Most of us are familiar with the DMAIC approach to Six Sigma.But what happens after control phase is completed? The answer is verification. A lot of hard work has gone into the project and as a project leader you need to be able to walk away from an improvement that is embedded and is meeting its target(s). Here are my thoughts on verifying a Six Sigma project…
- Have a primary 3 or 6 month audit, with a 12 month audit serving as a secondary, follow-up audit. The early audit will tell you if project work has been embedded into the organization. The later audit can be used to verify maintainability and if financial targets were achieved.
- Audits should not be conducted by someone directly involved with the project, or employees in the department where the project was implemented. It creates too much inherent bias.
- Project metrics should be evaluated in terms of baseline (before project began), target values, and achieved results. Note: in a 3 or 6 month audit, it may be impractical to look at NPV, ROI, and other financial indicators. Additionally project costs should be factored into financial results.
- Additional detail such as project cycle time, project handover and lessons learned should be discussed.
- The audit should obtain feedback from those impacted about the project’s stability, functionality, and relation to any key planning measures (e.g. safety, maintenance, etc.)
- Once the audit is completed (including any action items noted and references on who/ where information was obtained from), a summary should be shared with stakeholders.
- I like to classify audit findings into one of four categories: Pass, Systems not Embedded but Targets Met, Targets Met but Systems not Embedded, and Targets not met and Systems not Embedded. For audits that do not pass, stakeholders should have consensus about the rating prior to the audit’s final publishing.