Current Literature - May 2003 - ASQ

Current Literature - May 2003


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Roger Hoerl, manager of the applied statistics lab at General Electric’s global research center



The Master Black Belt (MBB) role has the most diverse set of responsibilities. Black Belts (BBs) can dedicate themselves to delivering bottom-line impact on their projects, and Champions or quality leaders can focus on leading deployment. MBBs, on the other hand, must have vast technical knowledge so they can train and mentor BBs and Green Belts. They must also possess leadership skills to help integrate Six Sigma into the organization.

MBBs often network among themselves to share best practices, work to ensure needed baseline and entitlement databases are in place and work closely with Champions and functional leaders on deployment tactics. The current literature list for this role, therefore, needs to be broad, and the following list, while highlighting valuable references, should not be considered complete:

Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods, Forrest Breyfogle III, Wiley Interscience, 1999. In my opinion, this is the best general reference for Six Sigma tools. Well-written and very broad, this book includes such topics as reliability, variance components and bootstrapping.

Statistics for Experimenters, George E.P. Box, William G. Hunter and J. Stuart Hunter, John Wiley & Sons, 1978. Although Implementing Six Sigma covers designed experimentation, all MBBs should own and study this classic. It contains a great deal of wisdom and practical insight into the application of statistics in general, not just designed experimentation.

Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development, Clyde Creveling, Jeffrey Slutsky and David Antis, Prentice Hall, 2002. This book on design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is the most complete DFSS text commercially available. There are a few other books about DFSS, but none has the same degree of useful technical detail. MBBs need to be competent in DFSS, and this text can help them understand it more deeply.

MBBs working in fields other than manufacturing should replace Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development with Design and Management of Service Processes by Rohit Ramaswamy, Addison Wesley, 1996. This latter reference is not a Six Sigma text per se, but is certainly consistent with a DFSS approach.

Productive Workplaces, Marvin Weisbord, Jossey-Bass, 1987. This book has been out for more than 15 years, but it is still the best reference available in the field of organizational effectiveness. It explains how to lead change within a large organization, which of course is a critical aspect of Six Sigma.

In many ways, the cultural challenge of Six Sigma is greater than its technical challenge, and this book can definitely help differentiate the two. It traces the beginnings of the organizational effectiveness movement back to Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management, and explains the key learnings from applied research in this field since that time.

Gregory H. Watson, managing partner at Business Systems Solutions Inc.



When asked to list literature that may be useful to an MBB, I began to think about the development plans I create when mentoring MBBs. Though I grouped my recommendations into four categories, many of my recommendations support the development of MBBs as internal statistical experts using advanced statistical tools.


General Program of Study For All MBB Candidates

When BBs become certified, it does not signify the end of their studies; they must make a commitment to continuous learning. To those BBs who aspire to become MBBs, I recommend the following sources:

Rice University Virtual Statistics Laboratory,

Statistical Thinking: Improving Business Performance, Roger W. Hoerl and Ronald D. Snee, Dux-bury Press, 2001.

100 Statistical Tests, Gopal K. Kanji, Sage Publications, 1999.

Statistical Quality Control, seventh edition, Eugene L. Grant and Richard S. Leavenworth, McGraw-Hill, 1996.

The Analysis of Time Series: An Introduction, fifth edition, Chris Chatfield, Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1996.

The Power of Statistical Thinking, Mary G. Leitnaker, Richard D. Sanders and Cheryl Hild, Prentice-Hall, 1995.


Process Analysis Specialty

A MBB process analysis specialist must master a variety of tools and methods that assist in advanced analysis of process related problems. This type of specialist must know how to use tools such as process capability studies for nonnormal data; time series analysis for moving averages using tools including auto-regressive, integrated moving averages and analysis of effects due to seasonality; advanced analysis of differences using the generalized linear model; and adjusting processes in real time using evolutionary operations and the cumulative sum method to support the more traditional ap-proaches to statistical process control. The following books will provide core knowledge about these methods:

Measuring Process Capability, Davis R. Bothe, McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Time Series Analysis: Forecasting & Control, third edition, George E.P. Box and Gwilym M. Jenkins, Prentice-Hall, 1994.

Applying Generalized Linear Models, James K. Lindsey, Springer-Verlag, 1997.

Evolutionary Operation, George E. P. Box and Norman R. Draper, John Wiley & Sons, 1969.


Design of Experiments (DOE) Specialty

A MBB DOE specialist will learn the variants of experimental design from the most simple use of hypothesis testing to the most complex analyses of response surfaces. This specialist will serve as an internal expert consultant for experimental design and the application of DOE in more complex problems. In addition to the standard texts on DOE, I highly recommend these two texts:

Quality Improvement Through Planned Experimentation, Ronald D. Moen, Thomas W. Nolan and Lloyd P. Provost, McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Statistics for Experimenters: An Introduction to Design, Data Analysis and Model Building, George E. P. Box, William G. Hunter and J. Stuart Hunter, John Wiley & Sons, 1978.


DFSS Specialty

A MBB specialist in DFSS must develop expertise in the methods appropriate for the type of product (goods or service) development process for the organization. Four fundamental methods must be mastered in a hardware development organization: design for reliability, Taguchi methods for robust design of critical parameters and tolerancing, Pugh’s concept selection matrix and quality function deployment. The following texts best explain these topics:

Practical Reliability Engineering, third edition, Patrick O’Connor, John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

Taguchi Methods, Glen Stuart Peace, Addison-Wesley, 1993.

