I’ve had a lot of jobs and done a lot of training over the years. The biggest “aha” moment of my professional career, hands down, was related to statistical process control (SPC) charts. In 2009 I had the privilege of learning about quality improvement measurement from Sandy Murray, who is a faculty member of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. This experience fundamentally changed the way I see numbers, reports, statistics, and measurement — in every aspect of my life.
The value of SPC is hard to describe. But Mark Graban’s latest blog post “Can SPC Show if American Airlines Pilots are Staging a “Sick Out”? does a great job of showing how SPC charts can help us find the truth in the numbers we care about.
SPC charts are not the answer for everything. Using them takes time, data, and expertise in interpretation and investigation. But, if you have the right measures and the right data, they can provide great opportunities for learning and insight.