Anna O'Connell


  • Hi Alan –
    While I disagree with some of what you say, I think you are right on in noting that it is impossible to inspect quality into a product.  However,  on both 6 Sigma and the Brits, you are slandering at least a few people who I know deserve better. 
    Back in the 1980’s, when  6 Sigma was being invented, Motorola was also very acti…[Read more]

  • Hi Mman –
    I don’t want people to inadvertently start new careers in Six Sigma. And I remain neutral about people deliberately wanting to become Six Sigma practioners doing so out of their own pocket.  It makes for an uncomfortable existence, being an agent of change without portfolio or authorization from your company’s top management.
     I woul…[Read more]

  • Dear Kathleen –
    You say you have “a great knowledge of how products are made”.  I commend you for recognizing the importance of understanding the manufacturing process to being a skillful designer.   
    6 Sigma knowledge sure can’t hurt, but, in 6 Sigma terms being able to do the “flowdown” and select which “little x’s” are most significant in…[Read more]

  • Thanks, Freeman for a marvelous model of a problem-solving process almost guaranteed to take longer and cost more than the problem you are solving!  This is a classic bit of irony, right?  
    May I quote you in an op/ed piece on the process my local school board is using to solicit “community concerns”.  In that instance, all the small groups of…[Read more]

  • I have an MBA degree, and I partially agree with Statman.  Almost all MBA courses give you AT BEST some tools that you can use to eventually gain “in depth knowledge of business processes”.  The MBA, like the BS degree in most technical disciplines, says you have mastered certain types of analysis.  It doesn’t say that you’ve ever successfully ana…[Read more]

  • I’m disappointed, Stan.  I rely on you for my 6 Sigma related cynical humor!
    I would have thought you could come up with something, even if you had to start with formulaic approaches like: “How many Balanced Scorecards witll it take to return our company to profitability ?” 
    Anna O’C
    P.S. The answer, of course, is “None.  Balanced Scor…[Read more]

  • Hi  Manu and Tim –
    The process of interest should be not teaching, but learning.  I would begin by developing a FMEA on the process of learning, assuming that you had each (or the teachers as a group) defined what it was that you were trying to teach the students being studied.   I would also apply to a psychometrician for assistance in doin…[Read more]

  • Sander – If you would please e-mail me a file or send a URL link where you posted your Shainin Tools Manual, I would appreciate it.  Email is [email protected]
    I’ve used BOB/WOW, Red X / Green Y, and some of the clustering tools, and am interested in learning to apply others.  
    Thanks for offering to share your work. 
    Anna O’C

  • Gee Jim –
    If you own your own business, make your first “learning” project one of reducing variation in a key process for your business.  For recruiting, maybe “handling incoming resumes” or “interviewing hiring managers to elicit key requirements” or any of several possible places where, if you do it better, faster, cheaper than the…[Read more]

  • Hi Terry-
    Here’s my $0.02 for what it’s worth to you. I’m formally trained as an engineer, I’m female, and work almost exclusively in manufacturing organizations, often automotive ones, so right now my membership dollars go to:
    Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and…[Read more]

  • Dear SSS –
    Or as they used to say where I worked before – “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” I hate it when people do that. 
    While it did get better over the almost 3 years I was there, Ford started their 6 Sigma program by making almost every mistake on your list, plus a few unique to their (dis)organization structure.  The one that had t…[Read more]

  • Stan –
    It’s shorthand for an applied combination of Lean Manufacturing (a la Toyota Production System) and Six Sigma.  In LM, you reduce waste.  In SS, you reduce variation (which is also a source of waste).  For a manufacturing orgainzation, it’s usually a good combination, IFF (if and only if) the management is smart enough not to allow tur…[Read more]

  • Thanks to Reigle, Mike and John for the kind words. 
    I think I’ve just adopted John’s suggestion substituting “guerilla” for “terrorist”.  It neatly captures one of the most important points of my  philosophy;  making use of ALL available resources (analysis, statistics, physics/chemistry, problem solving and change leadership tools!) to ac…[Read more]