Digging into something a mile wide and an inch deep means that you have only scratched the surface, concerning a particular area of expertise, although you have covered a lot of ground, which could be a good thing. Researching a topic an inch wide and a mile deep suggests that you have gained specific knowledge and expertise, because you have specialized or stayed focused on a precise area, but perhaps your focus was not on the right area. Six Sigma is an Analytical Methodology that focuses on reducing process variation by utilizing a set of techniques that strive to greatly reduce the rate of defects, maintains a surgical focus on the inch wide and a mile-deep strategy to effectively investigate and resolve problems. Lean is another manufacturing systematic way of eliminating waste and creating flow in the production process that removes unnecessary steps of the production process that do not add value to the finished product, and Lean looks at a process an inch deep and a mile wide.
There is something called Lean Six Sigma which combines both of these methodologies together with Six Sigma being used to reduce variation, defects and errors in a process and Lean helping to make a product or service faster and more efficient by identifying and eliminating waste. Fandango asked us today, “Do you think it’s better to have a broad knowledge base or a deep knowledge base?” and I feel that it is best to have a combination of the two, as that way you can cover a lot of ground and provide a concentrated focus on the problem.
Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #96.