Thursday, September 25, 2008

Not the First to Question Six Sigma

Thanks goes to several colleagues for their comments and in particular for pointing out that I was not the first to question the value of Six Sigma, including a person and thinker who I greatly respect, Tom Davenport. Among his many excellent and insightful publications, he wrote "Competing on Analytics", a book that should be required reading for every executive and manager in healthcare.

One of my former students asked me if she should discontinue her plans to seek Six Sigma training and I answered no. There's still value in understanding the concepts and theories underlying Six Sigma and in certain restricted corners of a business, Six Sigma could be the best tool for addressing process improvement. But I retain the opinion that there are few, if any, of those corners in healthcare and it is a methodology which, if broadly applied in any business, will squeeze agility and innovation to death.

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