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Greatest obstacles in implementing six sigma

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  • #41996

    six sigma hack
    Member

    Hello everyone i’m starting up a six sigma project and wanted to highlight some of the obstacles that pose the greatest problems for BBs…i had come across a survey earlier which suggested, the greatest obstacles towards implementing six sigma were as follows:
    1. Lack of good data (data gathering driving up the duration of hte project).
    2. Lack of buy-in from Top Management
    3. Lack of communication….
    Does anyone have any statistics to these? (in terms of a survey carried out etc.)  If you do, i’d really appreciate some feedback.  What do people on this forum think is the greatest obstacle to the implementation of a successful six sigma project.

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    #132348

    Tex gal
    Member

    Hack,
    I will probably be chastised for this answer by Mike, but I think lack of management buy in is the #1 reason for project implementation failure.  The reason is that you have situations like:
    1.  Projects not going past Define because team members/SMEs get pulled off to work on other priorities
    2.  Projects that reach Improve but the solutions do not get implemented because the process owner does not take ownership
    3.  Green Belts who move to other jobs and can’t finish the project in their new role
    If you really have top management support then these situations would not happen in the first place.  If the company does not see senior management supporting Six Sigma, then they tend not to either.  If management does not tie incentives/goals to Six Sigma, then it is not high priority for many folks…only the true believers (and smart) managers will still support it.
    Six Sigma does not work well as a grass roots effort!!  Lean can be implemented a lot easier in that fashion. 
    I think that inadequate data causes timelines to extend but I would question why a project was chosen with that problem in the first place.  We use availability of data as a criteria for project selection…if management wants to do one with inadequate or non-existent data, then they have to know that the timeline will be adjusted accordingly.
    Go ahead, Mike….I’m ready for the beating.
     
     
     

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    #132358

    Darth’s Grandmother
    Participant

    Agree?

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    #132371

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Six Sigma Hack,
    Why is it so important to you to highlight the obstacles?
    It seems to me that you are focused on the wrong thing.
    Perhaps a better question

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    #132372

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Sorry about that.  Not sure what happened.
    …Perhaps a better question would be: What are the best strategies to overcome obstacles?
     

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    #132379

    six sigma hack
    Member

    Thanks TexGal for your insights. HornJM, i guess my idea was to bring highlight that SS projects fail more than not because of lack of buy-in or lack of change management etc. In a way highlighting this obstacle before hand so they are more committed towards it.
     
     

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    #132380

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Similar to you, I’d like to see the data.
    There is no doubt that all the things you mentioned are obstacles and can affect the success (or failure) of a Six Sigma program.  Don’t forget your role as a Six Sigma Belt (especially Black and above) in influencing those things, though.
    The point I was trying to make in my earlier post was that I don’t believe highlighting the most common obstacles to your upper management, your project team, or whoever, is an effective strategy to overcome them.  You approach different obstacles in different ways.  I’ve found that presenting the right data to the right people never hurts.  To do that, you have to go out there and figure out what that “right” data is and collect it.  DMAIC, especially the DMA part, is how you do that.
    Just my thoughts.

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    #132382

    Texgal
    Member

    I approached things a little differently.  I started a Six Sigma program from the ground up so I had to sell the concept to the CEO and upper management since they would have to invest the money in it.  I had to do a business case that included “What could make this fail/Risks.”  I think you would be remiss not to mention the top reasons for failure, BUT you also need to include the mitigation strategy right next to it.  That is how I structured it.  If management does not know that buy in is a typical problem, they can’t do anything about it.  Yes, a Black Belt can influence things but they can’t do things like structure incentive plans to include Six Sigma goals…you can only suggest they implement such things.  By mentioning the potential risks and the ways to overcome them, management was able to provide the infrastructure and support I needed. 
    If data is not available for a project, I would caution against going after that project unless it is CRITICAL to the company’s strategy or severely broken.  I would argue it is not a good candidate for a project at that time otherwise.  If management is willing to let you go in and figure out what data is needed and then they find a way to systematically capture it going forward, that is a better option.  When you have enough data in the proper format, then you should pick it up as a project.
    My humble opinion….from experience only.
     
