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Learning from each other

There are many reasons to be grateful for the multitude of articles, presentations, and other resources that are available to us as we navigate the world of Lean and Six Sigma.

We can read magazines and books, attend conferences, participate in seminars and webinars, and search the Internet for information about concepts and techniques. We have the ability to easily access everything from introductory materials that describe these approaches to academic research that demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages associated with their use.

However, the unique benefits that case studies offer stand out from the rest. These real-life stories not only reinforce the theories and applications we want to understand and practice, but they also share the trials, tribulations, and successes we experience as we learn.

The definition of a case study is: “A detailed intensive study of a unit, such as a corporation or corporate division, emphasizing the factors that contribute to its success or failure,” or “An exemplary or cautionary model; an instructive example.

Case studies typically involve in-depth stories and analyzes of a single project, a patient case, or something similar. They often set the stage for confirmatory research that we hope will lead to more generalized findings.

Another way of thinking

Although case studies do not require the rigorous protocols used with other research methods, such as surveys and designed experiments, they generate insights that stimulate or even change our thinking.

It is not anecdotal evidence, it is based strictly on the observations and testimonies of witnesses. Published case studies require supporting data and complete documentation that meets peer review standards, including the application of reliable evaluation techniques.

On the other hand, it is fair to mention that case studies do not lead to infallible conclusions. A single case proves nothing; it simply suggests something that may be worth exploring further.

Only designed experiments that compare control subjects with subjects who have received specific treatments and generate statistical significance increase our understanding of the underlying cause-and-effect relationships and do not even constitute absolute proof.

However, they strengthen our hypothesis and, in many circumstances, that is enough to give us peace of mind to act as if we had proof. We need to perform these experiments in our own environments to really understand how these ideas can be adapted for our use, but the case study provides guidelines on how to perform these experiments.

Part of the group

So if case studies have limited applicability, why do we learn so much from them? I think the answer to that question involves the comfort we feel when we are part of a group.

Few of us feel comfortable being pioneers, breaking away from our peer group and moving forward independently. Social psychologists have studied our need for conformity for many years, and those studies indicate that, as a group, humans' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are greatly influenced by other people.

When we launch a new project, although we may be expanding on previous work, we are also breaking new ground. Even if we have worked on other projects related to the same area, we often need to use new tools and approaches to measure and analyze the process. For inexperienced yellow belts, green belts, and black belts, this feeling of "newness" can be quite uncomfortable and undermine our natural self-confidence.

Mentoring and coaching from trusted associates, instructors, and other knowledgeable resources can encourage us and keep us on track. Case studies serve a similar purpose. They build connections for us, reminding us that we are not obligated to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” That's for the crew of the Starship Enterprise; The rest of us can take the well-trodden path.

The case studies provide evidence that others have successfully used the same lean and Six Sigma methods to solve problems, applied the same tools to understand processes, conducted similarly designed experiments to evaluate potential causes, and encountered the same functional behaviors. and dysfunctional team.

They describe the challenges we may encounter and demonstrate ways we can address them. They make it clear that we are not alone and encourage learning by providing relevant examples of what works and what doesn't.


Certifícate en Lean & Six Sigma


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