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Managing the Process Improvement Effort

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  • #246998

    TracyWiggins
    Participant

    We’re familiar with LSS and DMAIC. That said, what do you use to manage the project management aspect of you efforts? Do you bolt on a traditional project management (waterfall) framework, scrum, other?

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    #247017

    cwocarpenter
    Participant

    @TracyWiggins,

    That’s a good question.  At my current organization most of our projects are small (comparatively) and we just use DMAIC and when we get to the implement phase, that’s when we would look at PM methods.  Mostly we would use straight waterfall, I wouldn’t venture into Scrum unless you are developing software although it can be applied to other projects.  I’m a fan of following Plan-Do-Check-Act as well, in other words do a pilot project before full deployment.  You can model your entire project from DMAIC to PMBOK as well (Define = Initiate).  One of the problems following DMAIC is that their isn’t a project planning phase and that has caused projects.  I’ve seen LSS projects that have steps without task completion dates, such as VOC, which causes the project to spin indefinitely.

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    #247018

    TracyWiggins
    Participant

    Hi @cwocarpenter- I too follow the DMAIC model (A3 to be more specific)- Totally aligned!

    I’ve seen several teams struggle to maintain momentum and leadership alignment, especially when the pathway to the end result isn’t always crystal clear. I like the predictability of waterfall but struggle with the rigidness not found in Agile. Again- I’m 100% in support the project phases (DMAIC), but I’m interested in alternative approaches to managing the daily, weekly and monthly work at a micro-level.

    I appreciate any thoughts!  Thanks!

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    #247023

    cwocarpenter
    Participant

    You know, DMAIC and Agile do have a fit in that the projects often involve the unknown.  One idea I was toying with was to have a planning conference at the beginning of each phase.  If you went agile-ish, and focused on Scrum, you could run sprints through every phase, beginning with the Measure phase.   Discuss and plan events in the planning meeting for your sprint.  A two week sprint might work.  It might keep more interest by putting the project into short bursts – not sure how familiar you are with Scrum and estimating the length of tasks.

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    #247048

    TracyWiggins
    Participant

    I’m totally on board.

    Wondering if anyone else has tried to combine Agile/Scrum with LSS. I know waterfall has been the default approach for many, but super interested to hear how folks are thinking outside of the box.

     

     

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    #247054

    Katie Barry
    Keymaster
    #247057

    Strayer
    Participant

    DMAIC is by definition 5-phase waterfall.  The charter in D is planning.  It’s a wasteful misconception to try to do a beginning-to end work breakdown structure, Gantt chart, etc. since we’ll discover what we need to do in the next phase as we go along.  In that respect, DMAIC already is agile, and much like a sprint.  Something that works very well is to approach the process improvement effort as program management, where you collect, approve/disapprove, prioritize, and assign individual DMAIC projects (sprints) while tracking progress toward the ultimate objectives.  Not very different from SCRUM.

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    #247115

    Prateek
    Participant

    I’ve used a hybrid approach treating process improvement as a programme for planning and as PDCA based for the execution of specific initiatives. So three structures. Core PM phases (initiation, planning, monitoring) as the orchestrator so to speak. Then use agile concepts like ‘backlog’ prioritization to allow flexibility while aligning with overall objectives. Finally, the actual process improvement can be done with DMAIC and PDCA methodologies. This way there is a structure (PM), established methodology and tools for process improvement (LEAN), and agile ‘concepts’ (not necessarily rituals or buzzwords) tailored to add flexibility.

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    #247142

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @TracyWiggins Lets be clear about your question. Are you asking about managing a project as in a DMAIC project or are you asking about managing a Process Improvement Program (multiple projects).

    If it is just a project Straydog is dead on.

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    #247147

    TracyWiggins
    Participant

    I’m totally aligned with Straydog’s approach: follow the DMAIC cycle for the tools and higher level framework, and use a Scrum-like process to manage the more tactical components.

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