Candy Exercise to Learn About Variation

in Building Capability, Variation, Videos

By David M. Williams, PhD

Looking for easy ways to help your team understand variation and the difference between common cause and special cause. One exercise I enjoy using is counting candy. All you need is ten or more “fun size” packets of regular M&Ms and one to two “fun size” peanut M&Ms. Run charts can be drawn by hand with pencil and paper or using a spreadsheet. Here are a couple of videos I did for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement explaining and debriefing the exercise.

Here’s the first video that sets up the exercise.

After you’ve run the exercise, the next video can support you in your debrief.

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