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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, but a few key gaps
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...
Published 23 months ago by Todd Justman

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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
The book was not that simple
Published 17 days ago by Tonia Torregrossa


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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, but a few key gaps, February 17, 2013
This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New to Six Sigma, December 7, 2012
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good foundation, May 16, 2013
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Michael Meredith "e-Mike" (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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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".
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What sense in a fad?, March 10, 2013
This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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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:

FOOLISH ASSUMPTIONS:

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Job, Well Written., August 11, 2014
This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
Really useful book. Easy to read and learn the lessons contained. The authors know the subject and communicate it well. My one wish is that there could be a contact website to go to for FAQ (frequently asked questions) not specifically covered in the book, or to post new questions you might have for reply as I have a few. Over all though, very good and very helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew nothing going into it, March 21, 2013
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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Having heard of Six Sigma for years, I decided to finally get around to learning about it. Six Sigma for Dummies did a great job of helping me figure out not only the Six Sigma methodology, but also the difference between Six Sigma, Lean, and Lean Six Sigma. My favorite feature is the way the title is set up in "featured versus optional" chapters, which can give you a rudimentary understanding of Six Sigma or a more comprehensive dive. Definitely a great title to start learning Six Sigma.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Failure is not an option. Great overview of the Six Sigma Framework, February 1, 2013
This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, concise and practical primer on Six Sigma philosophy, March 23, 2014
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
I have included review of Six Sigma in tertiary studies, but have found the holistic coverage provided by this book to provide a clear , unambiguous explanation of the theory and practice of Six Sigma.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have a backup way to learn Six Sigma ..., January 20, 2015
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Writer Mom (Mountain Brook, Alabama) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
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I have suffered through Six Sigma training in more than one company, listening to corporate babble from people who seemed to have no grasp of what they were saying and even less of an idea how to effectively teach the concepts. This book makes a lot more sense than your standard corporate trainer. Good to have a backup way to learn Six Sigma concepts when the dull speaker puts me to sleep.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of six sigma, June 29, 2014
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This review is from: Six Sigma For Dummies (Paperback)
Good overview of six sigma. I was going to buy this book and bought it from amazon because of the great price.
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Six Sigma For Dummies
Six Sigma For Dummies by Bruce Williams (Paperback - October 16, 2012)
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