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The X-Files: Understanding Data

published on January 13, 2014

One of the key things learnt from 6Sigma is the ability to accurately measure and analyze the information your organization collects. This can be as technical or as general as your organization needs, the key is to understand the level of specificity your organization needs and analyze from there. A Black belt will be able to give you in depth analysis, but a good one will give you exactly what your organization needs. We’ll start the discussion with Multi- Vari Analysis.

What is Multi-Vari Analysis?

Simply put this puts a face to the data. Once you have collected all of your information Multi-Vari studies take the data and illustrate the patterns of variation within the data. It helps you identify group or correlations between subgroups and over time.  When you can identify the groups, you can make assumption or draw conclusions based on the data. For example if your data shows the your staff made more errors on product X you can draw the conclusion that your improvement efforts need to be focused on that particular product.

What is it used to assess?

Multi-Vari studies are useful in many ways but the most standard uses are

  • to illustrate data in graphics.
  • to show how work is influence by defined variables.
  • to show the impact of specific material, departments or methods.
  • the effects of external factors such as noise, delivery delays etc.

When you need to show stakeholders, influencers or project staff what you have found multi- vari studies are a great way to produce a visual. Since most people learn by doing, a visual representation allows them to see what they have done and to show leadership the gains or losses accordingly.



published on January 13, 2014


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