iSixSigma

A Unique Roadmap to Guide Lean Six Sigma Champions

Most organizations have DMAIC and DFSS roadmaps to guide Black Belt and Green Belt projects. But what guides their Champions? Most Champions are busy people, often managers or executives with multiple and diverse responsibilities. In many cases, although not the optimum situation, Champions receive a meager one- or two-day overview in the Lean Six Sigma methodology and tools. They are then expected to “buy in”; change the way they view, manage and review projects; and then manage a group of people how have an entirely foreign skill set and approach to problem solving and design.

It is neither fair nor effective to expect these individuals to wade through a large training manual for the answers to their questions and guidance for their role. A solution to the problem can be found in a recently developed Champion roadmap. The use of this roadmap improves the probability that Champions will execute the correct steps in their role in a Lean Six Sigma deployment.

Although training a Champion in a Yellow Belt, Green Belt or even the Black Belt body of knowledge is a more preferred track, few organizations have the organizational bandwidth to execute in this fashion. Therefore, a concise method of summarizing Champion roles, specific steps and a rough order of execution is needed. Without such a guide, the Champions are left to their own devices to imagine what they are supposed to do and when to do it.

The format used for the Champion roadmap was developed several years ago for a roadmap to guide Belts through their DMAIC and DMADV projects. The basic conventions of that roadmap included:

  • Thought Process – A description of activity or thought to be learned and documented.
  • Individual Steps – Multiple steps to complete the thought or activity.
  • Required Tools – Links or references to specific tools needed to do the job.
  • Practical Translation – A practical simple language statement of what is to be accomplished or learned.

Adopting these conventions for use by Champions resulted in a refined four-page roadmap with links to key tools and resources. (The reproductions of the roadmap in this article do not have links.) It is designed for use in conjunction with the similarly designed DMAIC or DMADV roadmaps, especially when reviewing a Black Belt or Green Belt project.

Because the Champion’s role has to do with communicating, selecting people and projects, and ensuring effective execution and review of projects, the main Champion roadmap topics are:

  • Orientation
  • Initialization
  • Execution
  • Review

Each topic deals with a specific aspect of a Champion’s roles, responsibilities and required actions. As illustrated in Figure 1, most of the original conventions of the roadmap for Belts were used. However, the details of the thought process, individual steps, required tools and practical translations are fine tuned for Champions.

In the collective body of knowledge regarding Lean Six Sigma, critical success factors dictate that the Champion’s role is to first provide organizational orientation to their team regarding Lean Six Sigma use (Table 1). This involves activities that include acquiring basic education in Lean Six Sigma foundations (metrics, roadmaps, etc.), building and implementing an appropriate communication plan, and practicing the basics of change management. These items help to set a solid baseline for moving on to the Initialization phase.










































































Table 1: Champion Roadmap and Toolkit – Orientation Phase

Steps

Focus

Tools

Deliverable

Practical Translation

 

Understand the Six Sigma Approach
(O1)

Lean
Six Sigma
foundations 

BasicsMemory
Joggers; roadmaps; websites
Differentiate between results-based &
activity- based systems. A demonstrable understanding of Six
Sigma methods.
Know the origins of Six Sigma and understand how it has evolved from a “defect reduction” program to a business improvement system, linked to corporate strategy.
Lean
Six Sigma
metrics
MeasurementProcess
metrics;
card drop
Demonstrate understanding of variability
in a process.
Understand the ways that Six Sigma gathers and uses numeric (and language) data in critical process. Define impacts of variation in your processes.
Improvement
(Lean w/DMAIC)
design/-
development (DMADV)
optimization
RoadmapsRoadmaps;
case studies
Navigate roadmaps to successfully select, manage and review various types of Six
Sigma projects.
Create ability to consistently use Lean Six Sigma roadmaps to select, prioritize, manage and review Six Sigma projects and the general deployment.

 

Build the Communication Plan

(O2)
Organizational structureAlignmentPosition descriptions, succession plansAlignment of functional and management skill sets to a Lean Six Sigma system.Establish human resource baseline of required skills and capabilities and align to Six Sigma deployment plan
Roles and
responsibilities
AccountabilityRoles responsibilities matrixSelection of candidates
for various Belt training.
Differentiate and contrast traditional roles, responsibilities and accountabilities from Lean Six Sigma project and deployment requirements.
Communication
planning
CommunicateCommunication plan matrixA communications
plan for the target organization.
Enable clear, concise and regular communications (right message, right people, right time) to reinforce Lean Six Sigma and drive into culture.

