Just Do It

“Talk doesn’t cook rice.”
-Chinese Proverb 

Just Do It

While planning, checking, and acting/adjusting are of course crucial elements of the PDCA cycle I sometimes feel as though the “do” element is under-utilized. In a similar way the improve phase of six sigma’s DMAIC process also seems to get lost in the weeds from time to time.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. We must follow each step in both PDCA and DMAIC in order to get the best results. But, I personally believe if people acted and improved with a little more vigor than they do today the world would be a better place.

I once knew an individual who liked to plan and plan and plan. I mean this person was a planning machine. They had plans for plans. While this was refreshing in some aspects I felt it hindered their ability to actually get something done.

In the six sigma world, especially, I too frequently see people frozen with “analysis paralysis.” At times these soon to be green or black belts become so entranced by all the amazing and almost mysterious tools they lose focus on the only thing that really matters – solving a problem.

I am reminded of the words James Womack used towards of the end of the preface in his book “Lean Thinking.” Dr. Womack simply closed the last paragraph with three powerful words of advice – just do it!

I couldn’t agree more.

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3 Comments

  1. Steve Kirby

    February 3, 2008 - 10:05 pm

    Nice post. I have also seen some of my Six-Sigma friends get too wrapped up in their SIPOC’s.

    But I will grant yuo that I (more Lean focused) could learn a thing or two from them on the data analysis side of the equation.

  2. Mark Graban

    February 3, 2008 - 10:24 pm

    As H. Ross Perot said (in reference to General Motors), when you see a snake, you don’t form a committee on snakes!

    I was working with a client last week, first week of an engagement. Normally, we would be doing more training and planning… but in an initial walkthrough, the team discovered something that needed fixing NOW… so off we went.