Quality Function Deployment: Integrating Customer Requirements Into Product Design, Yoji Akao, Produc-tivity Press, 1990.

Creating Innovative Products Using Total Design, Stuart Pugh, Addison-Wesley, 1996.


Commercial Specialty

MBBs who develop a commercial specialty will become experts in applying the principles of lean management and Six Sigma to the organization’s core business processes and will become the leaders of major reengineering efforts. One project these specialists will tackle early on is building the enterprise map and measurement system so it provides a y = f(x) linkage from the organization’s key results indicators and the work process measures the operators can control on the front line to deliver the desired results.

These books will prove helpful:

Lean Thinking, James P. Womach and Daniel T. Jones, Simon & Schuster, 1996.

An Analytic Approach to Marketing Decisions, Robert F. Dyer and Ernest H. Forman, Prentice-Hall, 1991.

Applied Logistic Regression, second edition, David W. Hosmer and Stanley Lemesho, John Wiley & Sons, 2000.

Sam Windsor, Delta Sigma Solutions




It is important for all MBBs to be comfortable with a few good reference materials. Although the tendency is to collect as many references as possible, I believe it is valuable to become familiar with a small number of good ones. MBBs should be at a point where a reference on the actual process of solving problems is not required as often as is a reference to clarify a particular technical or statistical matter.

Here’s the list of materials I recommend:

CSSBB Primer, Quality Council of Indiana, 2001. This primer provides examples of many of the calculations BBs encounter, so it is invaluable to MBBs who assist BBs with their projects.

Design and Analysis of Experiments, fifth edition, Douglas C. Montgomery, Wiley, June 2000. This book—an excellent reference for analysis of variance, DOE and regression analysis—includes examples of several types of designs.

Basic Statistics, Mark Kiemele, Stephen Schmidt and Ronald Berdine, Air Academy Press, 2000. This book contains a lot of information on statistics, tables and probability theory.

Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, Eugene Avallone and Theodore Baumeister III, McGraw-Hill, 1996.

Here are further recommendations from Ronald D. Snee, leader, manager and technical expert at Tunnell Consulting




Applied Regression Analysis, third edition, Norman Draper and Harry Smith, John Wiley and Sons, 1998.

Introduction to Linear Regression Analysis, third edition, D.C. Montgomery, E.A. Peck and G.G. Vining, John Wiley & Sons, 2001.

Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments, second edition, R.L. Mason, R.F. Gunst and J.L. Hess, John Wiley and Sons, 2003.



Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Harper-Row, 1985.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, S.R. Covey, Simon and Schuster, 1990.

Churchill on Leadership, Steven F. Hayward, Prima Publishing, 1998.

Leading Change, John Kotter, Harvard Business School Press, 1996.

The Leadership Challenge, J.M. Kouzes and B.Z. Posner, Jossey-Bass, 1995.

Lincoln on Leadership, D.T. Phil-lips, Warner Books, 1993.


Leadership Skills

Facilitation at a Glance, Ingrid Bens, Participative Dynamics, 1999.

The Memory Jogger Plus, Michael Brassard, Goal/QPC, 1989.

Novations: Strategies for Career Management, G.W. Dalton and P.H. Thompson, Novations Group, 1993.

Making Meetings Work, Michael Doyle and David Straus, Jove Books, 1982.

Project Management Memory Jogger, Paula Martin, Francine Oddo and Karen Tate, GOAL/QPC, 1997.

The Wisdom of Teams, J.R. Katzenbach and D.K. Smith, Harper Collins, 1993.

The Team Handbook, P.R. Scholtes, B.L. Joiner and B.J. Streibel, Oriel, 1996.



The Human Side of Statistical Consulting, J.R. Boen and D.A. Zahn, Lifetime Learning Publications, 1982.

Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, second edition, Peter Block, Jossey-Bass, 2000.



Evaluating Training Programs, second edition, D.L. Kirkpartick, Berrett-Koehler, 1998.

Training for Impact: How To Link Training to Business Needs and Measure the Results, D.G. Robinson and J.C. Robinson, Jossey-Bass, 1989.

Six Sigma Bestsellers*

  1. Rath & Strong’s Six Sigma Pocket Guide, Rath & Strong, 2000.
  2. The New Six Sigma: A Leader’s Guide, Matt Barney and Tom McCarty, Prentice Hall, 2002.
  3. Strategic Six Sigma: Best Practices From the Executive Suite, Dick Smith and Jerry Blakeslee, John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
  4. Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods, second edition, Dick Smith and Jerry Blakeslee, John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
  5. Rath & Strong’s Six Sigma Leadership Handbook, Rath & Strong, 2003.
  6. Six Sigma for the Office, Roderick A. Munro, ASQ Quality Press, 2003.
  7. Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma Quality With Lean Speed, Michael L. George, McGraw-Hill, 2002.
  8. The Six Sigma Book for Healthcare, Robert Barry, Amy Murcko and Clifford Brubaker, Health Administration Press, 2002.
  9. Six Sigma for Managers, Greg Brue, McGraw-Hill, 2002.
  10. Six Sigma Project Management: A Pocket Guide, Jeffrey N. Lowenthal, ASQ Quality Press, 2002.

*Compiled using data from, ASQ Quality Press and

Editor's Note

The “Current Literature” department features information about relevant Six Sigma publications and articles that readers will find useful. Please send your recommendations to the editor at

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