 

Plan to Manage Change

(O3)
Change
management
basics
ChangeChange management
plan;
management simulation
A change management plan for Lean Six Sigma deployment with considerations for integration with other initiatives.Review and understand the fundamentals of change management and apply to the rollout of Lean Sigma in the organization.
Risks and
opportunities
GapsMatricesCompleted threats
and opportunities matrix.
Assess, test and resolve the various threats/opportunities related to Six Sigma project and deployment risk.
Monitoring
performance
ReviewBalanced scorecards, dashboards; project accounting & ROIManagement system to track Six Sigma project and deployment performance.Understand the need to balance VOC, VOB and VOE performance in Six Sigma projects and the deployment in general.
Deployment
planning
SynthesizeAssessments; strategy documents;
“WIN exercise”
Consolidated, agreed to and prioritized Six Sigma deployment plan with clear goals and timing.Define and reinforce the basic management discipline required to successfully implement a major initiative and effectively measure and improve it’s performance.
Handpicked Content:   3 Challenges to Overcome When Developing a Lean Six Sigma Training Curriculum

Copyright 2006 Six Sigma Advantage, Inc. All rights reserved

Once in the Initialization phase (Table 2), thought processes and steps shift to the selection of Belt candidates, selection of projects, creation of project charters and updating the communications and change management plans. Tools include items such as competency matrices, performance management tools, balanced scorecards and stakeholder analysis.


















































































Table 2: Champion Roadmap and Toolkit – Initializtion Phase

Steps

Focus

Tools

Deliverable

Practical Translation

 

Select

Candidates

(I1)
Evaluate skills and growth opportunities

Human resource

Competency matrix, performance management toolsQualified candidates selected & clearly communicated
to regarding
new role.
Identification & selection of most capable Lean Six Sigma project leaders and team members. Identify career path, job description and repatriation strategies.
Plan career
& repatriation
Career development plans

 

Select

Projects

(I2)
Estimate financial or strategic
project opportunities

Align
and prioritize


Balanced scorecards, strategic plans,
dashboards, high level Y to X; project
prioritization matrix

Clearly defined business criteria
for project
selection & prioritizationc
Create a consistent and on-going system for identifying and linking strategic opportunities to core processes to Lean Six Sigma projects.
Identify list
of potential projects
Charter templates;
project impact assessment
Initial problem/-
opportunity view, project backlog
Decomposition of critical business issues into prioritized Lean Six Sigma project clusters (areas of focus).
Prioritize
projects
Project
prioritization matrix
Priority projects
selected
Alignment of selected projects to critical business issues and metrics.
Match projects
with candidates
Competency
matrix
Candidates
assigned
to projects
Align candidates and projects to minimize risk of project failure (authority to remove barriers, make change, provide leadership)

 

Create
Project
Charters

(I3)

Refine problem
statement
CTQsProject charter
template
Initial
project charters
Solution-free, complete, and quantitative description of a business problem.
Establish objectivesVOC/-VOBClearly articulate incremental project deliverables and completion dates aligned to strategic objectives.
Estimate business impactROIEstimated financial benefits derived from validated financial baseline.
Define
scope
ScopeMinimize risk of project failure by carefully optimizing key project attributes including duration (less than 6 months), geography and cross-functionality. Balance need for financial impact with practical realities of execution.
Select
project team
TeamStakeholder
analysis
Ensure proper (active/engaged) participation and buy-in from individuals most influential to the process.

 

Update Communication and Change Management
Plans

(I4)

Communication planningRefineCommunications planUpdated
communication
plan
Continuously refine the message and delivery means to ensure that the vision for the future is consistently understood throughout the organization.
Deployment planningRefine

Deployment
p
lan

Updated
deployment
plan
Updated tactical plans to execute change based on the knowledge gained through selection of candidates and projects.

