The 3 Charts Every Problem Solver MUST Know.

With the ever increasing amounts of data available, our ability to analyze and break down data becomes more and more important. Skilled problem solvers will always take a data-driven approach and transform data into information utilizing graphs and charts.
In my experience there will rarely be a need to perform a high-end statistical analysis as most data can be satisfactorily broken down using the following simple charts.

3 is The Magic Number

1. Pareto Chart – The “What”

Your process is not performing as intended and you most likely have multiple problems at the same time. As a general rule of thumb you want to focus on the largest contributor to the problem, which will be visible via a Pareto chart, and is a great chart to assist you in the problem definition. Some times though you will and should move focus to quality related issues or simply prioritize the low-hanging fruits.


2. Run Chart – The “When”

You now have your eyes on what the largest contributor to the problem is, and now it’s time to dig further. The Run chart will help you learn when the problem occurs in your process. This information will generally also be part of a good problem definition.

run chart 1_497x270

3. Flow Chart – The “Where”

The Flow chart is my preferred chart to visualize the process and learn where in the process the problem occurs. This information will give you what is known as the point of cause. A good method to do this is to draw each step of the process in your flow chart and then start backwards “Do I see the problem here?” if you can answer “yes” then move on the the next step and ask the same question. The moment you answer “no” to this question, you’ll have found your point of cause.


Final Thoughts

Being able to analyze and understand data is a must-have skill for a problem solver, but it does not have to be difficult and overcomplicated. With a few simple charts you will get most needs for data stratification covered.
Good Luck.

The 3 Charts Every Problem Solver MUST Know.

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