The model for team organization known as GRPI (goals, roles and responsibilities, process, and interpersonal skills) began in the field of social science and has since been adopted into Six Sigma’s change acceleration process (CAP) tool kit. Let’s start our discussion of GRPI by establishing the context around CAP.

Change Acceleration – The Roots of GRPI

CAP is a process and set of tools focused on helping Belts drive change successfully at a desired speed. The root of CAP lies in Kurt Zadek Lewin’s Force Field Change Model. Lewin, one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational and applied psychology, highlights the following:

  • There are forces driving change and forces restraining it.
  • When there is equilibrium between the two sets of forces there will be no change.
  • In order for change to occur the driving forces must exceed the restraining forces.

As shown in the figure below, Lewin’s change model defines three stages in the process of change:

  1. Unfreezing: This is the shakeup phase triggered by a problem. The result is the acceptance that the existing structures and ways are not working.
  2. Moving: This is the process of devising and implementing the change.
  3. Refreezing: This is the phase of sustaining the change.

    Lewin’s Change Model
    Lewin’s Change Model

Lewin’s force field analysis is used to distinguish which factors within a situation or organization drive a stakeholder toward the desired state, and which factors oppose the driving forces.

Typically, when trying to bring about change, discussion focuses on managing the stakeholders, particularly stakeholders external to the project. But it is also important to focus on the team that is driving the change. The executing team must have a strong belief in and be motivated to enable the change. That belief and motivation derive from a team’s clearly defined objectives.

What Is GRPI?

GRPI is used to ensure practitioners gauge the factors critical to team development in a structured way – and act on these factors throughout the project. Teams and organizations can be viewed through GRPI based on four fundamental dimensions:

  • Goals: Are the mission and goals of the team clear and accepted by all members? Are they in tune with the team’s environment?
  • Roles and responsibilities: Are the roles and responsibilities clearly described and understood? Do the defined roles fully support the team goals?
  • Process and procedures: Are there processes and procedures operating in the group (such as problem-solving methods, communication procedures, decision-making processes, etc.) that are 1) understood and acceptable and 2) supportive to the group’s goals and roles?
  • Interpersonal relationships: Are the relationships among team members healthy and supportive of good team work? Is there an appropriate level of trust, openness and acceptance in the group? The I of GRPI is a function of the G, R and P. In order to achieve the I, there are two important items to keep in mind: 1) effective communication and 2) conflict avoidance and resolution.

GRPI is a simple framework for any project and should be used 1) when initiating a team and planning the first steps and 2) when a team is not working well and it is not clear why not.

During a process improvement project, GRPI can be initiated in any phase but for optimal use should be deployed in the Define phase of a DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) project, and be modified and updated as needed as the project progresses.

A GRPI Example

A sample GRPI checklist is shown below in Table 1. For each of the checkpoints, a current state is evaluated. (The current state is highlighted with blue, while the desired state is highlighted with green.) The ideal desired state is a perfect 10, but a desired state is also determined by available time. Table 1, for example, shows the current versus desired states for a situation based on a one-month timeframe.

 Table 1: GRPI Checklist












 Purpose and Outcomes    
 We understand and have an agreement on our project’s mission and the desired outcome (vision).                      
 Customer and Needs  
 We know our stakeholders, what the stakeholders require and the CTQs.                      
 Goals and Deliverables  
 We have identified specific, measurable and prioritized project goals and deliverables linked to our project goals.                      
 Project Scope Definition  
 We understand and agree upon what is in and out of our project scope and tasks. The project scope is “set.”                      


 Roles and Responsibilities  
 We have defined and agreed upon our roles, responsibilities and resources for the project team.                      
 Authority and Autonomy  
 Our team understands the degree of authority and empowerment we have to meet our project mission.                      


 Critical Success Factors  
 We know and are focusing on the key factors needed to meet the project goals and mission.                      
 Plans and Activities  
 We have an effective game plan to follow that includes the right tasks, clearly defined and assigned.                      
 Monitoring and Measures  
 We have an effective monitoring process and specific metrics linked to progress and goals.                      
 Schedule and Milestones  
 We have defined our project schedule, including the key phases and milestones.                      


 Team Operating Agreement  
 We have shared expectations as well as agreed upon and followed guidelines for how our team works and communicates.                      
 We have the necessary relationships, trust, openness, participation and behaviors for a healthy and productive team.                      
  Current state  
  Desired state  
Using GRPI helps ensure that a project team is productive, minimizing ramp-up time and re-work.
Without meaningful and clearly defined goals, team members may be unfocused or go down unproductive paths. Without clear roles, people are hesitant to exercise initiative; as a result, collaboration is weakened and leadership potential is lost. Interpersonal trust and collaboration, buy-in and alignment happen when GRPI is used early in a project and when the I of GRPI is routinely tended to with process checks.
It is most productive to take the model in order: effective goals first, then roles, then process and, finally, interpersonal relationships.
After assessing the current state of a project team through the GRPI checklist, an action plan should be developed to move from the current state to the desired state. The following table provides a quick reference to some critical tools that may be used to close the gap.
 Table 2: GRPI Tools Reference
 GRPI Category  Subcategory  Six Sigma Tool/Concept


 Purpose and outcomes  Identification of business “Big Y”
 Customer and needs  ? Stakeholder analysis (customer segmentation)
 ? Voice of each stakeholder
 Goals and deliverables  Project Y metric and alignment to business “Big Y”
 Project scope definition  ? In-frame/out-frame
 ? Include/exclude


 Roles and responsibilities  ARMI (approval, resource, member, interested party) or RACI (responsibility, accountability, consultation, inform) charting
 Authority and autonomy  ARMI/RACI charting



 Critical success factors  ? More of/less of
 ? Critical success factor charting



 Effective communication, conflict avoidance and resolution  Communication plan

The model should be reviewed periodically to monitor team performance.

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