Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book notes: Understanding Variation

Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos (2nd Edition)Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos by Donald J. Wheeler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never thought a book on statistics would be exciting, but this one was! It helps that it’s full of stories, stories of the misuse of statistics in management, highlighting the “numerical naiveté” surrounding us (vi). Businesses are managed today off the typical monthly management report; Wheeler shows the irrelevance of such reports for making sound managerial decisions. Graphing the data in control charts present much more meaningful information, and allow one to distinguish between the variation inherent within the process and data that legitimately signal that the process has changed.

The author’s principles are simple and his examples from real life are convincing. He shares more than one horror story of managers being rewarded for the changes they implemented when sound data analysis later revealed that their “improvements” were nothing of the sort.

View all my reviews

No comments: