Lean Six Sigma has many definitions and many methods, and it’s important to understand these methods before they can be transitioned to true conceptual knowledge. The best place to start is with ARMI: Approver, Resource, Member, and Interested Party (IP). These are classifications of expertise in LSS.

The acronym is used in management to categorize personnel assets throughout a project management process. This tool is useful in LSS to develop a risk assessment of your project and make sure you have the resources needed to complete the projects successfully.

Overview: What is ARMI?

These designations are a tool that helps categorize all the persons and their skills who can contribute to the success of a project. Categories are used for assignment and communication. It identifies personnel assets throughout a project and ensures the correct DMAIC resources are identified to help get the job done.

The one who approves is the sponsor or business leader whose approval is required. Resources are experts whose skills are needed for a given period of time. The “M” indicates those who are full-time team-members. Interested Parties are people who want to be informed about the status of your project.

This model, an update of the CPAR tool, is a powerful, cross-functional tool that helps teams identify and consider the concerns of all those impacted by a change initiative. The four categories in this model help define who might be affected by a project and how their concerns should be addressed.

3 Benefits of ARMI

There are many tools that a LSS project team member can use to help define the scope and direction of the project. There are three key benefits to using this tool.

1. The tool enables a Lean Six Sigma practitioner to quickly identify an IP

It enables a LSS practitioner to quickly identify an IP. This means that the practitioner can readily define the stakeholders and create a plan for engagement. The result is a smoother project and better results.

2. It also provides an opportunity for a practitioner to develop a relationship with those who will champion the project or process

Not only will they have a role in the project, but they can be used as a resource for information and to help disseminate the findings of the study.

3. It allows a practitioner to leverage different skill sets and resources early in the project

This means the team does not have to reinvent the wheel in approaching problems. Rather, it is a chance for the project to benefit from lessons learned and past accomplishments.

Why is ARMI important to understand?

It is the four types of stakeholders (or shareholders) in LSS. These stakeholders can have a positive or negative effect on the success of a project, and it is important for LSS project managers to be aware of each type of stakeholder and their corresponding impact.

Furthermore, a clearly defined and documented project charter is essential to building a solid foundation for the entire project. It will ensure that all the necessary information is collected and that all people working on a project have common goals and understand what to expect. It is also the key to obtaining any needed consensus.

An industry example of ARMI

The financial industry is a good example of the concept.

At the IP level would be someone working in the banking industry but not directly involved in Six Sigma. Someone who only has a casual interest in the process and is not expected to have full knowledge of all process steps.

At the “M” level would be an employee of a bank who is one degree removed from the actual processes taking place, but still has some knowledge of it. They are not directly involved in the approval process but could be based upon their specific function at the bank.

At the “R” level would be someone who works for a bank and has very specific and extensive knowledge about a process or procedure involved with Six Sigma approval.

The one who approves would be a banking manager or someone with the authority to approve initiatives or courses of action.

3 best practices when thinking about ARMI

This concept is a great way of thinking when addressing Lean Six Sigma issues. There are three best practices for this tool.

1. Use customer centricity

Think about the customer and their feelings. Lean Six Sigma professionals should always make the customer their most important focus by requiring that the voice of the customer be heard.

2. Address key non-value added activities as part of the problem-solving process

This means narrowing the scope by asking Who, What, Where, When, and Why to understand the issue at hand. This will increase your understanding of the total requirements and allow you to make more informed allocation decisions.

3. Gain buy-in from all parties involved in implementing solutions

This means engaging and including them in the process. It is equally important to make those people accountable for ensuring that the project solution gets implemented and remains in place. This allows the solution’s success to be sustained over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ARMI

Q: Is “IP” the same as “stakeholder”?

A: No, interested parties are people like operational and functional management, customers, sponsors, and vendors. Stakeholders are much broader, including all those impacted by decisions that may or may not be directly made by the concept’s roles.

Q: Do we really need this tool in an organization?

A: Yes. Although not required by the IASSC exam body to pass the test, it is a key component of Lean Six Sigma for a number of reasons — to change organizational performance and enhance value for customers, to drive stakeholders and management to achieve maximum value from their improvement system investments, and more.

Q: What is the difference between “R” and “M”?

A: “R” is meant as any person/role that can provide information, perspectives, and data on a project. The “M” has more accountability in terms of real-world deliverables, such as time spent understanding problems, providing data, and documenting results while also proving effectiveness through end-to-end responsibility of their projects with direct accountability for realization of benefits.

In conclusion

This model is a great way to help you identify individuals who need to be included in a team charter and even in a project team. The first step of any improvement project is coming up with the right group of people, but there are other steps to consider as well. At this point, you should be ready to plan your DMAIC project approach. Think about all the phases of DMAIC and the types of deliverables that need to be created for each phase. These steps will help ensure a high-quality project charter.

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