I have recently gone through ’Train The Trainer’ for Green Belt. I discovered on the training some excellent tools I had not been using, or have just plain forgotten about.

Over the next few Blogs I would like to talk about ’Lost Tools’ and ask why they are not being used, and the impact on not using them, both on the Improvement Project and on the business.

Lost Tools #1 ’The Project Criteria Check List’

A well conceived business case is the key to project success. But how many projects have you seen or even been given, that do not meet the criteria that was taught to us in week 1 of Black Belt training? The checklist which should be in all the Six Sigma Training material reads something like this:

•Are the goals of the project clear and realistic at this stage?

•Does this problem affect our ability to successfully deliver our key business objectives?

•Does this problem stem from an on-going, high volume process?

•Is this process measurable?

•Is this problem creating defects?

•Can we estimate the potential business benefits in cash?

•Will this project lead to improvements with little or no capital?

•Can this project be completed in 4 to 6 months?

•Does the process owner approve and support this project?

•Is the scope of the project clear?

Ifthe answer is No to any of these, and you still take the project forwards, it willspell trouble, big trouble downstream. I’ve been there, most Black Belts have.

If the answer is YESto all the criteriaabove, I submit that all you need is a good understanding of the tools to deliver great success within the business.

But do all your projects tick all these boxes, all the time? In the transactional world, my world, I would be surprised.

What do we do?

  • We now have a deployment that needs to be fuelled with savings.
  • We need to justify our own existence, and we may not have any text book process improvement projects out there.

“Get in Lean! Call it a Lean project” comes the cry.

But does every proposed business case that is not a DMAIC project fall into the Lean bucket?

Proposed Solution

  • Strong Six Sigma leadership on quality control for potential initiatives, UP FRONT.
  • Someone who is not scared to say NO to the bosses.
  • Someone who can decipher a good business case from a bad one.

I feel like I am stating the obvious here, but the obvious is so often overlooked.

What does your deployment do to stop ’dodgy’ business cases getting through? Do you have a different / better list of criteria to check your business cases? What other ’lost tools’ can you think of?

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