I found “A Better Picture” (January 2020, pp.40-49) interesting, but I’m not sure whether it brings practitioners more benefit or harm. No single index can answer whether the process is stable—only a control chart can. The reason: All single metrics are based on some statistical assumptions that, in most cases, can’t be checked up on in practice. Only a simple Shewhart control chart doesn’t require these statistical assumptions. The authors know this so they suggest using a stability index (SI) “in conjunction with control charts.” But if I’ve already constructed a control chart, I’m not interested in a SI. I simply see whether my process is stable.

Vladimir Shper, Moscow


In response to “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” (December 2019, pp. 52-59): A good, down-to-earth article dealing with statistics. It shows how graphics can not only convey nonconformities to others, but they also can help uncover unforeseen anomalies, such as leptokurtic or bimodal histograms.

Elizabeth Rietow, San Diego, CA


“Career Coach: Communication Breakdown” (December 2019, pp. 10-11) is an excellent article. The content is incredibly applicable to the real world.

Chris Cunnington, Boulder, CO


“Back to Basics: A Quality Investment” (November 2019, p. 56) is well written, concise and to the point.

Daniel Steyn, Dubai

The Reaction Gauge

This month’s question

For a while, open, flexible offices were all the rage. They promised to increase collaboration and communication, and make people more accessible. But many employees found it hard to concentrate in the noisy, distracting surroundings created by these environments. Now, studies show open offices are producing the opposite effect of what was intended—employees are actually less likely to interact, whether it’s because they ignore digital messages, increasingly work away from their desks or tune out the world around them with headphones, for example. What kind of environment do you work in, and what kind of environment do you work best in and why?

Join the discussion on myASQ at my.asq.org, or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/asq.

Last month’s question

According to LinkedIn’s 2020 “Emerging Jobs Report,” as automation increases, so will the demand for soft skills. More and more, employers are looking for people with outstanding critical thinking, emotional intelligence, decision making, creativity and flexibility skills. What other skills are employers looking for in 2020 and beyond?

John Elwer, Iowa City, IA, says:

Author David Graeber talks about how all jobs have a serving component. I think being able to empathize with others so you can anticipate and meet their needs is the most important skill. If you can anticipate what your boss or customer thinks or wants, you can meet that need using your other skills. If you don’t know what your boss or customer wants, your other skills won’t matter.

Jacqui Fish-Passalacqua, Utica, NY, writes:

Personal accountability, the degree of collaboration, interpersonal negotiation skills, conflict resolution, people’s adaptability and flexibility, the clarity of communications, creative thinking, inclusion, and coaching and mentoring.

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