QCDSM is a decent start for performance tracking, but the categories leave many struggling to define the best metrics. After several iterations, I believe I have an alternative worth sharing, . The key benefits of changing from QCDSM to HEATE include:

  • Safety first, and a better sorting of importance, though all are critical for the long term
  • The categories drive more towards the ideals than merely the type of metric
  • The categories are more intuitively relevant to all contexts
  • Acronymable (not yet a real word)

Now that you’re primed for some of the differences, here are the new factors (in a basic diagram for now):


First, do no harm. Any effort will be severely crippled if there is collatoral damage. Until your solutions are 100% harmless, we should continuously attempt to harm less.


While this includes obvious physical harm, it would also be important to know when and how we may cause distress.


Metric Examples:

  • Injuries
  • Near misses
  • Distress

Our ability to effectively solve a problem includes, but is not limited to, the quality of our solution. In other words, we must strive to eliminate defects, but to also create new solutions with greater impact.


Metric Examples:

  • Prevent > Solve/Cure > Improve > Stall > No Effect > Worsen
  • Defects
  • Mistakes
  • Customer Ratings/Reviews/Scores

Abundance covers the ability to ensure enough capacity to meet demand.


How easily can we meet demand? Does the cost per unit increase/decrease steadily or suddenly at any point?


Metric Examples:

  • Work per Unit
  • Total Workload
  • Cost per Unit
  • Cost of Equipment and Supplies
  • External Setup Time



Even a harmless cure is no good when it arrives too late, and prevention is better yet.


Metric Examples:

  • Lead Time
  • Wait Time
  • Internal Setup Time
  • Availability

Empowerment makes it easier to achieve the other categories, both functionally and emotionally. If every stakeholder is willing and able to contribute to improvement efforts, then we can be far more effective with more abundant opportunities.


Metric Examples:

  • Unsolicited ideas
  • Satisfaction scores
  • Turnover rates
  • Applicants per position
  • Fan mail

Using the 5 Whys to Quickly Address Problems

“Paralysis by analysis” is a risk with problems of all kinds. Consequently, people will often ignore issues or apply so-called band-aid solutions, which do little to address the root causes. Any problem will have multiple root causes, better represented in a tree diagram or fishbone. Unfortunately, these deeper analyses can be complicated and time consuming, when most situations require rapid action.

The solution: Find a single root cause, and address it. This is represented as the “5 Whys” in several frameworks. For any problem, ask and answer “Why?”, using each response as the next question; until you find an appropriate root cause, somewhere around the 5th round.

For example, I spend too much.

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Stop and See

I have previously noted the harms of distraction, in more of a personal sense. This truth is similarly important in a workplace. Most people, including so-called supervisors, avoid any appearance of stillness, ending up distracted from many insights. Noticing a critical opportunity could easily double the productivity of a process. With a frequent process, one could quickly save thousands of hours of effort. A solution?

Ohno Circles:

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The 8 Wastes: Introduction

In quality improvement, we look for 8 common wastes. They are not entirely comprehensive, nor exclusive. The wastes are cues for issues you have ignored or forgotten. I will write comprehensive posts for each waste. For now, here is a brief summary, with examples:

1: Waiting

This is the most obvious, any time people are left waiting. Sure, people could take the opportunity to meditate or check their phones, but they would usually prefer to do something else, somewhere else. This category can also be used to identify idle equipment that could be utilized.

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