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  • #37813

    JLow
    Participant

    My company was implementing the 6 Sigma organization on August 2004. Now is the 6 Sigma Wave 1. All the 6 Sigma teams already reached Improve stage. But most of them can’t meet the objective. The objective of each project is set to 50% improvement during the Define stage. Some teams improved 40% on defect rate, some team got 30% reduction. My question is: do their projects success?
    The period of a 6 Sigma project is about 4 months. For the projects I mentioned above, if they are unsuccessful, should I close these?
    After I closing this project, can I re-implement / re-do the same project title in Wave 2 which was unsuccessful in Wave 1? If so, what is the period for me to complete this project? Still take 4 month to complete?
    Hope someone can answer my questions. Thanks a lots.

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    #112187

    Darth
    Participant

    I assume you picked the 50% improvement out of the air and made it up.  A 30-40% improvement might actually be very good depending on the project and the process you were improving.  How did your Champions justify the 50%?  There is no answer to your question since we don’t know the potential that each project had.  But, from my perspective, 30-40% improvement is better than what you had before you did the project so I would celebrate and analyze each project as to what was the TRUE potential and how did the teams do against that, not against some phony 50% target.  Yes, a four month completion time for a typical project is pretty good.

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    #112193

    NewBB
    Participant

    To build on Darth’s comment, we have found that – especially in the early stages of company deployment – celebration of the effort is very important. I’m making sure that our company newsletters carry six sigma stories, complete with pictures of the cross functional group of team members.   
    Additionally, we are doing post-mortems on all projects and are getting better at the first cut at improvement potential.We are still wrestling with the time it takes to do a project, 4 to 6 months is the average. This is slowly being reduced through an effort to install performance metrics throughout the corporation 

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    #112195

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    JLow,
    Who ever is running your deployment is a complete idiot. Apply some common sense – if you are given a project that is 1 sigma with a 50% target and a 4 sigma project with a 50% target. The 1 sigma person is getting their goal with a process map and the 4 sigma person is actually having to use a few tools.
    That 4 month nonsense about a project is almost as stupid as the 50% improvement. Probably have one of those red hot project tracking systems where you let the projects wander all over and keep score. It is program management. Lean to classify projects on the front end and set expectations – they do not need to take 4 months.
    Good luck – you will need it.

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    #112216

    JLow
    Participant

    To Mike Carnell,
    Yes, You right. The completion of a proiject is depend on the Sigma level. You made a good comparison between 1 and 4 sigma project.
    Here, I still have a question. For example, I did a 1 sigma project. After few months, I just improved the project to 2 sigma level. My champion justified to close my project since it take quiet a long time. After closing the project, can other team re-do the same project title?
    Regards,
    JLow

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    #112226

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    JLow,
    You can do anything you want nobody will put you in Six Sigma jail. This your deployment not the Champions – stop asking permission and do what you think is right. If the Champion doesn’t like it tell them to get certified and do a better job, then you will listen to them.
    Now after that little purging. When you close a project you should go back through the project selection process. (you have a project selection process? not just a Champion sitting in a corner using thumb suck data for projects) If it sticks its head up again on a Pareto do it one more time. It is what they used to call the pimple principle in geology class – if it sticks up when you are shaving it gets cut off.
    You seem to have a run and shoot deployment going on. Just my opinion but you are well on your way to a failed deployment. The deployment seems to lack a defined governance structure. You need to talk to someone who has a little experience (locally) at more than one deployment and talk to each other about how you are going to run the deployment. Talk to people who have run deployments not someone who has just done projects.
    Good luck
     

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    #112237

    AlexP
    Participant

    Dear Mike,
    You mentioned project selection process in the previous post. Could you please tell me how the project selection and prioritization is made ? Is there a standard method? (use of pareto for e.g.?) I would really appreciate if you could give me some information. I’m a student and i’m thinking of using AHP to create a general model for project selection.
    Kind Regards
    Alex  

