Six Sigma Projects

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Six Sigma projects are key to generating return on investment and the organizational momentum and appetite for more. Projects are the vehicles for reaching strategic goals and implementing a quality improvement.

Some keys to launching successful projects are...

  • Launching small well-focused projects aimed at specific process elements; as opposed to large "Save-the-World" or "Boil-the-ocean" projects,
  • Defining projects using best available data along with expert judgment (don't create a project trying to start a project)
  • Not defining initial projects for training that are too large or complex.

Six Sigma Project Selection Methods

There are basically three methods used to select projects.

Brainstorming Method

Identifies projects based on individual’s “experience” and “tribal knowledge” of areas that may be creating problems in delivering our service(s) / product(s) and hopefully tie to bottom-line business impact.

Blatantly Obvious Method

Things that are clearly visible and occur on a repetitive basis that incur cost and cause problems in delivering your service or product to the customer.

Structured Approach

Identifies projects based on organizational data, provides a direct plan to effect core business metrics that have a bottom-line impact.

Project Selection Deliverables

There's no guarantee of a projects success, however, starting a project correctly increases it's likelihood significantly.

Six Sigma Project Selection Deliverables...

Business Case

The Business Case is a high level articulation of the area of concern. This case answers two primary questions; one, what is the business motivation for considering the project and two, what is our general area of focus for the improvement effort? 

Project Charter

The Project Charter is a more detailed version of the Business Case. This document further focuses the improvement effort. It can be characterized by two primary sections, one, basic project information and simple project performance metrics.

Benefits Analysis

The Benefits Analysis is a comprehensive financial evaluation of the project. This analysis is concerned with the detail of the benefits in regard to cost & revenue impact that we are expecting to realize as a result of the project. 

Six Sigma Project Focus

Regardless of a projects source, the applicable Quality, Cost, or Delivery characteristic(s) are clearly identified and targeted for improvement.

  • Focus on CtQs, CtCs, CtDs which offer the greatest financial and customer satisfaction leverage,
  • Address at least one element of the organizations key business objectives,
  • Are properly scoped, planned, and have buy-in and commitment from Executive Champions and stakeholders.

Six Sigma Process Overview

  1. Quality improvement opportunities are identified and defined, 
  2. Current process performance is measured,
  3. The issues driving process performance are analyzed,
  4. Process improvements are made,
  5. Controls are put into place to maintain the gains.

With the Six Sigma methodology projects sequentially execute through a roadmap known as DMAIC (da-may-ic). Within each phase specific quality tools are applied. Projects are led by Black Belts who have been trained and certified through the examination and certification process.

At the conclusion of each phase a phase-gate review is held with guiding leaders. Leadership ensures that the project Black Belt, and quality improvement team, have the things that they need to successfully execute the DMAIC process.

What is Six Sigma DMAIC?

Define: Improvement opportunities are identified and defined (what's the problem).

Measure: Current-state process performance is measured (how bad is it).

Analyze: The issues driving current-state process performance are identified (what's causing it)

Improve: Process improvements are made (how do we fix it).

Control: Controls are put into place to maintain the gains (how do we stop it from happening again).

Six Sigma DMAIC Model

DMAIC quality improvement projects are focused and targeted. They drill-down an inch-wide and a mile-deep! They provide laser like focus on one problem.

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