Success factors such as business goal setting, global deployment planning, black belt project selection criteria and Six Sigma curriculum design are just a few of the key components that must be riveted together to form a common and uniform structure.  If the guiding blueprint cannot properly specify how the components fit together, it is likely that the final assembly will function in an asynchronous and dysfunctional manner, thereby increasing the probability that the Six Sigma thrust will quickly stall and fade from corporate consciousness. 

Having said this, the focus must be on the creation of a guiding curriculum as it pertains to the key Six Sigma roles and responsibilities – senior champion, deployment champion, project champion, master black belt, process black belt, design black belt and green belt.  At a fundamental level, we can say that these roles constitute the backbone of what makes Six Sigma tick.  Of course, these roles are specifically designed to support the appropriate identification, organization, rapid dissemination, and effectual execution of knowledge-intensive application-focused improvement projects.

Without careful planning and governed execution, it is very easy for a Six Sigma project to experience “mission creep.”  When this occurs, it is quite possible that the lines between success and failure will become blurred.  In addition, mission creep can easily cause resources to become diluted, misguided, and ineffectually applied.  As this begins to happen, the anticipated benefits must be reevaluated, adjusted downward, or pushed farther out into the future so as to compensate for the escalating chaos.  In turn, this drives the unnecessary modification of roles and responsibilities, thereby forcing various alterations to the curriculum.  Obviously, this represents a never-ending cycle of reactionary change.

To avoid the spiral of failure, it is essential that the executive management pick the best-of-the-best to fill the Six Sigma roles.  In addition, that management must fully empower each Six Sigma role with autonomous authority and dedicated resources.  Finally, there must exist; a) valid project selection criteria, and b) a time-tested process for governing project execution.  Without saying, the interactive effect of these things is “everything.”

Given the installation of high quality people in all the Six Sigma roles, we must now recognize the fifteen critical planning factors.  These are the things that must be carefully considered prior to, during, and after the execution of a Six Sigma application project:

1) Scope
2) Depth
3) Duration
4) Resources
5) Solidarity
6) Metrics
7) Benefits
8) Roles
9) Leadership
10) Objectives
11) Strategy
12) Reporting
13) Accounting
14) Knowledge
15) Closure

Not only must these factors be considered individually, they must also be jointly deliberated and then made relative to the various people, products, processes, policies, and practices that are germane to the improvement situation.  Only in this manner can their pragmatic implications and consequences be fully understood, appreciated, and acted upon.

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