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Six Sigma For Dummies Paperback – Oct 16 2012

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (Oct. 16 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118120353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118120354
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Learn to:

  • Grasp what Six Sigma is and how it works
  • Achieve quantum leaps in performance and impact the bottom line
  • Utilize the DMAIC problem-solving method

Use Six Sigma to improve business performance — and reap big profits

Millions of people work in companies that use Six Sigma to achieve quantum leaps in performance — in everything from products and processes to systems and even environments. But for beginners, Six Sigma can seem confusing and mysterious. Relax! Six Sigma For Dummies explains it all, whether you need help implementing the methodology or just understanding it.

  • Meet the big Six — get an overview of the Six Sigma methodology, the key principles underlying its applications, and the roles and phases involved in its implementation
  • Size it up — dig into the details of the Six Sigma DMAIC problem-solving road map to discover how to properly scope and launch a project
  • Get to the root — find out how to use the Six Sigma DMAIC analyzing road map to objectively eliminate trivial and unimportant factors
  • Don't lose your cool — get a handle on the improving and controlling aspects of the DMAIC problem-solving road map to synthesize improvement and lock in your gains
  • Grab some tools — get a listing of the technology tools and information systems that Six Sigma practitioners use

Open the book and find:

  • What Six Sigma is and how it works
  • The founding principles and language of Six Sigma
  • How to analyze data through charts and graphs
  • The roles and responsibilities of Belts and Champions
  • Ways to forecast future performance
  • How to design, conduct, and analyze experiments
  • The top do's and don'ts of Six Sigma

About the Author

Craig Gygi is Executive VP of Operations at MasterControl, a leading company providing software and services for best practices in automating and connecting every stage of quality/regulatory compliance, through the entire product life cycle. He is an operations executive and internationally recognized Lean Six Sigma thought leader and practitioner. Bruce Williams is Vice President of Pegasystems, the world leader in business process management. He is a leading speaker and presenter on business and technology trends, and is co-author of Six Sigma Workbook for Dummies, Process Intelligence for Dummies, BPM Basics for Dummies and The Intelligent Guide to Enterprise BPM. Neil DeCarlo was President of DeCarlo Communications.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Six Sigma for Dummies provides a good practical overview of Six Sigma; however, it isn't sufficient as the only reference for a Green Belt Exam.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to understand, well written, exemplifying very well what one needs to do and how to perform in a six sigma environment.
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Great - item as described!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa409881c) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40c5870) out of 5 stars Very good book, but a few key gaps Feb. 17 2013
By Todd Justman - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
For full disclosure, I spent a few years as a practicing six sigma black belt for a top six sigma corporation, so my review is certainly biased. I'm comparing this small inexpensive book to six weeks of training, several years of practicing, and a stack of training materials measuring 30 inches deep.

This book compares very, very well to that training in most regards. I docked it a star because there are a few gaps that I think are huge misses, but I could easily see this book with 5 stars.

Key things I liked about the book:
+ Many, many six sigma tools are explained very well, especially my favorites: the Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) and control charts. I didn't find anything wrong about the explanations, and in fact, identified the key points I would highlight to a student (e.g. caution about how Detection scoring flips on you for the FMEA).
+ There's a nice introduction into Lean, which is truly a close cousin to six sigma. No six sigma instruction should be without it. (My employer treated it as part of six sigma.)
+ When I saw the quote "in God we trust, all others bring data" I knew these guys were experienced practitioners.
+ Explanation not only of the statistical equations, but more importantly, the statistical tools you need to consider getting. Because NO ONE is hand-calculating this stuff people! You need the tools to play around with the data, see how it works, identify errors, etc.

What didn't I like?
- No discussion of Design for Six Sigma, DESPITE a brief mention of it! Again, my previous employer saw DFSS as part of six sigma, and learning it (like Lean) is required for a black belt. They should have included a short intro to it like they did for Lean.
- This book desperately needs a chapter on why projects fail. This is extremely critical. Most people think six sigma is all about the math. It IS NOT. The math is truly the easiest part. The hard part is completing the project. Time and again I saw projects fail for a handful of reasons. The authors touch on many of the causes, but without calling them out specifically, they are dooming novice practitioners to fail. Most people think it's about doing the right stats but a lot of it is finding the right champion and getting him/her to support your work through to the end.
- The authors need to call out that tools like Minitab and JMP are not something that anyone could pick up and start using. They require real training. If you want to use these tools, budget for classes. You need them. Also, SigmaXL (a plug-in for Excel that does six sigma calculations) is a buggy piece of dog doo. I have it installed now because my current employer is too cheap to buy us all JMP or Minitab. SigmaXL, well, you get what you pay for. It can do the math, but the journey will be a rough one where you will remember curse words you haven't heard in years.

