Running Out of Projects? Never!

Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 13: We’ve been working Six Sigma projects for over four years. We’ve run out of project ideas.

If your organization is telling you this, then running out of projects is the least of your worries. Truly understanding your business and where the next step of improvement lies is key in maintaining a healthy backlog of project ideas as well as institutionalizing the concept of continuous improvement. So, here’s what I say . . .

Sometimes the diminishing list of potential projects stems from the lack of a systematic process for drilling down into a business segment to identify potential improvement areas. Brainstorming techniques may have identified all the ground fruit. Now it’s time to meticulously find and pick the next project using a more methodical approach. (More on that next year.)

The fact is that no matter how may projects you have completed, there is always room for more. Even if you’ve reached the point of ‘excellent operations,’ however you may define that, continuous improvement is needed to maintain this status. What was excellent today may soon be second-rate tomorrow without a constant focus on improvement. New technology, changing customer needs, and the competitive market will drive a constant need for improvement and therefore a constant need for Six Sigma projects.

Still feel like you’ve improved your existing processes to the max, then you are ready for process re-design (DFSS) because once you’re as good as you can get with what you’ve got, it’s time to reinvent yourself . . . again.

Comments 3

  1. malv

    No one says you have to use all of them. Dont use all of them. You will run into trouble if you try to force-fit every project into the a nice D-M-A-I-C format … using the same old tools every time. For example, not every project will need a Cause and Effect Matrix in the Define or Measure phase. Let me set you free … use the tools that apply.

  2. JS

    I am actually supporting the comment written earlier – Ran out of Projects.

    In my case, I have never found a project to apply the concepts. For many of the meeting related / team methods and other techniques described, it doesn ot seem practical that one can use all of them.

    I am looking for ideas in a manufacturing environment. All I have found is to do the old capability studies, gage R&R’s ro multi-vari analysis.

  3. Alicia Evans Watts

    Why don’t we demand of our healthcare professionals the same excellence that we use in every other industry? I asked a cancer researcher at Emory University if he or any of the other Cancer Coalition members in Georgia were tracking length of life outcomes. He thought one researcher in Georgia might be tracking length of life. In other words: "the treatment was successful but the patient died!"

    The consumer needs to take over the health industry and start demanding meaningful outcome data and accountability.

Leave a Reply