iSixSigma

Project Selection & Identification

An Affinity for Scope

Mike was a newly hired Black Belt (BB) at a roofing shingle manufacturing plant who was going through Six Sigma training. Tim, the general manager of the plant where Mike worked, brought Mike into his office and explained that Mike’s Master Black Belt was on the speaker phone. The Master Black Belt, Robert, shared with…

11 comments

Project Selection That Benefits the Entire Business

To be competitive, organizations need continuous improvement efforts working internally and throughout their supply chains. How can this type of system be created so that it is both immediately beneficial and able to maintain its integrity through inevitable leadership and organizational changes? It is critically important to develop a clear mechanism for selecting improvement projects…

8 comments

Theory of Constraints Helps Set Project Priorities

In another article published by iSixSigma, I proposed that implementing an integrated approach of Lean Six Sigma and theory of constraints (TOC) can lead to greater success for an organization than the use of an independent Lean Six Sigma approach. Since that article was published, I have received multiple queries about how to apply this…

8 comments

Linking OpEx with Your Project Management Office

A quality leader at a financial institution is deploying an Operational Excellence program across his organization that already has a project management office (PMO) in place. Recently he asked iSixSigma’s Discussion Forum about the pros and cons of using a PMO to manage project selection. Readers responded with very pro-PMO advice about how these structures…

Not Everything Needs DMAIC

After coaching Lean Six Sigma for the last 12 years, it is still surprising to see how many projects get cancelled because they are not considered “valid.” Practitioners and managers must remember that this methodology is designed for making process improvements. If leadership cannot identify a broken process, more work by the project sponsor is…

2 comments

Holding Black Belts Accountable for Positive Project Results

As a Black Belt, I know it is easy to fall into the trap of working only on projects that cut costs. I also know that this type of “accounting” is a slippery slope that can cloud essential business goals by creating unfounded visions of savings. Don’t get me wrong – cutting expenses is important….

Why Choose Six Sigma Over Kaizen?

Message: 8897 Posted by: Carlos Castillo Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 What are the benefits of choosing 6sigma over Kaizen, 6 sigma seems a great deal more expensive and more bureucratic. I have obtained great gains from Kiazen with minimal investment. Message: 8899 Posted by: mn Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 ——————————————————————————– I…

4 comments

Six Sigma Versus Lean

Message: 16306 Posted by: Eric Posted on: Thursday, 25th July 2002 My company is actively deploying Lean Mfg principles. To this point, we have not been heavily involved with Six Sigma. Although recently our Customers have heightened our awareness of Six Sigma by asking/ requiring us to participate in their Six Sigma efforts – including…

4 comments

Ask Dr. Mikel Harry: How Can Six Sigma Be Applied to Human Resources?

Dr. Mikel Harry answers the question, “How can Six Sigma be applied to the Human Resources (HR) function?” Listed are some simple examples for Human Resource projects: 1) Employee turnover rate. 2) Job satisfaction issues (surveys). 3) Management satisfaction. 4) Cafeteria food quality. 5) Policy deployment. 6) New hire process quality and cycle time. 7)…

Project Selection Options

Six Sigma is accomplished one project at a time. The billions of dollars saved by companies around the world is the cumulative effect of properly selecting and defining business issues that can be assigned to Green Belts and Black Belts for solution. As you may have read last week, a strategic plan includes planning, adequate…

Managing Your Software Project Scope Without Creep

Have you ever managed a project that just will not end? For those projects that never seem to finish, a common cause is cited. It is not necessarily inexperience of personnel or a flawed technology, rather allowing requirements to pass in and out of the revolving door of project scope. Below are a few simple…

Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six…

3 comments

Design For Six Sigma (DFSS) Versus DMAIC

One of the most confusing issues associated with someone saying “I’m using Six Sigma” has to do with what methodology they are actually using. A majority of the time they are using the DMAIC methodology, because they have existing processes that are wasting resources (hence the big savings you’ve heard about at GE, Honeywell and…

7 comments

How to Select a Quality Improvement Project

You have identified a process improvement area within your business or department. It is easy to figure out what comes next – just fill out a team charter, select the team and team leader, form the team and get out of the way, right? Well, sort of… Why Select Projects? Selecting the right project can…

Six Sigma Q&A

Learning the Six Sigma methodology can be confusing. Even if you know the Six Sigma methodology, questions arise from co-workers or in daily activities and answers may not be readily available. To help with this problem, iSixSigma has compiled a list of questions that have been posed on the discussion forum. Below are the five…

8 comments

Finding and Selecting Good Six Sigma Projects

Obvious Areas For Improvement External Defects Anything you have recently been audited or formally rejected for Anything you haven’t been audited or rejected for, but you know is out of specification or not meeting regulations Anything you inspect and/or contain to protect the customer Anything you cover for by having a guy in the customer’s…

5 comments

Develop Correct Six Sigma Project Metrics

One of the crucial elements of the project charter in the define phase of a Six Sigma project is the selection of project metrics. Project metrics selected should reflect the voice of the customer (customer needs), as well as ensure that the internal metrics selected by the organization are achieved. Metrics selected should be simple…

3 comments

Is This a Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen Project?

