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How to choose a project?

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  • #27719

    JB
    Participant

    I’ve been selected by my company, Eaton, to attend their comprehensive Six Sigma training program. It’s 5 weeks of training spaced out over 5-6 months with participants working through a project on-site through the timeframe of the course.
    My challenge is to select a project prior to enrollment, and that’s where I’m having some difficulty. It needs to be something that’s beneficial and doable. some “low hanging fruit” would be best for a beginner like myself.
    Any thoughts from experienced practitioners to get me started in the right direction?

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    #68178

    Lou Coelho
    Participant

    Look within your area of expertise for problems that have been around, but have not been able to fix.  Where’s the pain in your department?  Are there customer complaints? If yes tackle these first.  Understanding and meeting or exceeding your customer’s requirements is the principle objective of six sigma.  If you don’t deal with externel customers, look at your internal customers (who receives your output?)
    Good luck and have fun!

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    #68180

    WILEY
    Member

    It sounds as if there is no Champion at your facility.  At my organization Champion diagnostic and distribute projects.  Black Belts make them a reality. 
    Minor Glitch though, forecasted financial benefits from the Champion are usually a far cry from reality.  So the first thing to do is look at how your facility spends its money.  If you’ve been given a project targeted at a particular department (better yet a “process” within that department) Find out ASAP how the money is spent.  Who does the books? What does finance report? etc. 
    At Measure Phase and Improve Phase, you have to show exactly on the Profit Loss Report where your project will make money.   If one can’t do that, one will be reporting benefits the finance department has no way of tracking and won’t be able to give approval for, and that won’t create much momentum for your next project.  

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    #68188

    Ravinder Singh
    Participant

    I suggest don’t do the mistake of selecting low hanging fruit or you will face lot of problem at later stage. Six Sigma methodology need not be used for low hanging fruit reason being cost involved in using Six Sigma methodology.
    I just have undergone Black Belt training and faced same problem when I was supposed to select a project without having any knowledge on Six Sigma. It is difficult but try identifying Customer’s pain areas and cost involved in that.
    regards
    ravinder
     

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    #68193

    Jader Caldas
    Participant

    Identify your customer (external or internal). Ask him what he wants from you (VOC – Voice Of the Customer). Use QFD (Quality Function Deployment). The result will be a project that impacts your customer. He will be able to see and feel the power of 6S. Historical data collection might become hard sometimes, but if successful, the changes will be easily noticed.

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    #68194

    Jose Aviles
    Participant

    A good start is looking for your company indicators to evaluate which of them is strongly impacting your organization, then look for the vital few of the seleted area (in dollars), investigate who’s your customer, where’s the problem, how to measure it, your potential savings, etc.
    The selection of the project and it’s definition is a very key phase on the project success.
    Jose

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    #68195

    melvin
    Participant

    Choosing a good project, especially a training project, is one of the most important steps to learning Six Sigma methodology.  It’s not uncommon for a student Black Belt to find in mid-stream that he must abandon the initial project and choose another better suited to learning the DMAIC process.  Don’t choose a project where the source of a problem and it’s solution are known (or assumed to be known), these are “Just-do-its” and are best avoided as training projects.  Also, look for a project where data is readily available or easily collected.  This isn’t too hard when the focus is production, but it can be difficult with transactional projects. 
    Bob
     

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    #68196

    Paul Stone
    Participant

    Make friends with your controller.  That person knows where the money bleeds out of your process the fastest.  Take the guy (or gal) out to lunch, and ask for some general ideas.  Then, investigate 3 or 4 of the most likely sounding thoughts by doing some informal process audits.  Talk to hourly associates, off-shift supervisors and maintenance guys.  Take your (half formed) conclusions to the operations manager – and ask which ones make the most sense.  Then write up your proposal, ask for a review by your new best friends – the process owner and the money guy, and proceed with confidence.
    I’m a headhunter and used to be an statistical problem solver and engineering manager, and that approach works for all three perspectives.