Copyright 2006 Six Sigma Advantage, Inc. All rights reserved

After candidates are selected and aligned with projects of proper scope, the Champion’s focus shifts to the Execute phase (Table 3). In Execution, a Champion becomes involved the creation of an environment to ensure project success through regular communications, active involvement and leadership. Those functions manifest themselves in removing barriers to success, ensuring accountability and driving replication of successful results. Highlighted tools include DMAIC/DMADV roadmaps, review questions, performance management tools and communication plans.




































































Table 3: Champion Roadmap and Toolkit – Execution Phase

Steps

Focus

Tools

Deliverable

Practical Translation

 

Create Environment for Success

(E1)

Execute communication planCommunicate visionMeetings, newsletters, presentationsEducated employees; reinforced
behaviors
Assure and execute regular communications of the right message to right person at the right time.
Execute
change management plan
Tactical executionPerformance management, communication plan, project reviewsEffective mitigation
of change risks and
barriers
Alignment of performance goals, project goals, individual responsibilities and review processes to reinforce Lean Six Sigma behaviors.
Practice
active
leadership
Personal behaviorsChampion
success attributes;
communication
plan
Lead by
example
Reallocating time and review methods to effect change in personal operating system to foster project and team effectiveness.

 

Manage Results: Closed Loop

(E2)

Conduct
informal
reviews
Resource managementDMAIC &
DMADV roadmaps
Personal
understanding
of project
progress and
candidate
performance
Use the DMAIC and DMADV roadmaps to drive effective reviews.
Review questionsCompliment existing review process with new questions centered of the use of Lean Six Sigma Tools, facts, data and process performance.
Conduct formal reviewsTollgate format
Identify and remove barriers
to success
Finding opportunitiesInformal & formal
reviews
Shortened
learning
cycle
Quick identification and removal of barriers to project and implementation success.
Close
project
CertificationFinal report,
closure agreement,
certification criteria
Signed
project
closure
agreement
Ensure that process owner, GB/BB, & finance agree to changes and expected benefits. Assure project report is in prescribed format and properly archived.
Ensure rewards
and recognition
for teams
Reward positive behaviorsPerformance
management plan
Small but
meaningful
rewards for team
participants
Align desired behaviors with your reward and recognition plans. Public acknowledgement as well as small financial incentives are appropriate.

 

Scale and Leverage

Best
Practices

(E3)

Communicate wins to the organizationLegitimize
the effort
Communication plan

Project archive to research learning
and repeatrsuccess
quickly; process
for ensuring wins
are communicated
and opportunities
are exploited.

Assure the organization sees the benefit of the process. Drive accountability to leverage solutions so that similar problems neither remain nor get “solved” twice.

Copyright 2006 Six Sigma Advantage, Inc. All rights reserved

In the Review phase (Table 4), the Champion is ensuring that transfer of control from the Belt to a process owner occurs. To do this effectively, process ownership must be clearly delineated, an executable control plan provided, and an ongoing monitoring of key metrics and action items performed. It also is desirable for a Champion to ensure that project and process knowledge is captured and properly archived for reuse. Control plans, various project trackers, project reports and other operational tools are used in this phase.

Table 4: Champion Roadmap and Toolkit – Review Phase

Steps

Focus

Tools

Deliverable

Practical Translation


Track
and Control Results

(R1)

Manage to new process metrics
Establish
Process
Ownership
Control planProcess metrics
linked to strategic
or financial targets and are the basis
for on-going
process evaluation.
Assure accountability by driving performance to new metrics. Control plan should determine when action is warranted. Unjustified process tweaking is discouraged.
Incorporate changes into operating plan (business metric/budget forecast)Strategy, budget, and forecast
planning
Plan for
future audits
Compliance
Control planAudit
schedule
Ensure that process changes remain intact. Changes must be justified with appropriate data.

Capture and
Extend
Project Learning

(R2)

Engage project team in project postmortem debrief
Optimize
Project reportProject
postmortem
Learn from project results to streamline future projects and avoid pitfalls. Highlight lessons learned and communicate good project practices.
Identify and complete action itemsAccountability, time, action planAll critical items closedAssure that all corrective action loops are fully closed and documented.
Archive learningProject tracker,
deployment
tracker
Complete,
up-to-date archives
Utilize best practice tools and methods to capture, index and archive project reports, data, presentations. Facilitate reuse.

Copyright 2006 Six Sigma Advantage, Inc. All rights reserved

When these roadmaps are coupled with the appropriate tools and training, a Champion can efficiently and effectively “Orient” themselves and their teams to the Lean Six Sigma approach, “Initialize” Lean Six Sigma projects and teams, “Execute” as best-in-class Champions and ensure project completion, success and replication through proper “Review.”

Note: The original format for the DMAIC/DMADV roadmaps and basis for the subsequent Champions roadmap was devised by David L. Hallowell. The Champions roadmap was the combined effort of Mr. Hallowell, Robert B. Tripp and the author.

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