Definition of Subject Matter:« Back to Glossary Index
Overview: What is Subject Matter?
Subject matter refers to all things related to your company’s products, services, or customers. In terms of Lean Six Sigma initiatives, it specifically refers to the raw material that you need to understand in order for your problem solving efforts to be successful. It can come from a person, process, or system. It could be tangible (such as an object) or intangible (such as data).
The Benefits of Subject Matter
The first step in the process of implementing a Lean Six Sigma project is to identify subject matter. While this may seem obvious, it’s surprising how often organizations overlook this very important step. If you don’t know what your project is about, how can you begin to solve problems?
There are two main benefits to subject matter:
1. It helps keep your team focused on solving real problems rather than working on things like data entry tasks or anything else that doesn’t directly contribute to the improvement effort
2. It helps ensure that everyone understands which aspects of the business are being driven by LSS initiatives (e.g., where there are opportunities for improvement)
Why is Subject Matter Important to Understand?
The subject matter is a key component of LSS. It’s important to understand what the subject matter is and why it’s relevant in order to understand the entire process.
The subject matter refers to the foundation of LSS, which serves as a subset of the overall knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required for an organization to be successful. Subject matter experts are crucial in helping organizations implement LSS projects and meet their goals because they can provide guidance and support on how best to achieve those goals within an environment that already exists at work today.
An Industry Example of Subject Matter
Subject matter expertise is the knowledge of a subject area that’s required for an effective workflow. The subject matter expert (SME) is the person responsible for this knowledge. He or she should be able to answer questions about a particular area and help you understand how everything works together. For example, if your organization needs to improve its sales process, it may be useful to have an SME who knows how sales work in general and can help you understand what needs improvement in your company’s sales process specifically.
Best Practices When Thinking About Subject Matter
When considering subject matter for a LSS project, it is important to think about the specific needs of your organization. This includes both existing processes and goals for the future. For example, if you are looking to improve upon a process that has proven difficult to manage in the past, you might want to consider what steps have been taken toward improvement so far. If you’re hoping to implement a new process but don’t have enough information about it yet—or even if you do—it’s important to gather as much information as possible before beginning any kind of project.
In general, there are two main ways that subject matter can be considered in a LSS project: through interviews with stakeholders and through observation of current processes. This means that if you’re trying to improve the efficiency of your company’s production line, you will want to speak with the people who work on the line as well as the people who manage it. It also means that if you’re trying to improve sales at one of your stores, you will want to speak with store managers and employees who interact with customers.
Because these types of projects involve so many variables, it can be difficult for companies to pinpoint which processes need improvement or what areas need more attention. The best way to do this is through data collection and analysis.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Subject Matter
The most frequently asked questions about choosing subject matter for Lean Six Sigma projects are:
What does the project have to do with my business?
The first step in choosing your subject matter is to make sure it’s relevant to your business. According to the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook, this means that your project must be “aligned with business strategy and goals.” It should also “address a pain point for customers, suppliers, or employees.”
It’s important that you choose a topic that is going to meet these criteria. If it doesn’t align with your business strategy, or if it doesn’t address a pain point for customers, suppliers, or employees, then you’re not going to get the results you want from your project.
Can I find enough data to support my hypothesis?
You’re going to need data to support your hypothesis. This is because you want to be able to show that your solution is effective and has been proven through testing. There are several ways you can find the data you need.
First, make sure that you have a good understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. You don’t want to just guess at what might work; if your solution doesn’t work, it’s just a waste of time and resources.
Second, try looking at previous projects or similar ones—what were the results? What worked? What didn’t? Was there any pattern? If so, this can be used as inspiration for future projects.
Third, talk with people who may have experience with this type of project before—they may have some ideas on how it could be done better or even some insight into what didn’t work from their own experiences with similar projects.
How much time do I have to complete this project?
A: The time you have to implement and finish a LSS project depends on the scope. If you’re just looking to implement lean practices, then it’s possible to do so in as little as three months. However, if your project involves implementing LSS tools at multiple levels within an organization, then the time frame may be longer.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Subject Matter
While you may own a business and not consider yourself in the role of a “project manager”, you may be taking on the role of initiative leader. You may have been thrust into the spotlight of leading a Lean Six Sigma project due to your expertise or use of the process in your other job functions. If this is the case, it is important to realize that you are now part of a project and Lean Six Sigma project subject matter, as well as measurement, is critical.