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Special Cause Variation refers to variation in a process which is sporadic and non-random. All processes contain Common Cause Variation, but processes that exhibit Special Cause Variation do not perform in a predictable manner and are technically not in Control.

Once Special Cause Variation has been identified it should be addressed specifically and fixed or planned for. Unlike Common Cause Variation, this is generally possible without significant modifications to a system.

For a better understanding of Special Causes and an overview of Lean Six Sigma, check out our Free Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training, Green Belt Training or Lean Training.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Master Black Belt at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 30 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Marriott International, Inc. build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.
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