September 26th, 2006

airplane

six sigma

I'm spending the week away at six sigma training. oh sure, I'm only a building away, but I don't sit at my desk or answer my phone or work on my reports, I'm just getting trained. And to tell the truth, it's fabulous. Six sigma is a sort of quality control program... you know the cute problem solving process you learned in the forth grade, where you identify the problem, brainstorm solutions, look at costs vs. benefits, all that? Well, six sigma is like that on all the best drugs.

So the program goes like this: you get 80 hours of training, then you do a couple projects to help your department Be Better, then you're certified and you can say that you've been six sigma-tized. Different people see it in different ways... like most people in the program, I didn't exactly sign myself up for this, I got put on "the list". Engineers never like being signed up for anything, but there's pressure for every department to have certified six sigma types (actually they're called green belts, but my God that's corny) so when you get put on the list everybody laughs at you. But it's turned out to not be so bad after all, for the following reasons:

1) I've gotten away from my job all week, to discuss ideas and learn new things and (here's the key) eat free snacks. and drink free coffee. Sure I love my job but we all need a vacation sometime, and with the certification hurricane lately, no one has gotten vacations.

2) I like forms, databases, and spreadsheets, and six sigma uses like nine billion forms, databases, and spreadsheets. I appreciate structure, I really do, you all know how much I yammer on here about digitizing what's analog.

3) Since I work at a Very Big Company, I see totally stupid processes every day that need fixing. If I'm trained in this, someone might let me fix something.

4) I still have internet access during training, so if I get bored, I e-mail my friends.

5) We get an hour for lunch. Usually I just get 30 minutes.

So that's how I'm spending my week, it's pretty okay! The only thing left to do is decide how I'm going to act about it to everybody after I get out... I know there's going to be some "how was SIX SIGMA?" questions from the engineers, I'll need to act really miserable to stay one of them.
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