iSixSigma

The Synergy of Projects

I recently received an email from another Command that outlined a program of LSS projects regarding the Army Reserves Family Support Group. The Family Support Group is essential a booster organization that supports military families during deployments and other activities that make their loved one absent. They provide resources such as Red Cross Assistance, small household goods and the like. As part of our initial project sponsor workshop, we identified opportunities for improvement with the Family Support Group within the 335th Command. We assigned an initial project regarding the management of the database that houses contact information. We are looking to improve a couple of items: the cycle time to input data into the portal and reducing the number of discrepancies in the database that causes mail to be returned or prevent us from contacting a family member by phone.

The adjacent Command outlined a similar project regarding contact information on the Family Readiness database. I found it quite interesting and proceeded to talk with our Family Programs Coordinator who was somewhat surprised. I think so too given that we operate off of Power steering to give visibility to all projects. I then contacted the Coordinator of the database project who exclaimed this is the first time he heard of it also. We both agreed to begin steps to work in this jointly.

The bottom line is that with such a huge organization sharing similar problems, yet attacking them disjointly dilutes the potential for effective and innovative solutions. As we journey through this, I am hopeful that we can establish a more robust Enterprise level project communication system to facilitate the synergy needed to build the critical mass we are seeking to develop.

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Comments 1

  1. Steven Bonacorsi

    Hello Capt. Harris,

    I was one of the Deployment Leaders for the US NAVY businesses and trained many of your ARMY Master Black Consultants over at the Army schoolhouse. Your concerns are spot on, but want to provide you with some hope. First, PowerSteering is a lot more rigorous than your realize. When we first set it up we probably turned on ~10-15% of its project management features. This is an industry best practice, to allow the very large and complex tool to slowly assimulate into the organization, reduce learning curve and complexity, and once established, a phase release of new features should occur, following the first year of its successful deployment.

    With all that said, it is just a tool and your point on the need to increase project communication is essential. The database can only take you so far as a tool, while its your leadership in driving fast projects (outstanding charge for 3 month projects – bravo) or canceling them if need be (a lesson our US Navy has many a bruise) has proven to be a real factor leading to large scale rapid change.

    Hoorah!

    Steven Bonacorsi
    Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

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