lightbulb momentAccording to the January 2009 issue of Quality Progress, an article Entitled “Building From The Basics” discusses the use of popular tools used by Quality professionals.

The multiple authors provide examples of each tool (Histogram, control chart, pareto analysis, cause and effect (fishbone) diagram, check sheets, scatter plots, and stratification.

Another article lists the tools used most often (can’t find the reference – it’s driving me crazy – but I remember the result): Pareto diagrams and Cause-and-Effect (also known as Ishikawa, or Fishbone) diagrams.

Many Quality professionals tend to favor one or two tools over time – the tried-and-true tools that have helped them out of a jam before. I know I’m that way about the cause-and-effect diagram and the House of Quality (Quality Functional Deployment – QFD).

I’ve seen the lightbulbs come on in my clients’ eyes when we’ve had a breakthrough using these tools.

This got me to thinking – are we so settled in our patterns that we forget to use the other tools that we may have at our disposal?

Do we forget to look at these seven, or even others (including fault tree analysis, a subject of QP’s February issue?)

‘Fess up, folks – do you use the same tools over and over, or do you independently select a tool every single time from scratch?