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    #112309

    CaptainMinitab
    Participant

    Most companies have goals, or targets – whether they are weekly, monthly, quarterly…whatever. Projects should be selected such that when completeld successfully, achieving and surpassing these organizational targets gets easier and easier. Then it is time to raise the bar…

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    #112314

    AlexP
    Participant

    Dear CaptainMinitab,
    I understand the first part of your post (company targets etc) I have 2 question though
    1) How can you know that the project will be successful before starting it?
    2) In case you have, lets say 6 projects, how can you prioritize the projects ? Which one should start first? Is there a method that will justify your selection ? Because project selection and prioritization based on subjective judgement might be wrong. I want to use Analytic Hierarchy Process in order to select and prioritize six sigma projects and I would like to know if there is another tool as good as AHP to do it? Does it worth spending time on that for my thesis ? I am not a BB and i havent found and journals related to this subject that’s why i want the opinion of all you that have come across this stage a number of times
    Kind Regards
    Alex  

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    #112333

    mjones
    Participant

    Alex-
    Selection of projects typically should have three considerations:
    1. Is it aligned with organizational goals? Example: A ‘great project’ that requires expansion in an product/service area that the company is moving away from is not a ‘great project.’
    2. What has the most “pain” or opportunity as measured in terms of time, quality, cost, customer satisfaction?
    3. Are there obvious risk factors that mitigate initiating the project? Example: Which is a better project? (1) potential of $1 million return with likelihood of success of 1/1,000,000; or (2) potential return of $200,000 and a 90% chance of success.
    The Pareto principle obviously applies. Attack the biggest problems/opportunities first!
    How can you be sure there will be an actual return? You cannot. You can only decide where you have the greatest need or opportunity and focus your efforts there. That is what good managers do. Or, you can choose to do nothing, to wring your hands in worry that the work will not pay off. And what is the return on that investment?
    There are many papers and several books with info on this subject. But, as a thesis topic? I don’t know. I’d think the principles are rather common knowledge. It is the implementation that is the real challenge. Now, if your thesis clearly substantially improves success in actual implementation….
    Best regards!

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    #112338

    Rabindra Ray
    Participant

    Hi Alex,
    If you are looking for a tool or a method, you may consider the Cause & Effect Matrix tool for prioitizing the projects. The columns will represent various criteria (see three suggested by mjones or other considerations). The rows in the table will be your projects. For each project you have different scores for these criteria. Columns (criteria) are assigned different weights on a scale of 1 to 10. A composite score for a project may be obtained by multiplying the score for each criteria by its weight and adding the multiplication results. You can then rank the composite scores for all projects and use a Pareto for graphical analysis.
    The real problem is not so much the tool but how you come up with the scores. Some of the outcome (such as ipmrovement %, risks etc.) are not known until the project is done. Your final selection will be as good as the scores assigned.
    Rabindra Ray

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    #112341

    Jeffrey Pellenz
    Participant

    You may also want to try using QFD (Quality Functional Deployment).  Definition found here:  https://www.isixsigma.com/dictionary/Quality_Function_Deployment-305.htm
    Some companies make software facilitating QFD, but I’m sure you could get away with prioritization matrices, etc. 
    One of the keys to successful project identification is your team composition.  Bringing together a diverse team of people (e.g. sales, engineering, contracts, quality, Six Sigma, etc…) to develop the criteria and weighting is key if you want to identify the importance to your business as a whole. 

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    #112481

    Jha
    Participant

    Hi Alex,
    There is no tool to know if a project will be successful, because the success of a project mainly depends on effective implementation. Selecting a project starts with identifying a need or a defect in the existing process. Identify who is going to be immediate beneficiary of your project and discuss with them to work out the magnitude of the problem. Then state the problem and goal in quantitative terms. A goal put in quantitative terms should be enough for you to prioritize the projects. QFD should be done only after you start the project, in the define phase. If you do QFD for all the projects for prioritizing them, it means you are halfway through the desigin phase. So technically you have started all the projects, just to decide which project to choose. So dont waste much time in trying to identifying a tool for prioritizing the projects. I hope this answers all your questions.

