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Champions generating Project Ideas

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  • #39981

    SSS
    Member

    Hi,
    I need help as my Champions cannot generate project ideas. I can take a project idea and turn it into a well defined project. However, I need help to help my champions come up with “things” to improve or fix.
    What can I do to help my Champions to come up with project ideas?
    Thanks, Sandy

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    #122943

    Jeff
    Participant

    I have had the exact same problem here at our company. We had several black belts, but needed our champions to come up with good projects for them. As black belts, we can go out and find the projects ourselves if needed, but the champions should be the one’s doing in, and should be the ones who want the projects done. We recently gave our champions retraining in the DMAIC steps, but more importantly, taught them the tools of the recognize phase and how to properly fill out a statement of work that I had recently learned at MBB training. The SOW’s have not started pouring in yet. In the end, the top managment of your company need to hold the champions feet to the fire to get projects out of them. Maybe a set amount of projects from each champion could be required? We also are setting up a Six Sigma Council including the champions to review project ideas each month. Sounds like a standard problem for a lot of companies! Good luck!

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    #122946

    Kris Brazeal
    Participant

    Sandy,
    Great question.  Many companies struggle with this.  When I have worked with Champions in the past, there are a few options.  One is to determine where you have some customer feedback being collected (email surveys, complaint dept, etc) and then try and have them pick some areas where there seems to be the greatest issues.  If you have some high-level process maps, you can align the process area where potential projects could be to these issues.  If these align with your companies strategic imperatives, then you could have a valuable project.
    Kris Brazeal

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    #122952

    Ben Royal
    Participant

    Sandy,
    We are facing the same problem. In the last issue of iSixSigma magazine there was an article by Mike Carnell and Scott Shank on filling the pipeline that is helpful. Maybe he will comment here, too. In the same issue was a benchmarkuing article on Project Selection. I also found lots of articles via Google.
    We finally decided on setting some guidelines re: savings, alignment to goals, customers feedback and internal issues, then will meet soon in a brainstorming session.
    Good luck.
    Ben R.

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    #122958

    Trevor
    Member

    For those of you soliciting help and project ideas, there is a very humorous cartoon on the isixsigma blogs. It can be found here:
    http://blogs.isixsigma.com/blog.asp?bi=90
    Trev

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    #122974

    Mikel
    Member

    Kris,
    Great advice from a consultant.
    Ever thought of getting good champions that understand what the company is trying to accomplish and get invited to strategy discussions?

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    #122976

    Kris Brazeal
    Participant

    Stan,
    I think that is a great idea.  Having Champions that understand the business is key.  Doesn’t really address the question however of where to look for potential problems.  I am assuming that in the original question from SSS that they are having meetings, but it sounds like the problem lies in trying to determine WHERE problems are that need to be fixed.  Perhaps SSS can clarify. 
    Kris Brazeal 

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    #122977

    Mikel
    Member

    Projects flow from strategy. Anything else is a joke.

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    #122978

    Jeff
    Participant

    Has anyone had much training in the recognize phase? I had not heard of it in my BB training, but spent a lot of time reviewing it in MBB training. It happens before the Define phase, and helps guide you to good SS projects.  There are a lot of good tools like drill down paretos. Do a pareto of you top production interrupters and drill down to find the root causes. That should give you some good projects. The Champions can also do some waste walks or time studies or teach them cause and effect tools they can use to determine causes/projects.

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    #122982

    Darth
    Participant

    We provide 2-3 day workshops on project identification for Project Sponsors and Champions.  As Stan said, it all starts with the strategic imperatives of the organization, flows down to the process level, gathers information and metrics about the current process outcomes, evaluates each potential project and then prioritizes them and finally we have the Sponsor write the first draft of the Project Charter.  We always have a long pipeline of projects to choose from that we are confident can have some impact and link to the strategic goals of the organization. 

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    #122988

    HF Chris
    Participant

    Darth,
    I wish my organization had adhered to the integration of all projects with strategy. Problem I’m running into is multiple business diagnostics have been initiated from one end of the spectrum to the other, but many do not realize they overlap with areas and how they affect each other. I’m trying to start a coordinated effort on one line as a benchmark to the other business pursuits. We are killing are stakeholders in numbers every time someone walks in with a new idea or project.
    Chris

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    #123025

    Ben Roual
    Participant

    Darth,
    Good stuff in your post. Especially like the Sponsor writing the first draft of the project charter. This step should make them think a little more before filling the pipeline with fluff.
    Ben
     

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    #123394

    Chris M
    Participant

    Guys,
    We have all heard the consultants speak. (I am also one of them). But if you are looking for projects NOW. Then look at your P&L sheet and OPEX challenges.
    Improve any one of these and management will look for you. It is all down to the bottom line.

