Everyday Lean: Website Data Entry

I saw an example of error proofing when I was registering on Art Smalley’s Lean Website. Like many websites, it makes you enter your email address twice. If you type it incorrectly one time, the system will flag you and prompt you to re-enter it quickly. The odds of you typing it incorrectly twice are less than the odds of mistyping it just once.

That is, unless you’re lazy and “cut and paste” the first email address into the second box. But, I guess it shows that not all error proofing attempts are 100% effective. Think about your error proofing and think about how people might circumvent the error proofing.

I’m sure a website designer would say “but you’re not supposed to cut and paste.” Think about the way employees are co-workers are “not supposed to use” your error proofing, your machines, etc.

Also, I’ve seen that “double entry” method applied in a less “everyday” example. I’ve seen a data entry operation, where they used to have a second person inspect the first person’s data entry, to make sure info was correct. They changed their software so that the second person re-enters a few key pieces of data. If there’s a mismatch between the first and second person, the system flags it. They found the “second entry” was actually faster and more effective than manual inspection. Go figure!

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Karen Wilhelm says

    Back in the olden days of keypunching and converting large amounts of data from paper to digital form, “key verification” was routine. Two keyboarders typed the same data and a program compared the keystrokes. Any differences were automatically flagged for correction. Of course, this would be highly sensitive to labor costs, and now it’s typically done “offshore.”

    It’s different from inspection or key-verifying samples of data.

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