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    #112497

    elusive_fish
    Participant

    Hi Alex,
    AHP is an interesting tool that I’m sure could have it’s place in the BB/GB’s repetoire.  However, the two set backs I see for using it are as such:
    1/ It would take a lot of asking repetitive, annoying questions to stake holders to develop the AHP.  It may be hard to get buy in to spend time in this way.
    2/ AHP is great if you don’t know the relative weightings of the criteria… why couldn’t you just weight project selection criteria much more simply like in a YX diagram, without having to look at each of their importances in regards to each other first. 
    If this was me, I would create the criteria and weightings with senior management input – after all, they will be the ones to look at the projects/program as a whole and determine whether it is a success of failure.  Try and capture these criteria and weighting (this could be done with AHP, but I’m pretty sure they won’t like all the questions!)
    I don’t know if I’ve helped or not… but have a good day :)

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    #112514

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    AlexP,Sorry about disappearing on you but I spent a couple days on an airplane and have been jet lagged for the last few days (excuses – sorry).Indulge me for a quick story. Charles Schultz (Peanuts cartoon) tells the story of laying awake at night and asking “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to him “This is going to take more than one night.” So will project selection.I will probably get my butt hammered for this (sorry iSixSigma) but I had an article published in Six Sigma Forum magazine (ASQ) about managing a Project Pipeline. There is no way I can cram all that in here and it is only part of the story. The other part is characterizing projects – because regardless of all the mindless dribble about projects taking 6 months – not all projects are the same so your expectations shouldn’t be either. The entire process – womb to tomb needs to be mapped and managed and that is an even longer discussion and the benefits capture needs to run parallel with the whole thing.The interesting part is that most of the guru’s won’t touch this one with a 10 foot pole (just over 47 cm) because most don’t have a clue. Just a hint – if you get some matrix with arbitrary scales like effort, effect, impact, etc. – run. They don’t understand it any better than you.There was a non answer answer.Good luck.

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    #112519

    AlexP
    Participant

    Thank you all for your replies. I think i’ll try it just to see how it works (with AHP instead of the matrix proposed ) and to satisfy my curiosity :) Additional comments and suggestions are of course always welcome.
    Kind Regards,
    Alex   

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    #112521

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    AlexP,Good luck. Don’t let this one slip away it will have more effect on the outcome of your deployment than anything else you do.Regards

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    #112526

    Ron
    Member

    JLow,
    The thought that on day 1 of a project inception you know that your achievement will be 50% is ludicrous but good for a day 1 goal. The deliverable from the define phase is to build a compelling business case for the project. Caution overstating your goal will eventually bite you in the @#$.
    The deliverable from the measure phase is a focused problem statement based on the data you have gathered and a resizing of your project goals as appropriate.
    One measure I always place on the project i mentor is a % of the goal metric which rates the success of a project.
    An improvement of 20 30 or 40% should be a raving success! Absolutely close out the project celebrate and if there is additional potential for more savings at a later date revisit it.

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    #112531

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Ron,Nobody has an objective of delivering a compelling business case out of Define. It had better have a compelling business case before it gets given to a belt to work on. The only thing the belt should be doing is tightening the numbers up.If you have a metric of % of the goal met and it is anything less than 100% then that is what you get less than 100%. if less than 100% is acceptable to close a project then the goal was wrong.20-30-40% is not a raving success. On a good day it is less than mediocre and on a process of less than 3 sigma it was a waste of time.

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    #112532

    Mikel
    Member

    Mike,
    The good news for Ron is that he will always be able to make the case to go back with another project.