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    #123397

    Deanb
    Participant

    Another way to look at the task of finding projects is to consider that there are 3 major project beneficiary groups: Owners (P&L), Customers (external), and Customers (internal). I think it is always good to be targeting improvements in all 3 areas. Sometimes you get lucky, or you have the golden touch, to make a project touch all 3. The problem with the strategic emperative approach is strategies often over emphasize the first beneficiaries (owners) and under estimate the importance of the 3rd beneficiary group (internal customers). This is a common problem in strategy, which flows down into the six-sigma. Helping the workers experience less hassle and frustration is also strategic. These project ideas typically must come from the workers themselves.

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    #123398

    Joe S.
    Participant

    Prior to becoming a black belt, I was our service operations manager and one of the tools I used to develop improvement areas for each year was a SWOT analysis (Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats). 
    Each year every manager would complete a SWOT analysis of their area and have a plan to address the Weaknesses and Threats.
    What we are implementing now, is to have 6 Sigma projects address the biggest Weakness, Opportunity or Threats from a managers area.

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    #123410

    Ward
    Participant

    Hi, I opened this site for the first time today and think it is very good. I would like to pitch in with a suggestion. You need to go and look for what hurts most. Best experience I’ve made up to now is to pick the largest returns, claims etc and work backwards up the process to see what when wrong where. Also zoom in on customer feedback but remember those internal customers too.
    Pete

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    #123415

    Q
    Participant

    I believe they have termed that as “More bang for the buck”.  We choose the projects that will bring the largest results for smallest amount of expenditures.  This is a good idea except for when companies (like mine) have decided not to spend money at all.  All those good ideas just go right down the drain.

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    #123448

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    SSS,
    Frequently you may have to get a crowbar and pry their butt out of their office chair but in the end it is a test of wills. It is like the first time you cut the grass when you were a kid – it ends up being your job. If the pipeline runs dry just publish the weekly results to your CEO that the BB’s & GB’s are sitting because they don’t have projects (no different than if you let a line go down without material) – someone is going to get a phone call.
    There is definately always a contingent that does not want to get engaged and prefers to sit on the sidelines and p_ss all over everything like a drunken alley cat.
    We take idea submission from anyone. The person we hold accountable for turning an idea submission into a charter and estimate the financial benefits is the Process Owner. It is pretty basic – teach them how to find projects – walk them through it. If in fact you have a Champion/Process Owner who doesn’t seem to be able to turn an idea into a project and this is your management – you need to update your resume.
    Speaking of drunken alley cats the sun is going down and we still have some Herradura Darth left.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #123463

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    Hi,
    As Darth mentioned in a posting a few days back, numerous projects will be generated if the ‘Recognize’ (which also encroaches into Define) phase is done, in the form of workshops with senior managers.
    Run thru the 6 step approach…..
    1. What is the process? (core & enabling)
    2. What is the deliverable of the process? (why the process exists)
    3. Who are the customers?
    4. What do they care about? (what they want from the process output)
    5. Find out what data is available that indicates how well the process(s)currently meets each critical customer care about.
    6. Find out the ‘gap’ data (how the critical process(s) deviates away from what the customer cares about) – then identify a process owner.
    run through these 6 steps with snr management for each of the areas they may have responsibility for, such as Production / QA / Logistics etc, a good workshop will take at least 2 days, but it may generate numerous projects.
    Last time we did this (in the BU) it took almost 3 days, but generated 7 projects, ranging from $10k savings (3 week project) to $130k (3 month project)
    & it also highlighted to the CEO that the BB’s were actively looking for projects, but needed the assistance of the snr management to assist in the alignment of projects to strategic / business needs.
    hope this helps
    John
     
     

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    #124188

    JD
    Participant

    Darth,
    We could really use a better way to set expectations of our current champions as well as a tool for developing futrue champions.  Would you be interested is sharing material or slides from your 2-3 day workshop for Project Sponsors and Champions?
    JD

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    #124189

    Darth
    Participant

    JD, let’s talk offline @aol.com">DrDarth66@aol.com
     

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    #124198

    Darth
    Participant

    JD,
    My email response to you came back twice as undeliverable.  Let me know if there is a problem or an alternative way to respond.

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    #176135

    Julian
    Participant

    Great advise and I completely agree with you. A follow on question is ‘do you perform this strategic alignment to identify SS project on yearly basis as part of your for example, fall/spring business planning cycle?

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    #176137

    annon
    Participant

    Start by following the money
    Actively choose the right champion, don’t allow the wrong one to be bestowed upon you
    Determine how they are bonused….focus there.
    Take ownership in teaching them how to write a decent charter
    Good luck.
     

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