A key success factor for Six Sigma is establishing good project starting points through appropriate problem definitions. It is critical that improvement initiatives start at the top and flow downward, and that everyone understands their roles.
A relatively simple 10-point checklist can help evaluate projects at specific milestones as well as be part of a lessons learned exercise after project completion. Anticipating potential project failures also can drive an effective project selection.
Having a robust and reliable approach to, first, quickly determine whether the project is indeed a good DMAIC project, and second, to prioritize projects to ensure resources are allocated appropriately, is essential to Six Sigma program success.
Six Sigma deployments have created a wealth of both success stories and lessons about process challenges - learn to steer clear of others' mistakes.
Using an accelerated approach, projects can take as little as one week to complete. This requires good planning, participation by the key stakeholders and a commitment to rapidly working through the DMAIC logic to make sustainable improvements to process performance.
Black Belt Mike is given his first project – Reduce Tray Jams. Mike's first task is to accurately define the project's scope to create that delicate balance between scope, time and resources.
One of the common challenges for a company’s information technology (IT) department is how to prioritize IT projects that can deliver the greatest benefits to the business. A criteria-based matrix can be an effective tool in prioritizing IT projects.
Dr. Mikel Harry answers the question, “How can Six Sigma be applied to the Human Resources (HR) function?”
Inconsistent use of metrics can lead to lost opportunities and rework after a project ends. Using them consistently brings enormous clarity to the impact and benefit of a Six Sigma project and helps keep the focus on enhancing business capabilities.
The Six Sigma project matrix helps create a project portfolio that has both substance and merit. By partitioning projects into the four quadrants of the matrix, Black Belts will select tasks that please customers and improve the firm's bottom line.
A business requirements document (BRD) details the business solution for a project including the documentation of customer needs and expectations. The BRD process can be incorporated within a Six Sigma DMAIC culture.
Troubled with the acronyms of Six Sigma? We'll help you figure out new product design (DFSS) from existing process improvement (DMAIC).
One of the crucial elements of the project charter in the define phase of a Six Sigma project is the selection of project metrics. Proper project metrics should reflect more than just business and customer measurables.
Growth of the DMAIC methodology in the United States' more service-oriented economy is not as fast as earlier in manufacturing industries. While DMAIC is well-proven, it requires a systematic plan for project selection in transactional environments.
For Six Sigma to succeed, an organization must consider life beyond projects. This is why it can be beneficial to embed Black Belts in business units, where they can monitor processes regularly, collect feedback and make sound, data-based decisions.
What Six Sigma projects should you be working on? This article presents the obvious, as well as some not so obvious, areas for improvement, followed by Six Sigma project guidelines and examples.
Finding Green Belt and Black Belt candidates with the right person and professional traits is a proven method for building a successful Six Sigma program. Developing and using a Pugh matrix can help in the critical candidate selection process.
Numerous businesses have had successful experiences implementing Lean Six Sigma in sales. The success stories offer proof that the methodology works, as well as providing some best practice guidelines for implementing Lean Six Sigma in sales.
While every healthcare organization has multiple priorities that must be weighed and kept in balance - and many stakeholders to satisfy - there are some basic guidelines which can be used for Six Sigma healthcare project selection.
During a period of declining profits, it is common for companies to begin cost-cutting efforts to trim the fat. Spending caps are imposed and projected budget expenditures are reduced. Eventually, companies turn to process improvement efforts such as Six Sigma or Lean to dig deep into processes to reduce waste. It is at this point that faulty project selection and chartering can create a mismatch between estimated savings and actual positive impact on the bottom line.
Need help selecting a Six Sigma quality improvement project? Whether it's a Green Belt, Black Belt or team based quality improvement project, you need to make sure you select the best one for the business.
There are many types of customer data and many ways for a business to obtain it – complaints, returns, surveys, focus groups, interviews and feedback cards. All of these can be used to identify Six Sigma projects to improve customer satisfaction.
A collection agency was not only able to retain a complaining client’s business thanks to a Lean Six Sigma project, but used the capability improvements it gained from the project as a selling point with both current clients and prospective ones.
Executives who develop a working knowledge of Six Sigma, Lean, and Kaizen are much better prepared to build the right infrastructure and lead their organizations to both financial and human success.
Is every company ready for Six Sigma? A quick 11-question test may help provide an answer.
Leveraging improvements encourages employees to "steal with pride" from their own company by 1) recognizing that their improvement needs are common and 2) discovering that proven solutions already exist.
A quality leader at a financial institution is deploying an Operational Excellence program across his organization that already has a project management office (PMO) in place. Recently he asked iSixSigma’s Discussion Forum about the pros and cons of using a PMO to manage project selection.
Six Sigma success comes when organizations make a broad and sustained commitment to deep-seated culture change. It does not come as a result of heroic efforts by a small group, no matter how knowledgeable, determined, or well-trained.
Managers play a key role in building a successful Lean Six Sigma organization. They must create and foster an environment that sets the stage for employee success. Six essential factors can guide managers towards a thriving Lean Six Sigma program.
Scope creep almost always presents itself within the lifecycle of a software project. This article identifies four ways to help you manage scope creep before it becomes an issue.
When a standardized process is not in place, practitioners may benefit from conducting a shorter form of improvement project called DMC.
