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Subject:Re: Technical Writer Certification From:Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> To:Brian Bertrand <bertran -dot- de -dot- st -dot- jean -at- gmail -dot- com> Date:Mon, 12 Apr 2010 14:19:32 -0400
Brian Bertrand wrote:
> I will look into this Six Sigma thing, what is it exactly?
It is a broken statistical approach to quality engineering. A lot of the
necessary mathematical knowledge is left out, leaving you to rely upon
computer results. Data are assumed to be normally distributed.
You learn how to put data into a computer program. The result is that
the business now has mathematical novices producing graphs or averages
that are taken as the Word of God and that drive decision making.
Concepts that may be overlooked include:
- bimodal distributions
- the distinction between discrete and continuous variables
- exponential versus linear
A company that has implemented Six Sigma is assumed to have lowered its
costs, and to be able to sell its product at a lower price, whether or
not that is true.
Good quality engineering involves plotting data on a graph and
interpreting it. I could show you an example of an otherwise normal
graph, in which there is a reasonable mean and standard deviation, but
which reveals (to a smart statistician) a serious problem in management
of quality standards which should perhaps result in the firing of a
manager, or at least require revisitation of manufacturing
specifications and methods.
You will also likely not learn how to detect faked data. There is a
psychological issue that causes people who are faking data to leave
tell-tale evidence of their fakery in the numbers they make up. I'll bet
Six Sigma teaches nothing about it.
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