July 2003   

Vol. 5, No. 7

DATAjogger: Your electronic whiteboard

We're about to release new software designed for quality improvement teams in schools, hospitals, and factories. It offers quality tools, from affinity diagrams to flow charts, in step-by-step visual displays. DATAjogger offers a visual record of your improvement project, becoming your electronic whiteboard.

This new software for better workflow helps with all improvement projects, whether they are related to Six Sigma, ISO 9000, Baldrige, or a simple desire to get the most out of your process. The program will assist teams by offering all the necessary tools for them to progress efficiently in their improvement quest.

Sample projects are included, offering a step-by-step guide to the improvement process for a single process (e.g., absenteeism). By clicking on simple, colorful menu icons, team members can create the tools included in the program:

  • Affinity diagrams
  • Brainstorming
  • Flow Chart
  • Nominal group technique
  • Radar diagrams
  • Lotus diagrams
  • Cause-and-effect (Ishikawa) diagrams
  • Histograms
  • Pareto charts
  • Line (run) charts
  • Force field analysis
  • Bar charts
  • Multi-voting template

Among the benefits offered by the software is the ability to think about and explore a quality improvement project from different angles and perspectives. It allows team members to describe the process that occurs in an improvement project and create a visual record of an improvement journey.

When PQ Systems seminar leader and consultant Sally Duncan goes through her Process and Tools course with educators, health care providers, or shop floor teams, her audience loves the way the tools apply to their organizations, since the training guides them step by step through the improvement process. "But is there software to make these tools?" they have continued to ask, appreciating the power not only of the tools themselves, but also of the visual displays, in understanding process improvement.

And yes, now there is. PQ Systems' development team has produced a comprehensive software package that will allow electronic input to tools, so users can print out completed Lotus diagrams or cause-and-effect charts without having to transcribe the information from paper. Bob Learned, who led the development effort for this product, was supported by PQ Systems development manager Steve Daum and programmer Gene Snodgrass.

Before beginning the actual programming, the development team participated in Process and Tools training, observing what users wanted and how the tools are used in a variety of settings. After determining the list of tools, they developed simple templates and guidance to use the tools in an actual improvement project.

The program will be released later this summer. Check out www.datajogger.com for more information.


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