff’ works. The older one sitting across the table, being older and wiser now, very tactfully said, “Well, we always knew that Dad, we just were resistant-to-change in those days!!” Well, I almost fell out of my chair FCOL!!

    The wife still is not onboard, since she is still perfect! Just ask her, she will tell you so. One has to realize that some processes have so many X’s, that you would need a super computer to run the numbers. Therefore, I follow my grandfather’s advice just to “be happy you are allowed to stay in the house at night, and the ‘inside’ of the house BELONGS to her.”

    Peace Baby 

  7. Toyota lean sensei

    You know as a Toyota Lean Sensei ( taught by Taiichi Ohno) in the very early 80’s
    Ohno-San has always told us students that people will learn when it is a simple thing to teach/ learn
    I threw my 6 sigma BB in the trash because it did not help at all because now as an consultant for 30 years, all of my clients in the fortune 100 had failed to implement 6 sigma, some as many as 3 times…having a MBB coach a BB???? WTH??? When I teach someone the lean fundamentals, they get it!!!!

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