Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Nayism 35: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble, Send me a Black Belt on the Double. I have a problem and he needs to fix it!

At first, this statement may not sound like a “nayism” but beware. Something is brewing in this organization and it is definitely trouble. Why? Here’s what I say . . .

This process owner is very clear about his ownership of the problem but does not seem to own the fix. Too many times a Black Belt is perceived as the “magic” ingredient to make a problem go away. There is no denying that a talented Black Belt and team can solve some really dreadful problems but the solutions are only as effective as their implementation and successful implementation requires ownership by the process owner. Sometimes in their zeal, the Black Belt takes too much ownership of the problem and the solution. This has the unintended consequence of releasing the process owner of theirs. There is nothing scarier than trying to fix a process without a process owner (believe me – I’ve seen it).

The essential ingredient in any project solution and successful implementation is the process owner. Only if they own the problem and the solution will the true ‘magic’ occur. Happy Halloween!

Comments 1

  1. Mike Carnell

    When we see the condition you are speaking of it is typically in a deployment where the Belts are given the job of selecting projects. Whenproject selection becomes the job of the Belt you immediately build into the deployment a rework step called selling Buy-in.

    When you design the deployment from the beginning with project selection i.e. identifying a project, writing a problem statement/charter and creating a first pass financial analysis as the responsibility of the Process Owner you can avoid the selling buy-in mating ritual.

    When the projects are selected by Process Owners and presented to a Six Sigma Steering Committee or Business Improvement Committee and they make decisions to allocate resources (Belts and the team to a problem) then you begin to create a pull type system around the projects as opposed to the push scenario when Belts identify projects. Having the Process Owner articulate what they want worked on in a problem statement will keep the team focused and the Process Owner will get what they want.

    It will always be the responsibility of the belt to keep the Process Owner involved as the project progresses so there isn’t that push back at the end. If you tollgate the projects with Process Owner signoff throughout the DMAIC process and in particular at the close of the project and are very specific about the transfer of ownership there is typically no issue. They also sign off on projected benefits and those need to tracked monthly.

Leave a Reply