iSixSigma

DMAIC Tollgates

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  • #54064

    Gina Gentile
    Participant

    Would you allow seasoned, certified belts to combine any of the DMAIC tollgates?

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    #193361

    Eric Maass
    Guest

    Hi Gina,

    There is some value in the discipline and rigor of requiring tollgates for each stage. However, since you ask, yes – I probably would allow a seasoned, certified belt to combine certain tollgates if it promoted efficiency without degrading effectiveness. It’s pretty common for some of these stages to overlap, so – for example – I could see a Define / Measure combined tollgate, or similarly an Improve / Control tollgate, where the deliverables for both adjacent stages would be reviewed.

    Best regards,
    Eric

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    #193364

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    @ginagentile2000 Since I’m on a leadership bender, let’s recognize that tollgates are not for the belts. So the answer is yes, I would allow a change agent with demonstrated skill to skip all tollgates if the leadership is not scheduling regular reviews.

    I also don’t think it’s at end of a phase since anyone who has ever really done this in an aggressive environment knows, the phases are not clear and distinct. The reviews should be regularly scheduled and heavily attended by site leadership. Any who takes an answer of “I’ll be in the _________ (fill in the blank) phase four weeks from now” deserves what they get. The answer should be clear as to activities to be undertaken, and committed progress to be made. The review should start with “this is what I committed to four weeks ago and either a) this is what I learned, or b) I faced these barriers and this is what my champion did to help me get back on track”.

    Leadership also has to act immediately and decisively on barriers. And if the barriers are brought up for the first time in a review, the change agent and their champion should be advised of appropriate behavior publicly in the review.

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    #193631

    Jim Ha
    Participant

    Possible to combine Improve Control tollgates

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    #193633

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @ginagentile2000 I am going with Gary Cone ( @garyacone)on this. The tollgate was never meant to be a mentoring session for the MBB/BB to meet with the people they are responsible for (BB’s or GB’s). If you are a MBB mentoring BB’s or a BB mentoring GB’s then you should be meeting with these people on a regular basis (weekly) so you are a resource not a manager. By the same token the mentoring sessions should not require some formal presentation – that was valuable working time. Your first sign you have the wrong person for an MBB is if they require formal presentations at working sessions. Even the tollgate doesn’t need to be a formal presentation but it does need to be organized and comprehensible.

    When we run a tollgate it is normally to get a group of people together i.e. fincance, sponsor, MBB, BU manager, etc with the belt to update them on the project progress. Generally it is meant to make sure everyone is on the same page about where the project is.

    As Gary mentioned this is not a process where things are coreographed like ballroom dancing. There are frequently different parts to a project solution that move at their own speed. Having the expectation that everything moves at the same speed is going to be either disappointing or you will retard some of the results trying to manage the whole thing through at the same speed. If we run into a Just Do It during measure it wouldn’t make any sense to wait for everything to go through Control before you implement it. That being said everything needs to go through Control before it is implemented simply because it makes sense to take a Just Do It through Control so you don’t find out later it wasn’t quite that straight forward.

    At the end of the day you need to do what makes sense. Nobody goes to Six Sigma jail if you change something. This is your program so do what you think is right. There is nothing worse than having the Continuous Improvement program so anchored in bureaucracy that it is part of the organization that does not Continuously Improve.

    Just my opinion.

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    #193636

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    Both Mr. C’s are spot on of course. I just wanted to add 2 more cents…(probably for others who might be interested in perspective)–make very sure some review has occurred for a project by the end of the Define/Measure phases. The phases often overlap but if the belts’ projects are reviewed with others for financial and strategic importance, appropriate scope, and appropriate team support then you have a MUCH better chance of % success for project completion.

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    #193643

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @cseider I do agree with you that review is important but I think that the MBB review is much more critical and should be much more frequent. A tollgate is more of a final test type activity. If you begin to get to many failures at that point you need to start checking on the MBB and see if they know what they are doing.

    In terms of strategic importance that should be the responsibility of the people who select projects. This is part of why BB’s don’t select projects. It is a very small company that has a BB with the visibility to really determine what is and is not of strategic importance. Financial resources should be accessable at any point. Any time a project moves from its original projection by 10% or more then you nee someone to look at the numbers and make sure it is real.

    If you can do this you will have a MUCH better chance of NOT wasting your time on projects that DON’T mean anything.

    JUST my opinion.

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    #193645

    Thomas Whitney
    Guest

    @ginagentile2000 @garyacone @Mike-Carnell @cseider
    OH BOY, another forum to talk about “rhythms of reviews” and project work. In my mind and in the strictest sense tollgate reviews are technical reviews between the mentor and project teams. The content of the tollgate reviews are appropriate to management reviews as has been said above. They demonstrate that projects are on schedule to a committed timeline with lessons learned and needed assistance from management to continue. In addition projects are deleted, downsized (project to just do it) or additional needed projects defined and approved. But, project reviews must be in context of the normal business/process reviews and not a “review of the LSS projects” as is often the case. How projects fit into improvement needs of business/process metrics is then clear. Below are some thoughts I have towards what is the normal business/process review rhythm and where project reviews fit in the normal business review process. I am kind towards management in this discussion. This is an excerpt from a larger discussion on how deploy LSS, to pick appropriate metrics and projects and project team deployment so it may seem a little fragmented.

