An online poll by a leading trade journal, InsideCounsel, Sept. 2007 at 13, asked its readers “Have you ever used Six Sigma to better manage your department?”
The brief item does not state how many people responded, but does say that 18 percent answered “yes,” 55 percent answered “no,” and 27 percent answered “don’t know.” I interpret the “don’t know’s” as negative since if they had heard about a Six Sigma project the respondents would not have answered this way. Second, because the question extends many years back in time, even the approximately one out of five respondents who answered “yes” could have been thinking of a project a number of years ago, rather than a relatively recent initiative.
It is also apparent that more than one person from a law department might respond, which means that a large law department that had a visible Six Sigma program might account for a disproportionate number of “yes’s” (See my post of Sept. 5, 2007 on probability-weighted samples.). A methodological purist might point out that those who have experienced Six Sigma might be more prone to respond to this survey than those who had no knowledge of it or had found it not useful. Finally, it is possible, I suppose, that Six Sigma techniques might be used in a law department for some purpose other than to better manage it. I can’t think of a situation, but I suppose that is possible.