Podcast #323 – Davis Balestracci on “Data Sanity”


I first met Davis Balestracci at a conference a few years back, where I heard him give a very spirited and insightful presentation. That's why I'm happy to have him as my guest for Episode #323 of the podcast.

We'll talk about a range of topics, including some of the key lessons that you'll find in his book (as a much deeper dive than we can get into here) Data Sanity: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results (2nd edition). Davis has been a long-time columnist for Quality Digest, and you'll hear his thoughts on Process Behavior Charts, W. Edwards Deming, Lean Six Sigma, and more.

From his bio: “Davis has a BS degree in chemical engineering and an MS degree in statistics, yet describes himself as a “right-brained” statistician:  his Myers-Briggs profile is INFP and he is a pipe organist who done graduate work in conducting.”

I hope you enjoy the discussion as much as I did. You can find his website here.

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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/323.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android appsor via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher or Spotify.

Topics and notes for this episode:

  • Find Davis on social media
  • Please introduce yourself to the audience… how did you get involved in Quality Improvement work”
  • “All work is a process” – do healthcare people have trouble seeing that?
  • Your book is Data Sanity – what's some of the current-state “insanity” that you see out there?
    • Is “more data” always more helpful or does that increase the “insanity?”
  • When I was in Don Wheeler's seminar last week, he talked a lot about the real-world limitations of classical descriptive statistics (as taught in college classes or Six Sigma courses) – what are your thoughts on that?
  • What are “hidden special causes?”
  • What is “cultural psychology?”
  • What if Lean would look at data as a process?
  • Deming's 14 points are a “synergistic system”
  • Heero Hacquebord
  • QBQ: Question Behind the Question
  • Brian Joiner's “Team Handbook

Videos of Davis:

Thanks for listening!


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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