Run Chart


The Run Chart is a valuable Quality Control tool to illustrate activity over time. This Gateway tool©  is commonly used to understand statistically significant trends.

Run Chart

  1. Decide what to measure. Determine what you wish to measure and what unit. Team agreement is important.

  2. Gather the data. Collect an adequate amount of data identified (20-25 data points)

  3. Create the graph. The Y axis (vertical line) shows the scale of the dependent variable to be measured. This should be 1.5 times the range of the data. The X axis shows the scale of the independent variable, which is time or sequence.

  4. Plot the graph. Transfer the data to the Run Chart. Calculate the average or mean from the data collected, as a reference point for interpretation.

  5. Interpret the chart. Look for patterns, trends. Review the averages and the time units.


The run chart is an exercise that will generate discussion. Any significant variations (peaks and valleys) are obvious and should be interpreted in the context of the organization. It is a strong tool in the Check and Act phase of the PDCA Cycle. Standardizing and holding the gains of the improvement effort can be illustrated with this tool.