    Managers and supervisors must be taught how to manage processes improvement. An LSS deployment, typically mandated from senior management, is probably a good sign that processes are out of control to the business needs. This implies there is some gap in lower managements’ skills or capability to direct and sustain process improvement. Their world is probably one frantic in activity related to fire fights, reporting requirements and overwhelming supervisory responsibilities, especially where the employee to supervisor ratio is high (and they usually are). The leader of the LSS deployment will at first be seen a someone that will fix a myriad of problems and their will be a sense of relief from the supervisors and managers that someone like this has entered the organization. The LSS manager is typically hit with all the nasty little problems that haven’t been solved in years as an offload. This is a big pitfall if not managed. A clear expectation must be set as to what constitutes an LSS project and what does not. It must be made clear that the major role of the LSS leader with respect to supervisors and managers in the deployment is to teach them how to participate in process improvement and then how to keep the gains made by the effort.

    Mandatory in the management role for an LSS deployment is to help establish and maintain a rhythm of review. There are three components to the rhythm (Note: in the long run the LSS leader participation is replaced by process owners or appropriate operations people).

    • Line Charts: On the LSS leader side Y variable and critical X variable charts will be designed and put in prominently visible positions on the line. Data on Key Y variables and proven critical X variables need to be plotted at least hourly. The rhythm involves supervisors and managers at set intervals to “walk the line” and initial and make short comments on both X variable and Y variable charts, especially for good performance. They need to have some discussion with line personnel as to the variation in performance. Business Unit Managers need to do it at least once per day across shifts; Mid managers at least once per shift; Supervisors two to three times per shift.
    • Shift Reviews: On the LSS leader side a system to have Y variable performance quantified and at least a Pareto of known sources of variation displayed needs development. How projects tie to the Pareto is identified. New action register items are documented. An action item register is a list of the corrective action tasks to be completed for just do it items or project findings or needs. They provide the “who, what, where, and when” details of corrective action. The shift review capitalizes on the managers’/supervisors’ and subject matter experts’ ability in making decisions and assigning resources and completion dates around corrective action items in the register. Poor performance to completion dates need to be addressed quickly and with emphasis.
    • Weekly Plant Staff/Business Unit Review: On the LSS leader side an organized review of Y variable performance is populated. Projects needing support in championing corrective action, resource shortfalls and recommendations on project deletions, downsizing or additions are addressed based on Y variable variation. This is a good place to allow Black Belts and Green belts to present finished projects/major tollgate work or projects needing high-level support such as capital funding or outside help.

    Hope this helps

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    #193650

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    @Mike-Carnell
    We totally agree on higher frequency of MBB reviews compared to mgmt reviews. [Said, with no caps :) ]

    Hmmm, @twhitney99 You are trying to stretch the scope of this blog, aren’t you!
    Tom, I have started reviewing those other documents you sent but they are very ethereal and give me headaches so patience is required.

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    #193653

    Thomas Whitney
    Guest

    @cseider The documents do tend to be so!
    @ginagentile2000

    Scope Stretch – Maybe;Maybe not

    If I were to ask, “I have a P vale of .25. Are my findings statistically significant?
    I will suggest the answer is, “It depends”

    The original question is the same. It depends on the audience and context of the tollgate review.
    If the organization holds separate meetings for DMAIC reviews I will suggest the leadership team, bottom top, probably sees the reviews as just another meeting for work some other silo is doing. This has been my experience. There is no context for them.
    If everyone has a stake in the game because projects are tied to the important Quality, Waste or Throughput goals that are tied to their bonus, they may be more interested. Even so, if the reviews are more technical reviews than business reviews they will still wander in interest.

    So to answer the question in terms of what may be of interest to the mgmt it would be to combine any set of tollgates when sufficient need for some part of the mgmt team to actually get dirty in the project is discovered. Be simple and clear as to what their responsibility to the project is. Is it a need to set up hourly data collection; is it a need to support action register items; is it more capital funding; are more resources needed etc?

    A rhythm of review needs to be a mandatory rhythm of review where each of these typical project roadblocks are appropriately handled from leadership, top to bottom.

    What percent of projects started, BB & GB, are actually finished and get good support in your experience. In mine, maybe 20% GB and 50% BB because there is no structure for appropriate reviews and mgmt response. When I say finished I mean that a control plan has been defined and actually implemented!

    So am I expanding the scope or no?

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