As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer in your toolbox, everything looks like a nail. But if you had a torque wrench or a power drill with a box of bits, you are likely to be much more effective.
Design of experiments (DOE) is one of those specialized and sophisticated tools you should have in your toolbox. It is a technique to optimize any process or product better, faster and cheaper than other optimization methods, including A/B testing (also known as OFAT or one-factor-at-a-time) and “expert” guessing.
This interview starts at a high level, discussing what DOE is and how it is used, then dives into several examples (e.g., government, technology, human resources), and ends with a hands-on demonstration using software to analyze and find the critical factors in examples in healthcare (blood analysis) and a functional area (sales force).
- What is DOE? (3:01)
- Why is DOE so important? (6:29)
- What makes DOE different from other testing techniques like one factor at a time, educated guesses or A/B testing? (11:26)
- Is DOE only applicable to complex and expensive systems, such as manufacturing environments or product design, or is it valuable for somebody like me who can change a webpage myself and the cost is basically zero to make all those changes? (16:33)
- Can you give me an example from a functional area at a Fortune 100 company, such as human resources or marketing, where design of experiments can be applied? (25:21)
- Case study 1: Aligning a sales force after two companies merge (33:18)
- Case study 2: Blood analysis (55:00)
Resources Mentioned in This Interview
- How Fleet Bank Fought Employee Flight, Harvard Business Review.
- DOE Pro software
About Mark Kiemele
Dr. Mark Kiemele is president and co-founder of Air Academy Associates. Dr. Kiemele has more than thirty years of teaching and consulting experience, and has trained, consulted, and mentored more than twenty-five thousand people from more than twenty countries, including companies such as Sony, Microsoft, GE, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Samsung.
Dr. Kiemele has also co-authored or edited five books, including Design for Six Sigma: The Tool Guide for Practitioners and Reversing the Culture of Waste: 50 Best Practices for Achieving Process Excellence (see interview).