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    #112537

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,I don’t understand why people continually put time and effort into training belts and then think it makes sense to use them to rework a screwed up project selection process.Am I missing something?Regards

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    #112545

    Markert
    Participant

    Lost: Reward if found. Please return to Mike Carnell. Previous residence in SA, then a series of airports. Now somewhere maybe on the east coast, maybe on the Gulf Coast, maybe on the Mexican coast.
    Have lost 8 1/2 feet of my consutants 10 foot pole. Lost somewhere in the ore fields of SA, maybe broken by mega-carrier transporting 100 ton loads of ore. May have been damaged by uncaring airline handler. May have been worndown by use as a walking stick as a globe trotter. If you find it please contact. Using only just over 47cm (18 inch) of my 10 foot pole puts me in great danger when I have my rum goggles on, although several very inappropriate but funny stories about the human anatomy and depth perception do come to mind.
    If found in good shape, please post on ww.consultantsfoot10pole.com and will contact you.

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    #112547

    AlexP
    Participant

    Exaclty. That was my point. To prevent this situation. I totally agree with you Mike.
    Kind Regards,
    Alex

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    #112570

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Phil,Nice catch. S/B 304.8 cm.Will be on the Gulf Coast (actually Galveston but it is better than nothing) by this evening and with any luck the cell and the computer will be in Houston.Regards

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    #112571

    Mikel
    Member

    Have some oysters and a shot of tequila for me.
    I’ll be looking at the snow covered banks of the Clinton River listening to Steve Earle, eating Canadian oysters with some Rain vodka. Not bad – Texas, Canada and Kentucky while in Michigan woods. The cell phone and computer will not be with me.

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    #112572

    Anand Mishra
    Participant

    Prime Time TOS is a real pain area as it leads to a huge loss to the company.

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    #112574

    Brion Hurley
    Participant

    Shouldn’t the project success be dependent on the impact to the company in dollars? If I get a 10% reduction in rework, which yields $150,000 per year, that may be a better project than one that gets an 80% improvement in cycle time, but may equate to only $25,000. It always comes back to money. Getting caught up in % improvement and forgetting about money will eventually cause your six sigma initiative to fail, despite the improvements made.

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    #112576

    Mikel
    Member

    The problem, of course, is that Leadership would have to change behaviors and get involved.
    Project selection is not rocket science (of course knowing the rocket scientist we do, we know that rocket science is not all its cracked up to be either). Leadership has a clear vision of who they are (the old Rayl offering the mirror trick), a clear vision of who they need to become (market directions, VOC, growth – all that Porter and Hlavacek stuff), a clear way of disseminating this into the organization (PD/Hoisin), projects should flow from there and the sanity check of it being a good project is simple.
    Put a Six Sigma project on this and one of the following unwelcome messages come back –
    1) We don’t really have a strategy
    2) We don’t communicate strategy well
    3) We measure and reward things other than strategic issues.
    If you are going to put a project on this make sure the champion really is a champion. They will get the opportunity to demonstrate their skills (I would want Marty – “cooperate or I’ll help you”).

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    #112577

    chung king
    Participant

    To avoid pain, Anand, consider:
    ‘Of all the thirty-six alternatives, running away is best.’

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    #112586

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,Just got a CD of Iron Butterfly and In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida for Christmas and it will work for the drive down. A Sheryl Crow CD for the beach. Unfortunately it is cold down here right now. Snow is nice to look at – it is the gettin in it part that sucks.Regards

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    #112587

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,My favorite Martyism “Think of me as your priest. You can cofess your sins or I will read you your last rights.” From a guy that looks like Papa Smurf.Regards

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    #112588

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    hbomb7,Money is always a factor in the decision but it cannot be the only criteria. We work in mining right now which is incredibly dangerous. We frequently don’t have the system to quantify the benefits but we have committed to 20% Safety, Health, Environment and Community projects. Nobody in Management or the Belts object to this even though we have not backed down on the dollar target or the time frame to deliver it. We still do the financial analysis because there is a cost associated with every project including the one that don’t carry an ROI.Just my opinion.Good luck

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