     

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    #132402

    Savage
    Participant

    Six Sigma Hack,
    You may want to consider the following, depending on the culture of your organization. 
    Do not discount the importance of winning people over, of selling Six Sigma to all, whether they are a project team member or not.  You understand the value of the project, your project team members understand the value of the project, but others within the organization may not.  Even those people who may agree with the data may not reach a point of enlightenment where they become advocates for the project.  So, if applicable, continue to grow your “sales” skills, continue to be an advocate of Six Sigma, and continue impress your colleagues via your interactions with them.
    Matt 

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    #132403

    Need MBB What is going rate?
    Participant

    What is the going rate for a MBB today in Vegas?

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    #132408

    Schuette
    Participant

    Like everything else in Vegas – depends on what you want done.

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    #132414

    Montovon
    Participant

    I have been working on a six sigma implementation for about 12 months.  we started working with a lean-sigma consultation group, and trained about 15 gren belts in the process.  In addition, we had one BB and are currently training three more.  We have seen all three of the obstacles that you presented.  I do beleive that it is important to recognize these three, and use them to your advantage.  You can do this not by bringing them up, but by bringing these obstacles to the forefront by making sure that you have a lot of communication with your employees in order to keep them “out of the dark”.  Let them know wht you are doing and why.  Also, you would not be there if you didn;t have at least some management support, so increase your support with your first successful project, again through communication, and metris that everyone can understand.  Finally, you will need to make sure that you stay on track as the blackbelt with your greenbelts projects.  By “forcing” them to give presentation on progress through step reviews throughout DMAIC, they will be held accountable to their results, and management will see who is giving them the ROI on their investment.  This may start out as appearing forceful, but if you have ever finished a project, the end result to the employee, along with celebration/recognition for reaching milestones, should be enough to give them motivation.  Adding the greenbelt projects to their performance appraisals can also be amotivating factor.

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    #132426

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    six sigma hack,
    When you get that response like I got from Tex Gal it kind of makes you want to back off from a response. Kind of that old S&M joke:
    M – “Beat me.”
    S – “No”
    At some point when you continue to read some of this stuff it gets a little irritating. I agree with HornJM you have a backwards strategy and possibly completely irrelevant. Why are you focused on why they fail? Instead of a defensive strategy why not build an offensive strategy? Has your company done successful change before? Yes. What made it work? Do more of that and less of the stuff that didn’t work. Build on your success – now there is an original idea.
    You have never done a large change initiative like SS? No. Start somewhere else you are probably to screwed up for it to work.
    Nobody really needs someone to highlight why this stuff fails (and I would like to see your data on “…..SS projects fail more than not because of lack of buy-in or lack of change management etc.” ). If for some reason you believe this is some level of enlightenment or original thought you do need to get a clue. I have seem enoough “Change Management” experts that stand in front of you and have sage advice of “change is difficult.” WTF? Anyone that is old enough to wear suits with long pants knows that. If you want to see people who do this for a living and can actually do something read stuff by Tom Devane or see if you can get Val Larson over at Becton Dickenson to show you what she calls “Sticky Change.”
    Bottom line it just looks like you are lining up excuses in case you fail. That is a strategy that will probably fail.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck

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    #132456

    six sigma hack
    Member

    Interesting discussion and thanks for the feedback everyone. Mike to answer your question, I believe as an instigator of change you should do your due diligence in highlighting to upper management & your GBs/BBs, what they need to do in order to make the projects work. I’m a firm believer (and continue to be) that armed with the tools and techniques most of us will probably arrive to similar solutions when applying the DMAIC cycle. What makes the difference b/w a great project which works and a great analysis which doesnt work is doing the diligence required to build a six sigma program, ensuring you are communicating with stakeholders , getting support from champions etc. Strategies may differ on how to get buy-in but to Tex Gal’s point i think pointing out mitigating strategies is not taking a negative approach and highlighting the importance of management’s role is pivotal in the success of the project.
     

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