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.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038409.htm

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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