I think Data collection helps me to improve ability of decision-making because it helps me focus on objective information about what is happening in the process, rather than subjective opinions. And as a team member, Data Collection enables team to test on assumption about process and build information that could bring improvement of the key characteristics of the product or service. However, a simple collecting data does not ensure people could get relevant or specific enough data to tell you what is happening in process. The key is: How do we obtain useful data?
First of all, I think making a data collection plan is important. We should question ourselves:
-Why do we want the data? (This ensure the purpose)
-Where should we collect the data? (Identify key quality characteristic we're trying to improve)
-What type of data should we collect? Attribute data (Presence or absence of a characteristic) or Variables data(Specific measurement)
-Who to collect the data? Any extra training or resources required?
-How do we collect the data? Sample size, frequencies, tools..
Understood that the data collection could also be limited by some factors, such as time, cost, resources. Therefore, we might need to take those factors into account when make plan of data collection.
Secondly, we need to avoid some problems of data collection:
1. Failed to define scope of following questions. Otherwise, our data collection could be wrong at the start, particular in big companies, which involves in many people in data collection process. Therefore clear and adequate scope definition is important.
- When to collect data
- How to collect data
- The criteria of errors
2. Adding bias to the data collection process, particular when time is limited. Otherwise, we could easily make errors in process or miss data.
In order to avoid problems of data collection, I think having a checklist could be helpful. Create checklist could also help team to
- Record information on the key quality characteristics of your process for analysis
- Offer a picture of historical record of the process
- Communicate with people who is not familiar with the data collection as regular part of their jobs