This is a familiar question that is often addressed by organizations. In fact, it is the wrong question. These concepts are nothing more than tools in your management toolbox. You don’t fix a watch with a hammer, and you get the same results when you deploy Six Sigma, Lean and Kaizen incorrectly. The fact is,…

9 comments

5 Six Sigma Deployment Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

A well planned Six Sigma deployment can lead to a rewarding experience and immense benefits for an organization. On the flip side, however, a flawed deployment may lead to disappointing results – the failure of the entire deployment effort, and/or a significant waste of time and resources. There are five problems in Six Sigma deployments,…

1 comment

Use Point System for Better Six Sigma Project Selection

One common problem many companies run into when starting Six Sigma and Lean efforts is what projects to choose. If they choose unwisely, the whole effort can be stalled or abandoned because the results may not be impressive enough to gain momentum for the cause. New practitioners should be wary of an initial project that…

DMAIC Project Selection Using a Systematic Approach

The growth of the Six Sigma DMAIC continuous improvement process in the United States’ more service-oriented economy is not proceeding as fast as it did earlier in the country’s manufacturing industries. DMAIC is a well-proven process, but requires a systematic approach to project selection in transactional environments. When companies are squeezed on cost and drive…

1 comment

10 Criteria to Use for Evaluating Six Sigma Projects

Projects are the core of every Six Sigma initiative. Identifying the right projects, having skilled people on board, and providing a proper environment for project execution determines whether the intended process and business results can be achieved and whether Six Sigma will be perceived as a powerful approach to contribute to business success. A relatively…

10 comments

Project Selection in a Critical Software Environment

Careful project selection is critical to the success of a Six Sigma initiative. The best selected projects are the ones with the greatest business impact, the least effort required and the highest probability of success. Good problem statements and objectives clearly communicate the scope, significance, and goals of a project. Primary and secondary metrics will…

Using a Criteria-Based Matrix to Prioritize IT Projects

One of the common challenges for a company’s information technology (IT) department is how to prioritize IT projects that can deliver the greatest benefits to the business. A criteria-based matrix can be an effective tool in prioritizing the IT projects with just such results. The matrix is a vast improvement over allowing priorities to be…

12 comments

Six Steps to Keeping Six Sigma Project Pipeline Full

Finding and selecting the right improvement projects and developing a valuable project pipeline are crucial to the success of any Six Sigma initiative, especially when the initiative is in its infancy. If “boil the ocean” projects are selected, Black Belts and Green Belts will lose their energy and the Six Sigma initiative may fade. However,…

Roadmap Improves Radiology Processes

New London Hospital (NLH), a rural community hospital in New Hampshire, had been facing some long-standing challenges. In the radiology department, workflow and patient flow were not operating smoothly. Communication with the emergency department regarding patient preparedness was unclear, so patients often arrived unprepared and confused. Through a recent consulting engagement, the hospital received a…

Q&A with Cmdr. Stanley Dobbs

In an interview with iSixSigma, Cmdr. Stanley Dobbs shares his approach toward Lean Six Sigma project selection and execution, as well as insight into the Navy’s positive response to continuous process improvement.

15 Criteria for Selecting a Viable DMAIC Project

As anyone involved in Six Sigma knows, selecting the right project is a critical component of project success. If practitioners do not put enough effort into selecting the right opportunity for improvement, a project can end in disaster, or create unnecessary work and complexity for the project team. Selecting projects with just a few obvious…

12 comments

1-2-3 Model for Successful Six Sigma Project Selection

Providing Six Sigma project leaders with appropriate project definitions is an underestimated challenge in managing Six Sigma initiatives. Project charters typically contain project scopes too broad or too high level, with weak or unclear problem and goal statements. This can cause newly trained project leaders to use their precious time trying to “boil the ocean.”…

Process Improvement and Technology: The Virtuous Cycle

Because of information technology’s unique role as a support function in most organizations, process improvement means improving both the processes of its internal management system and the business it supports. As a matter of fact, for most organizations today information technology (IT) infrastructure and management is the backbone of all critical processes. Combine that with…

Is Your Company’s Leadership Ready for Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is not for the feint of heart. It takes courage to attack chronic problems no one has been able to solve. It takes true grit to define and collect the data needed for new insights. And, it takes staying power to see solutions become the new way of working. Is every company ready…

Using Critical Path Analysis to Prioritize Projects

An important aspect of Lean Six Sigma deployments is determining which process improvements to pursue in order to achieve business objectives. Project identification, scoping, chartering and sequencing are key elements that help guide such decisions and lead a company toward world-class quality, effectiveness and efficiency. Common process improvements include lead time reduction projects. For these…

1 comment

Selecting the Best Business Process Improvement Efforts

A business process improvement (BPI) effort is a systematic approach to help any organization optimize its underlying processes to achieve more efficient results. I use “effort” rather than “project” because I have found that using this terminology results in more motivation and less pushback on the part of Green Belts. After all, effort is truly…

Project Selection: Don’t Pan for Gold in Your Hot Tub!

