Glossary of Effective Teaming Tools


Affinity Diagram - A tool used to group complex, apparently unrelated data into natural and meaningful groups of data.

Brainstorming - An idea-generating technique that uses team interaction to generate many ideas in a short time period.

Benchmarking - Information and data regarding processes and results that represent best practices and performance, inside or outside your industry.

Cause - A proven reason for the existence of a problem - not to be confused with symptoms.

Check sheet - A form used to record the frequency of specific events during a data collection period.

Code of Cooperation - A list of actions/behaviors agreed to by the team that fosters cooperative team interactions and effective team decisions.

Common Cause - A cause of variation in a process that is random and uncontrollable.

Consensus - A decision made after all aspects of an issue, both positive and negative, have been brought out to the extent that everyone understands and supports the decision and the reasons for making it.

Constancy of Purpose - Continuous effort to understand the needs, expectations and satisfaction levels of your stakeholders.

Continuous Improvement - Operational philosophy that increasing quality is an ongoing responsibility of everyone in the organization.

Control Chart - A chart showing sequential or time-related performance of a process that is used to determine when the process is operating in or out of statistical control, using control limits defined on the chart.

Criteria - The standards, rules, needs and/or tests used to evaluate each project idea. Criteria are used to narrow down a brainstorming list and to determine what is most important.

Criteria Matrix - A method for evaluating solutions against criteria relating to their effectiveness, efficiency and adaptability, etc....

Cycle Time Reduction - the time it takes, from start to finish, to complete a particular business process.

Deployment Flowchart - Flowchart that shows the people responsible for tasks as well as the flow of tasks in a process.

Effect - An observable action or evidence of a problem.

Effective - A process that delivers the desired product or service to the stakeholder.

Efficient - A process that operates effectively while consuming the minimum amount of resources (labor, time, etc..).

External Stakeholder - The stakeholder who is outside the organization.

Facilitator - A person who functions as the coach/consultant to a group or team. In quality improvement, the facilitator focuses on the interpersonal process which the team leader focuses on content.

Fishbone Diagram - A structured form of brainstorming that graphically shows the relationship of causes and sub-causes to an identified effect (problem). The diagram is also known as a cause effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram.

4 W's & 1H - Who, What, Where, When and How. A useful tool to help develop an objective and a concise statement of the problem.

Histogram - A bar chart that illustrates the frequency distribution of a measurement or value.

Internal Stakeholder - The stakeholder who is inside the organization, e.g., fellow workers, or perhaps other departments on campus.

Issue Statement - A clear, concise and measurable statement of the problem the team plans to work on.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT) - A technique for selecting which item(s) are most important by giving each person equal voice in selection.

Pareto Chart - A type of bar chart, prioritized in descending order from left to right, used to identify the vital few opportunities for improvement.

Performance Measures - Indicators used by stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness or quality of a process, service or product.

Prioritization - Process of ranking ideas, projects, or solutions as determined by individual judgement and group consensus.

Process - Combination of people, machines, tools, techniques and materials linked in a systematic series of steps or actions to complete a task or fulfill a commitment.

Process Check - A technique used for critiquing group sessions or meetings that identifies the areas that made the session successful along with the areas that need improvement.

Process Flowchart - A chart that uses symbols to represent the input from suppliers, the sequential work activities, the decisions to be made and the output to the stakeholder.

Process Map - A chart that documents the flow of a process across departmental lines in the regular, chronological sequence of steps.

Quality - Quality is providing our stakeholders with products and services that consistently meet their needs and expectations.

Quality Control - The process of measuring quality performance, comparing it with the standard, and acting on the difference.

Random Sample - The number of units chosen from a lot by a method that gives each unit an equal chance of being selected.

Rework - To correct defects a process has produced.

Root Cause - The basic reason creating an undesired condition or problem. In many cases, the root cause may consist of several smaller causes.

Run Chart - A graphic plot versus time of a measurable characteristic of a process.

Sample Size - Number of units to be selected for the random samples.

Sampling - Technique of obtaining information about a large group (population) from a smaller representative group (sample).

Scatter Diagram - Chart in which one variable is plotted against another to determine if there is a correlation between the two variables.

Sponsor - The person or team that has initiated the charge and to whom the team reports. This person, or team, has authority to make improvement happen.

Stakeholder - Anyone for whom an organization or an individual within an organization provides goods or services.

Standard Deviation - A mathematical term to express the variability in a data set or process. It is commonly represented by the lowercase Greek letter sigma (o). In a normal distribution, 68.26% of the data will be within 1 o from the mean, 95.44% within 2 o, and 99.73% within 3 o. Mathematically, a standard deviation is equal to the square root of the average squared differences between individual data values and the data set average.

Statistical Process Control - The application of statistical methods to monitor variation in (SPC) process over time.

Storyboard - Visual representation of the vital information about a project.

Subprocess - A group of tasks that together accomplish a significant portion of an overall process.

Supplier - Anyone from whom the organization or individual receives goods or services.

Surveys - A means of gathering data on the opinions, feelings, impressions, or satisfaction of a group.

Task - Specific activity necessary in the function of an organization.

Team Leader - The person chosen to manage the project process (call meetings, stay on track, work with sponsor, etc). Although all team members are responsible for the success of a project team, it is the team leader's job to ensure that all resources and actions necessary to team success were acted on, requested, considered and achieved.

Theory - An unproven assertion about the reasons for the existence of defects and symptoms.

Trend - A gradual change in a process or output that varies from a relatively constant average.

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