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International Statistical Engineering Association

Problem Framing: Essential to Successful Statistical Engineering Applications

  • 24 Oct 2023
  • 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Online

Abstract: The journal Quality Engineering published a Special Edition on Statistical Engineering in 2022. One of the articles that appeared in this special edition was "Problem Framing: Essential to Successful Statistical Engineering Applications," by Roger Hoerl, Deigo Kuonen, and Tom Redman. At the Fall Technical Conference, recently held in Raleigh NC, this article received the Soren Bisgaard Award from the American Society for Quality, which recognizes the paper in Quality Engineering’s 2022 volume with the “greatest potential for advancing the practice of quality improvement.” This webinar will present the key research and conclusions of this paper, as explained below.

The first two phases of the statistical engineering process focus on identifying the problem and properly structuring it. These steps relate to work that is often referred to elsewhere as framing of the problem. While these are obviously critical steps in solving complex problems, we have found that problem-solving teams often “underwhelm” these phases, perhaps being over-anxious to get to the analytics. This approach typically leads to projects that are “dead on arrival” because different parties have different understandings of the problem they are actually trying to solve. In this presentation, we point out evidence for a consistent and perplexing lack of emphasis on these first two phases in practice, review some highlights of previous research on the problem, offer tangible advice for teams on how to properly frame problems to maximize the probability for success, and share some real examples of framing challenging problems.

Bio: Roger W. Hoerl is Brate-Peschel Professor of Statistics at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.  Previously, he led the Applied Statistics Lab at GE Global Research.  Hoerl is a past chair of ISEA, and has applied and researched statistical engineering for many years. He has been named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Society for Quality and has been elected to the International Statistical Institute and International Academy for Quality.  He has received the Brumbaugh, Soren Bisgaard, and Hunter Awards, as well as the Shewhart Medal, from the American Society for Quality, and the Founders Award and Deming Lectureship Award from the American Statistical Association.

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