Detect Instead Of Inspect
Mark's Note: I'm away on vacation through November 6… there will be some guest posts in this post during that time. Today's post is by Brian Buck, a long-time friend of this blog and a frequent contributor of some very funny Lean Memes! Check out his blog, Improve with Me.
By Brian Buck:
Before I get into the topic of today's post, let's start with a little test using the images below.
Give yourself 1 point for any statement that is true:
a. There is a square with this text: Burger King
b. There is a diamond with this text: McDonalds
c. There is a triangle with this text: Jack In The Box
d. There is a circle with this text: In-N-Out Burger
What score did you get? I would assume the readers of this blog are quite savvy about inspection and do not easily miss things. The correct answer is one.
I bet most of you caught the fact that the golden arches was missing from the images.
Did any of you struggle with having to make an interpretation on the fourth statement for the famous California restaurant? The image doesn't have the dashes as is shown in inspection statements. Does this count as “good enough” for a match or are the missing dashes a defect? How often do you think people in hospitals have to make interpretations like this every day.
By eliminating the two options above, that means either statement one or number three are true. If you haven't figured it out already, try using this question:
Which of the two remaining images have a word repeated?
I think there is a big difference between detecting and inspecting. Think of a smoke detector. It has one function and that is to look for smoke and it alarms when it finds it. By detecting for repeated words you can now see “THE” is written twice for the clown restaurant.
When we inspect for accuracy by looking over something, we often have confirmation bias and look for evidence to show that we did it right instead of specifically detecting errors. Our minds also like to gestalt things into patterns where inspect the whole instead detecting any problems in the individual parts.
If you can't error-proof and you need to add a quality step to prevent mistakes from being passed on, please try to detecting instead of inspecting!
About Brian Buck: Brian is an internal consultant at a children's hospital. He blogs at www.improvewithme.com and can be found on Twitter as @BrianBuck. He also has an essay published in Matthew E May's book The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything.