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Understanding the Problem

One of the first tasks for the QI Team is to understand the extent

of the problem. Collecting baseline data will help the team

understand how well their system works, identify potential areas

for improvement and set measurable aims. A number of tools are

available to help the team with this task:

Process Mapping - This is a simple

approach to improvement by making a process

visible. It entails the identification of a series

of individual tasks or steps and making the

connections and feedback loops obvious.

Fishbone (Ishikawa) Diagrams - Also

known as the Cause and Effect diagram is a

visualisation tool for categorising the potential

causes of a problem in order to identify its root

causes.

Pareto Chart - This contains both bars

and a line graph where individual values are

represented in descending order by bars and

the cumulative total is represented by the line.

In this way the chart visually depicts which

situations are more significant. Understanding

this chart requires the team to apply the 80/20

rule (Pareto Principle). The point is to realise

that you can often focus your effort on the 20%

that will make a difference instead of the 80%

that doesn't add much.

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Related Issues