Do You Need to be a Statistical Expert to Use Design of Experiments (DOE)?

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Michael: To somebody who is uninitiated to design of experiments, it seems like you need to be a mathematical genius or maybe a statistics expert to do DOE. Is that the case, Mark?

Mark: Absolutely not. That is another myth out there. I think people get confused over the fact that design of experiments is kind of a fancy statistically related term that blows people away. And we live in 2013 now, Mike. You do not have to be a mathematical wizard. The software does the crunching for us. What does have the happen — the hardest part of DOE is this, Mike. It is the factors and the levels. And the folks that are in the discipline, whether it is HR, finance, or IT — you gave good IT examples from your own business — it is the folks that are experienced in those areas that can determine what factors they should test. Like in the HR Department. I would have never come up with the layoff climate or the upward lateral mobility factor within an organization. I would not have come up with that, but they did. So, did they need me to help them with that? No. The hardest part of DOE is coming up with the factors and the levels. Once you know that, it is a piece of cake to setup the design. Now, randomization and replication — we have to talk about that too, but the orthogonality of the design — those designs are out there, Mike. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. We can be a good driver of an automobile without having to invent the engine, so to speak. So, we live in a society now, and we fully believe that the KISS approach — KISS means keep it simple statistically — is the approach you got to take with DOE, because we have got high school folks doing DOEs at some of our clients. I mean they do not have college degrees. These are high school graduates. They probably had a fairly good algebra background in high school, but they picked this stuff up like it is great. And we are not going to discriminate amongst the mathematical background of people because you can be a good tester — a good experimenter — using DOE without having a heavy-duty mathematical or statistical background.

Michael: Yeah.

Mark: Now, I am not saying that good education is not needed. When you combine — there is that combination effect. You combine process knowledge with education and the tools, like you have in your garage, you will become a much better practitioner and you will make better decisions. And that is what this is all about.

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