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    #68200

    Stephens
    Participant

    JB, your instincts are correct.  My advice is to make sure you scope the project very tightly.  “World hunger” kinds of projects are rarely successful especially as a first project.  Better to scope down too much than not enough. 
    Best wishes for a successful and rewarding SS career.
    CW
     

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    #68207

    Paul R. Perez
    Participant

    Look in your area or department first as to where you can make improvements. Secondly, generate a matrix contact as many departments heads(ie. supervisors, managers directors) and have them generate a list (at least 5 suggestions each) of things they would like to see improvements made.
    You can then along with management or Champion (if one has been assigned to you) make a determination by rating each of the suggestions submitted as to which ones posses the best business case.   

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    #68215

    Tab Tsukuda
    Member

    I am also a black belt candidate; I’m getting ready to attend my Analyze phase training.  I agree with the earlier comments about the importance of the financial return on your project. 
    I’d also like to add that for a process improvement project (PIP) used in training, it would be very helpful to work in an area that has data readily available so you could spend your time on using the tools versus trolling the company waters for data.  I’ve seen a number of black belt candidates frustrated by the lack of data and its effect on their timely (untimely) completion of their PIPs.  Also, as noted earlier, having a champion (or somebody with some significant influence) is also helpful – they are invaluable in removing the inevitable roadblocks and moving your PIP recommendations towards implementation.
    I think this Six Sigma stuff is pretty interesting in terms of the tools as well as the people-side of the work.  I hope you enjoy your training and that your eventual project works out well.
    Tab

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    #68218

    Jim Parnella
    Participant

    Stay away from the “low hanginf fruit”.  You don’t need Six Sigma tools to solve those problems.  On the other hand, don’t pick a problem with a low probability of success either.
    Take a hint from Paul Stone (above) and take your controller to lunch. He/she should have some ideas how you can save in excess of $100,000 per year.
    Doesn’t your site have champion that selects the project for you? They should.
    Good luck.
     

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    #68219

    alanj
    Participant

    Others have noted that it may be useful to select a project that has some existing data so that you can practise the analysis with live data.
    While this is true (voice of experience), you should also treat the data with a large dose of suspicion, since you probably had no input into how it was collected.
    As you will be finding out in your training, all will be lost without a valid measurement system.I also endorse the idea of keeping the scope as narrow as possible for the project, if necessary, divide it into two separate ones.
    Try to make sure it can reasonably be completed in a 3 to 6 month time frame. This will provide your team with a relatively quick win, and help build the impetus for supporting future projects.Let me join the others in wishing you success with your first project.

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    #68220

    melvin
    Participant

    JB,
         I had 3 false starts on my green belt project and in the middle of my certification project, Iomega had a huge layoff and I got cut.  My false start experience was partly due to  my inherent “scope creep”  approach to things.  I went from Test Plan dev to Black-Box/White Box testing and finally to bug meeting cycle reduction (objective to reduce test period by a week (1/52 of revenues saved).
        Back to you:  I wouldn’t worry about the project you choose so much as scope SOMETHING small and LEARN THE SIX SIGMA METHODOLOGY FIRST.  Later you can razzle/dazzle your management chain with a project with huge savings.
    My 2 false starts were very educational. I learned about me and my scope creep tendencies, found my mentor to be unavailable and my Champion did not exist (but the fault still rests on my shoulders).
    I got a new Mentor to shake the trees so to speak and finally got a Champion.  The secret to success is a good champion and a good  Mentor.  Work with them on selecting a project for the course.
    Do you know of anyone in Utah needing an “almost certified” Enterprise Black Belt ??  ;-)

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    #68224

    GARTO
    Participant

    Three KEYS to select a project: 1.Take the one that is also part of your daily responsabilities, and satisfy the most important customer: your boss. 2. Asses where the money is causing the biggest drain. (Inolve the finance leader, no involvement no commitment) 3. Scope it to only one CTQ

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    #68235

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    I am one week away from my Black Belt Certification process.  When I began Black Belt training my champion felt a manufacturing process project would be the best to begin with.  The tools you will learn in training are more adapt to a manufacturing process than a transactional.  What I am trying to say is there are more tools to use on manufacturing than a transactional project which would benefit you during your training.  I have a matrix to help you select a project.  If you would like it email me and I will forward it to you.
    Good luck with your training.
    Bill Jones
    Warren Rupp, Inc.