Choosing the correct process improvement methodology is not a difficult task for full-time practitioners, but for other team members this is often an obstacle that takes up valuable time and energy. A positioning map may help in making selections.
Many efforts to analyze a poor project selection process fall short of their overall objective. Process entitlement analysis is a concept that provides an effective and robust process to conduct a total improvement opportunity assessment.
In 2003, a small group of employees began Black Belt training to give impetus to Canada Post’s process excellence movement. By the end of 2005, project teams are expected to have netted more than $10 million in savings and new revenues.
Implementing the "virtuous cycle" can help a business ensure that its IT organization can best fulfill its challenge of driving most of the process improvements in throughout the business as well as improving its own processes.
Careful project selection is critical to the success of a Six Sigma initiative. Using a defined method of prioritizing and selecting the best projects ensures measurable business impact, alignment to organizational goals and optimal use of team leader resources.
Here are tens of ideas for identifying issues in your organization and function. These ideas can then be evaluated and formalized into project charters which will allow you to prioritize for implementation.
A nine-step business management system drives improvement projects that will enhance key performance indicators and thereby benefit the business as a whole.
An answer to what types of software problems can be addressed with Six Sigma exists in a universally applicable criteria that provides a project selection framework. Rule No. 1: "Don't pan for gold in your hot tub!" Go where the money is.
In an interview with iSixSigma, Cmdr. Stanley Dobbs shares his approach toward Lean Six Sigma project selection and execution, as well as insight into the Navy’s positive response to continuous process improvement.
A radiology department faced challenges with workflow and patient flow. After an assessment of the department that identified opportunities for improvement, the team began to chart a prudent course for the future with the help of a roadmap. By Robert…
Project selection starts with generating ideas. The challenge is to find the ones that can grow into beneficial projects. Practitioners can use an organized approach to help narrow down the ideas that can be best converted into projects.
BPI efforts are the means by which success is realized in a Lean Six Sigma deployment. The efforts, such as improving cycle time or quality, must be clearly defined, supported by management and stakeholders, and properly managed to be realized.
Companies new to Six Sigma need to build a foundation for repeatable continuous improvement (infrastructure), as well as an agreed-upon, easily communicated picture of current processes ("as is" state). Building a SIPOC diagram a good starting point.
To address the common stumbling blocks to Six Sigma deployment, practitioners should consider using two key requirements of a good deployment planning process – the Six Sigma success equation and a readiness assessment for Six Sigma.
The well-regarded nuclear medicine department located in the Ospedale Santa Croce e Carle profits from a Six Sigma continuous improvement project.
Human resources is no different than any other aspect of a business in being able to deliver Six Sigma projects with significant financial benefits to the company. Projects are directed toward the internal customer or toward the external customer.
Get answers to all your Six Sigma questions with this list of frequently asked questions.
This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC process using an organization that develops software packages as an example.
In this excerpt from the iSixSigma Discussion Forum, posters debate the differences between Lean and Six Sigma, and how the two can be used together.
Selecting the right improvement projects and developing a valuable project pipeline are crucial to Six Sigma success. A six-step process can help to identify appropriate projects properly and create an organization's project pipeline.
One broadly implemented element of Six Sigma project management that is often underestimated is the project storyboard.
By adopting a systems mindset, practitioners can complete strategic value analysis based on internal and external factors, trends, and causal effects. This analysis can help deliver broader benefits and move an organization toward higher performance.
This article offers examples of how TOC and its focus on throughput can lead to faster process improvements.
Most companies can identify improvement project opportunities, however, sizing and packaging these into meaningful Six Sigma projects is more difficult. Help can be found in a three-step approach to project selection that has proven successful.
Choosing the right Lean Six Sigma partner is critical to success in implementing any program. Thus, it seemed only reasonable to consider a top 10 list of questions to ask when evaluating potential partners. Here is just such a list.
The "is/is-not analysis," with some minor modifications, can be one of the most useful Six Sigma project selection or define tools to sharpen a project definition and scope. It can narrow scopes, increase chances for success and accelerate projects.
For early projects, it may be best to play it safe. By selecting projects using a point system, practitioners can move forward with the best options for their experience level and the ones most likely to help the Six Sigma effort in the long run.
Considering "preferred roles" and "allowable weaknesses" when planning a Six Sigma project and selecting members of the project team makes sense. It provides a more scientific approach to helping assure better team performance and project success.
For lead time reduction initiatives, a critical path analysis of the overall timeline is a useful method to visualize which sub-processes impact the lead time, thereby enabling the business to make the right decisions on where to apply resources.
Six Sigma’s data-driven approach facilitates correlation of factors involved in the sales process and helps isolate specific ways to expand the potential for increasing sales. The end result is a significant source of ideas for improvement projects.
With many companies integrating Lean and Six Sigma methodologies into a single improvement tool kit, value stream mapping has emerged as a preferred method to identify process improvement opportunities. Here are a number of tips on applying the tools.
In this excerpt from the iSixSigma Discussion Forum, posters discuss the benefits of Six Sigma and Kazien, and how to integrate the two.
An improvement project can be defined through various scenarios. In this case a semiconductor company holds project selection workshops, which allow practitioners and leaders to identify appropriate projects systematically using a rating system.