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Universal Data Skills

This course has the potential to revolutionise the way data is used in your organisation, your team and by you personally.

Universal Data Skills covers both the theory and practice of data collection, display, analysis and reporting in an easy to understand and practical manner. Previous participants have varied from people who haven't studied anything about data since they were at school to professional statisticians - in the same group.

Importantly, we also look at Statistical Process Control, the origin of all contemporary approaches to organisational improvement. We cover the history, how this has influenced modern management and then how it can be applied in a straightforward manner back in the workplace.

To quote a long-standing client, Universal Data Skills "…is the best meal I've ever had when the menu's looked so boring" (SJ).

Universal Data Skills
for Kinetic
May 2021
  Universal Data Skills
for Thirteen
January 2019
  Universal Data Skills
for Blackpool Transport
January 2019
  Universal Data Skills
for Transit Australia Group
November 2018

Duration and who should attend


3 days

Who should attend?

Chief Executives, Directors, senior, middle and junior managers
Anyone involved in performance measurement at a departmental or organisational level
Analysts and statisticians

This course is aimed at graduates of Universal Improvement Skills and Control Your Projects. The contents, in particular how to measure and analyse process performance, enhance what has already been learned. A customised version of Universal Data Skills can also be run as an additional module to the Strategic Improvement Programme and Organisational Improvement Programme.

Style and structure of the course

Despite the name, Universal Data Skills is not a course about data. It is a course about using data for improvement. It is a highly practical course and you will be able to immediately apply what you learn back in the workplace. There are plenty of exercises and time for you to apply the learning to your own real-life situations and data with our help.

Universal Data Skills
for Regenda
July 2018
  Universal Data Skills
for Transit Australia Group
October 2017
  Universal Data Skills
for Southeastern
June 2017
  Universal Data Skills
for Thirteen Group
May 2017

A brief overview of the course

Day 1

Scene setting
The Experiment on the Red Beads - as run by Dr W. Edwards Deming on his 4 day seminars
Twelve principles that underpin the use of data in organisational improvement
An introduction to variation and the difference between Common Causes and Special Causes. How variation affects your processes and how to use SPC to go about reducing this to guarantee predictability and reliability.

Day 2 - Statistical Process Control

The history
The Funnel Experiment - another of Dr Deming's classics, this one to illustrate the dangers of tampering with stable processes
Process Behaviour Charts (also known as Control Charts), the Standard Deviation, calculating Control Limits and looking for patterns in the resulting data - nothing special going on, blips, shifts, drifts, chaos
Process Capability and targets
How to use Pareto Charts and Ishikawa Diagrams in the context of data analysis
Bad practices exposed, how a 'common sense' approach to using data may be ruining your organisation
How to use data in projects - both steering (particularly how to identify projects) and doing
How to collect, display and analyse customer satisfaction data

Day 3

Better use of graphs including tips for good graphs
How to select and use the best graph to present your data including:
Run Charts
Bar Charts
Pareto Charts
Area Charts
The deadly sins of data display
The four interdependent activities when using data for improvement: collection, display, analysis and reporting
Dashboards - what they are, where the ideas come from, how to design and use them
If you are able to provide some real data from your organisation, we will use that to illustrate many of these


Click here for the Universal Data Skills Briefing Note.

The Experiment on the Red Beads