I hope those who pick this book up are excited about what six sigma can do for their company. But it really isn't the key to success. It's a methodology, and many will work. There are no silver bullets or free lunches. Before picking up this book, consider if your company is ready to examine how it does business with no sacred cows. Make sure you have a strong champion at the very top who will provide air cover when you start asking very uncomfortable questions. Make sure the team buys in to the methodology and will continue to run with it after you hand the work over to the process owners. Most projects fail, and there's nothing special about six sigma that excuses it from that grim fate.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40c5c9c) out of 5 stars New to Six Sigma Dec 7 2012
By R. Rodriguez - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for an intro to six sigma.The book doesn't have to be written from start to finish and is designed for the reader to jump from different chapters. Like most of the "for Dummies" books it is entertaining to read. Of course it helps if you are motivated to learn about the subject the book focuses on.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40c5e40) out of 5 stars Good foundation May 16 2013
By Michael Meredith - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This won't help you pass the Six Sigma tests... but it will give you a leg up on all the nomenclature and buzzwords, enough so that you can approach Six Sigma with confidence instead of trepidation. I recommend it to anyone that might be considering getting their "belts".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40c5e4c) out of 5 stars Failure is not an option. Great overview of the Six Sigma Framework Feb. 1 2013
By Diana De Avila - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Having been a GE Employee and having studied to become a Six Sigma Blackbelt, I know the DMAIC model quite well. Six Sigma was a staple of our work life and drove every project we undertook. The tools were fantastic for getting past becoming emotionally involved in a project and allowing measurable variables to speak for themselves. Six Sigma is more than just a quality initiative ... it's a way of operating that demands rigor and discipline.

This book on Six Sigma gives a thorough introduction to the hierarchy of Six Sigma (the levels of depth involved in a project which is portrayed in a martial arts belt color paradigm - from Yellow Belt to Black Belt and beyond) as well as it's deployment.

While this book is labeled as a "For Dummies" book, you will definitely want to have a background with at least some basic statistical analysis knowledge. This book can assist the Six Sigma practitioner in learning to read data and charts but it cannot lay the groundwork that needs to be available to grasp and deploy a Six Sigma project and model effectively.

This book takes a tough topic and brings it a little closer to earth (not completely down to earth) because no matter how you slice it, there is a learning curve. There may be simpler books on the topic but I can assure you they will not have the depth. That being said, there is a book on the topic that I really prefer The Six Sigma Handbook, Third Edition. But for a good starter book that gets to the nitty gritty stuff, this one is it.

Six Sigma is a great model that can be deployed not only for manufacturing processes, but also to assist any process gone awry that needs a good evaluation, measurement and improvement. The book even utilizes a pizza delivery model as an example. But really, the utilization of Six Sigma methodology can go as far as your imagination.

I love the 6 Sigma paradigm and this book provides a good overview.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40c5d5c) out of 5 stars What sense in a fad? March 10 2013
By Aceto - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
If I were rating this book on how helpful it is for helping candidates earn belts I would unhesitatingly give it FIVE STARS. But since I am more concerned with its value in the working world I take off one star because of wasted paper on side issues and fluff, even though the book does try to rail against such malarkey. The book itself says it best on page three of the introduction:


Your business is implementing Six Sigma, and you need to get up to speed.

So if you are, like 95% of people, in that leaky boat, this is the five star way to stay afloat. If you are seriously interested in statistical process control, it is a four star guide to learning the basics of this method, which started in America and ignored until the Japanese shoved it back down our throats in automotive, electronics and heavy industry. We have since turned a valid discipline into a fad again, which is just now declining. To get it out of the way, six is the number of zeroes in the decimal representation of 3.5 defects out of each million instances that can be tolerated. There are many lurid examples of why five zeroes are too few (FYI that means 233 failures out of every million tries, instead of merely 3.4).

If you are in manufacturing, statistical process control is absolutely necessary to be competitive in quality. Therefore, most companies in the foolish assumptions bin are not in manufacturing. One can only imagine what the world would be like today if the mortgage business had actually followed this book. All of them, without exception, were claiming to adhere to Six Sigma while burning down the world economy. Enough ranting.

Dummies, like so many of this series by the top notch scientific and technical publisher, Wiley, is adept at explaining, illustrating and organizing the material. The authors do a wonderful job of adding important information about processes and about customer focus to the statistical framework. Their discussion of the total cost of poor quality shows well the value of Six Sigma as a problem solving methodology beyond core statistical process control. The war to win is in the winter of "the hidden factory" of wasted margins. The order of battle should be driven as objectively as possible, which means picking out the most important one, two and three factors out of the soup. For most of us outside of factories, the lifecycle of Six Sigma is what counts. If nothing else, learn here how to draw process maps so that all of your associates may sit down around a table and follow them. Only then will you be in a realistic position to work on the causes of failures, the hard effects of those failures, and the way to measure your solutions to them over time.

The hard truth is that Six Sigma applies to itself, if only in an allegorical fashion. Perhaps 3.4 out of every million people actually become masters of Part IV, Improving andControlling in a truly precise and accurate way. Mostly Risk Management does not manage risk. I am spinning into Zen again, so I better stop and finish by saying that I have never yet met anybody who could not benefit from reading this book.