When writing your Six Sigma project charter, it is important to clearly state the scope of the project, so the team doesn’t attempt to “boil the ocean” or “solve world hunger”. Scope puts some boundaries and constraints on the activities of the project.

In the context of Six Sigma, scope refers to the boundaries and extent of a project or process improvement initiative. It defines the specific objectives, deliverables, and outcomes that the Six Sigma team aims to achieve and identifies the areas and processes that will be impacted by the project.

Overview: What is scope? 

A scope statement will be an important part of the Six Sigma project charter. A scope statement defines the boundaries of the project and defines what aspects of the project will be addressed and what will not be addressed. The elements of a scope statement are:


  • Areas that will be addressed
  • Consider applying the Pareto Principle to narrow your scope
  • Example:  The project will address deliveries made to customers on the West Coast from the Ocala plant.


  • Specific areas that will not be addressed
  • Aspects of the problem not included
  • Areas of the business/physical locations
  • Related issues that can be addressed later
  • Example:  The project will not address other customers/regions. The project will not address suppliers or the sales process.

By defining the scope of a Six Sigma project, the team can focus their efforts on the most important areas of improvement, avoid wasting time and resources on irrelevant issues, and ensure that the project is aligned with the overall goals and strategy of the organization.

An industry example of scope 

The Six Sigma improvement team was given the task of reducing glass breakage in the insulated glass line. As part of the project charter, the team developed the scope statement below:

Items In-Scope

  • Glass breakage on the first and second shift
  • Breakage occurring after cutting of the sheet prior to tempering
  • Breakage confined to line 5 machine only

Items Out-of-Scope

  • Project not to include scratches or other product defects
  • Project does not include tempered or colored panels, only insulated
  • Shift 3 is not included in this project
  • Breakage due to handling not included

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about scope

What is the importance of defining the scope in a Six Sigma project?

Defining the scope of a Six Sigma project is crucial for ensuring that the project stays focused on the most critical areas of improvement, and that the project team does not waste time or resources on irrelevant issues. By clearly defining the project scope, the team can also ensure that the project is aligned with the overall goals and strategy of the organization.

Can the scope of a Six Sigma project change during the project?

Yes, the scope of a Six Sigma project can change during the project if new information or issues arise that were not initially anticipated. However, any changes to the scope should be carefully evaluated to ensure that they do not impact the overall objectives and outcomes of the project.

What are some common challenges in defining the scope of a Six Sigma project?

Common challenges in defining the scope of a Six Sigma project include identifying the most critical areas for improvement, ensuring that the scope is achievable within the project timeline and budget, and managing stakeholder expectations around the project outcomes and deliverables.

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