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    #68238

    Mayes
    Participant

    One of the biggest issues you are going to encounter is buy in and ownership by your management. Don’t get in the habit of doing their work for them…project selection, definition, costing, team member selection and scoping should all be done by your champion, process owner and controller. They should kick you off with a ready to go process that has been sufficiently narrowed down to be manageable. The BB is a project manager who manages the improvement team and acts as a technical resource. The process owner owns the defects, the team owns the improvements…after control phase…you’re outta there!
    They need to understand the importance of this if 6Sigma is going to be succesful…

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    #68242

    Dona
    Participant

    Hi Bill,
    I am very interested in knowing ways and methods in chosing projects especially for green belts (not just for certification purpose).  The matrix that you mentioned in your email would help a lot.  If possible, could you help out here?
    Thank you
     

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    #68243

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    The matrix I have is an Excel document.  It helps you rank your projects based on customer impact, cost savings, employee impact, etc. 
    One thing to keep in mind:  It is important for Six Sigma projects to address the customers concerns.  Voice of the customer (VOC) is vitial for any company to survive. 
    A suggestion, find out what is important to your customers, either via a survey or by phone.  Rate the responses then identify what internal processes you do connected with these customer concerns.  This helps prioritize your projects.  
    I can email you the Excel document if you would like.  Let me know.
    Bill

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    #68246

    Marc Richardson
    Participant

    I also would like a copy.
    Thnak You,
    Marc Richardson
    Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer

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    #68247

    Dana Rasis
    Participant

    Hello.
    I would also very much like a copy of the Excel document you are referring to.
    Please feel free to contact me if you would like some additional information before sharing this document.
    I appreciate your help.
    Thank you,
    Dana Rasis

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    #68248

    Dona
    Participant

    Hi Bill
    Thanks for your quick response. 
    If you would, please email the matrix to :
     
    email:[email protected]

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    #68250

    Schuette
    Participant

    Hi Bill,
    If you would, could you please email a copy of the matrix to me also. Thanks!
    email:[email protected]

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    #68254

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    If anyone wanting this matrix would please email me at [email protected] I would be glad to send you a copy.
    Bill

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    #68255

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    Please send your email address to [email protected]
     

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    #68256

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    Please send your email address to [email protected]
     

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    #68261

    A Different Annonymous
    Participant

    Wow, Ray!  Your orgainzation is WAY more organized and committed than mine appears to be.  After almost 2 years of being involved in my orgainzations’ Black Belt training and development process, I can only drool with envy over Champions who are capable of and committed to doing their jobs re. project selection.  I work for a Fortune 500 firm, and we have nothing like that level of clarity in project selection, in spite of press releases and pronouncements from the HQ 6 Sigma office.  

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    #68276

    Mayes
    Participant

    :)
    Believe me…it took a while, almost 2 years.But as long as your plant champion (in our case the plant manager) is committed, the program should be successful. SS savings and project selection should be a department head performance metric…I hope to see us move in that direction more aggressively.
    My biggest mistake in the beginning was working on projects that no one seemed to own or really care about too much…as I said, the defect and the improvements need ownership.
    We’re a Fortune “120” company as well, but that doesn’t make a difference when it comes to resistance to change!

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    #68441

    Chris Bader
    Participant

    Bill,
    I am in a similar situation as the person you responded to; I am getting ready to start my BB training as well as identifying potential projects.  I too, would be interested in your decision tree.  I can see how Six Sigma may have more tools geared toward a manufacturing environment as opposed to a transactional one, but I also hear that Six Sigma lends itself well to tranasction systems.  Do you know where I can find information on the tools for both types of environments?
     
    Thanks, Chris

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    #68473

    James C. Bailey,Jr.
    Participant

    JB,
        Project selection is critical to your success with the Six Sigma methodology. First, think about the overall objectives of your business,which should flow down from your company
    committments( sales,earnings,share holder value added,safety, capacity,yield,etc.). Then get with your
    immmediate supervisor and discuss possible projects
    in your functional expertise( can be completed in 4-6 months,
    should realize hard savings of >$175,000 on an ongoing basis) Then, try to state the problem in terms of defects(
    low yield,high maintenance costs, high variable costs,etc.)
    Good Luck!

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    #68484

    Peter Richards
    Participant

    Hi Bill,
    Would appreciate your Excel spreadsheet. I have developed a matrix on Excel too and would be keen to ‘compare notes’.
    Thanks.