One of the most frequent questions asked by software groups new to Six Sigma is something like, “What types of problems should we address with Six Sigma?” While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this sort of question, there are criteria that are universally applicable and provide a project selection framework that covers general top-level…

Select Projects Using Evaluation and Decision Tools

Across all industries, there is one area of Six Sigma that can mean the difference between success and failure of deployment: project selection. Whether the method is used in manufacturing or service organizations, the future of a deployment is always influenced by the quality of project selection. Project selection typically starts with generating ideas. The…

2 comments

Workshops Help Generate and Prioritize Project Ideas

The effective deployment of Lean Six Sigma is done through projects, one by one. While there are a myriad of issues a deployment leader needs to consider – such as training, selection of Belts or even a system for tracking project progress – project definition and scoping remain perennial issues. An improvement project can be…

3 comments

Be Consistent in Metric Selection for Six Sigma Projects

Six Sigma project metrics are typically taught in detail during Black Belt and Green Belt training classes. But the inconsistent use of these metrics after training can lead to lost opportunities and rework after a project ends. Using project metrics consistently brings enormous clarity to the impact and benefit of a Six Sigma project and…

2 comments

Systems Thinking Can Reveal Broader Project Value

Systems thinking studies how parts of a structure interrelate to form an overall system. For example, the human body is a system – and so too are healthcare organizations and the healthcare industry in general. By adopting a systems mindset that supersedes individual functions and departments, practitioners can complete strategic value analysis based on internal and…

Three Steps to Successful Six Sigma Project Selections

Project selection is one of the most critical and challenging activities faced by Six Sigma companies. Most organizations are able to identify a host of project opportunities, but the difficulty arises in sizing and packaging those opportunities to create meaningful projects. To be successful, the project selection process must be well defined and disciplined. One…

3 comments

Six Sigma Projects in the Human Resources Department

Human resources is no different than any other aspect of a business in being able to deliver Six Sigma projects with significant financial benefits to the company. Projects are directed toward the internal customer by conducting human resources functions faster and more efficiently, or toward the external customer by contributing to the ongoing transformation of…

1 comment

Storyboards Lend Structure and Discipline to Six Sigma

Six Sigma’s step-by-step approach to problem solving has benefited greatly from the development of a common toolkit, project framework and terminology. That commonality, to a large extent, has made Six Sigma a business phenomenon transcending corporate and national boundaries. However, one broadly implemented element of Six Sigma project management that is often underestimated is the…

Picking the Best Approach for the Problem at Hand

As more organizations expand their efforts into multiple process improvement methodologies, choosing the methodology to solve a particular problem can be as difficult as solving the actual problem. While simply using a problem solving methodology significantly increases the success rate of a project, choosing the correct methodology optimizes the solution process to achieve the best…

Black Belts Should Create Balanced Project Portfolios

The question is simple: What type of projects should a Black Belt be conducting or considering? There are only so many hours in a day. And there is an abundance of demands, requirements and deadlines, coupled with ever-present and growing resource constraints. Black Belts are expected to complete projects that save money, as well as…

Top 10 Questions for Lean Six Sigma Integration Partner

Many of the attendees at a recent Lean Six Sigma conference were investigating how to start a Lean and Six Sigma program in their organization. Most were very excited about Lean and Six Sigma and how it could help them introduce process improvement and customer focus to their organizational cultures. Of course, some also were…

Six Sigma Deployment Planning and Readiness Assessment

Anyone who has deployed Six Sigma, or has thought about deploying Six Sigma, is familiar with the main stumbling blocks to a successful deployment – lack of senior leader support, lack of data, longer-than-expected project cycle time, part-time Black Belt resources, and most important, poorly defined projects. Since the first financial firm started deploying Six…

Identifying Six Sigma Projects Using Customer Data – An iSixSigma Case Study

A successful business knows its customers – who they are, what their expectations are and what they think of the products or services. More importantly, a successful business continually improves its processes, reassesses its ability to meet customer needs, and gathers customer data to keep well appraised of changing customer needs and expectations. There are many…

Transforming Is/Is-Not Analysis into Multi-Benefit Tool

With a structure to identify geography, service or product, process, and the main project metric, the “is/is-not analysis” can be one of the most useful tools to sharpen the definition and scope of a Six Sigma project. (Table 1) It also has benefits for other DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) phases. Specifically, the is/is-not…

2 comments