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    #68485

    Peter Richards
    Participant

    Hi again,
    I forgot to provide my e-mail address for the Excel spreadsheet you currently utilise.
    [email protected]

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    #68489

    Bill Jones
    Participant

    Peter,
    Please send your request to [email protected].   Your posting does not show your email address.
    Regards,
    Bill Jones

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    #68514

    Ken Myers
    Participant

    Bill,
    I would like to have a look at your Excel file, if possible…  Please email me at [email protected].
    Thanks,
    Ken

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    #68554

    Geraldine
    Participant

    I would also like to see your spreadsheet if possible.
    Thanks,
    GB
     

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    #68584

    Mike Bethel
    Participant

    The first thing to consider is to identify what area of the buisness in terms of manufacturing would make the most impact to your organization as a result of a Six Sigma project. If it’s a process identify the bottle neck. I currently work for Dana Corp. but prior to Dana I was at Eaton so I could understand where you are. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.

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    #68595

    O.P.Sharma
    Participant

    You just have to see a project in your work of area where ownership is yours.
    1) All the activities leads  to customer satisfaction prioratise them.
    2) See whether these activities are fullfilled by your requirement /demand  fo the customers(internal or external)
    3) if not,  do  take a tangible area where data can be gathered. and go ahead………….
    The Project should reflect the company objectives and goals…………etc.
    For more details do contact me on 91-22-7612929 extn-2168
    or mail me on : [email protected]
    Good luck

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    #69587

    Susane Gruning
    Member

    I am sure by now you have chosen a project. I am in a similar situation and would like to know what your choice was. Can you share?

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    #69601

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    For training you will get the best results from a project where the issue is control and not technology. A quick indicator is the Cp is high and the Cpk is low.
    Variable data lets you use a lot more of the tools and with the time constraint you will be under the smaller sample sizes will make life alittle easier.

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    #70974

    Felix Effendy
    Participant

    Hi Bill, it’s nice to hear that you have a matrix that can be used to help in selecting a new project. It would be nice if you don’t mind to forward it to me as I’m in the stage of selecting new projects at the moment.  Looking forward to your reply at [email protected] !  Thank you very much.
     

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    #79544

    arvind pathak
    Participant

    Would u be kind enough to send me the same at [email protected].
    -Arvind

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    #82366

    Tinoco
    Participant

    Bill,
    I would be really interested in seeing the decision matrix you have. I am about to start training next wewek and am concerned about the type of project I am bringing in. Specifically, it is not process related as much as it is cultural/strategic (how to erport porfit company-wide) Any help would be appreciated. 
    Anthony

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    #83738

    Maria G
    Participant

    Hi Bill,
    Would you please send me the project selection matrix?  I am in the process of starting a new project, my previous one and first was closed after 4 months of work because there was no financial opportunity, I don’t want this to happen again, your help will be greatly appreciated.
    Maria

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    #109249

    Ron
    Member

    Hi Bil
    I would like a copy of that matrix also.  Our processes are transactional, but your matrix tends to lend itself to use for transactional project(s)
    I look forward to receiving your marix..

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    #112642

    zferns
    Member

    In terms of a call centre which department will be best for initiating an improvement i wonder.
    Operations will be good as there is loads of data there.
    Quality is well defined so far.
    any clues?

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    #112643

    Dog Sxxt
    Participant

    Keep away department silos if your organization wants to see real result.

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    #150766

    Joellen
    Participant

    Bill,
    I am new to Six Sigma (preparing for my initial class) and I am trying to select a project.  May I please have a copy of your matrix?
    Thanks.
    Joellen.

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    #171680

    RK
    Member

    are the companies moving away from productivity improvement or cycle time reduction projects?
    the kind of recession in which most of the countries are , they are talking high impact six sigma projects which directly impact the bottomline.
    for me, it is a big challenge to look for such high impact ideas…

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    #175038

    Deka
    Participant

    Bob,
    Could you email me your matrix as well..

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    #175039

    Anonymous
    Participant

    His name was Bill not Bob and the post is seven years old.

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    #175040

    Brandon
    Participant

    Amazing………….huh?

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    #175041

    Deka
    Participant

    Sorry..the name error was ignorance on my part. My bad.  I didnt even look at the post date. I’m new to this. I didnt know something seven years old would be responeded to. Who looks that far back?

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    #175043

    GB
    Participant

    ummm, apparently YOU do…

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