Project and Phase Durations (DMAIC)

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    Is there an industry standard applicable to the durations between each milestone within the DMAIC process for GB and BB’s?
    I have read the importance of establishing these milestones for tollgating at the beginning of the project, so is there a good rule of thumb for the amount of time spent for each phase?
    Thanks, Mike



    I guess the classic 6S response of ‘it depends’ really applies here as the individual situation will determine the duration of the project. Use of Project Management techniques (network scheduling, Gantt charts) could help but really you & your steering committee would need to evaluate each project & agree a timeline.
    As a rough & ready rule of thumb, coming from a high volume manufacturing standpoint, we generally say 3 months total duration for a GB project (GB spending at least 20% of working time on the project) & 6 months for a established BB working a project full time.
    In terms of individual gates I would feel that Define & Measure would generally be the quickest tollgates, particularly for a GB project, Analyse would take a large portion of time as this could involve MSA redesign activities, Improve would be pretty quick depending on the solutions provided & based on your structure (& senior management commitment) Control could go either way.
    There are so many factors that effect project duration & gate attainment that realistically you’ll need to evaluate each project in turn.
    Hope this helps a little! K.


    Henry G

    Hi,As such, we didn’t come across any industry standard for milestone duration. Based on our experience, each project scope and nature will decide the milestone and helps to achieve it. In reality following are few top decision factors for setting and achieving the milestones.1) Durations are set based on the skill level of the GBs and the team.2) Actual availability of GB and Teams after kick of the Sixsigma project.3) Each Milestone needs to be revised based on the actual effort spend on Sixsigma project Vs estimated.4) If the sponsor /champion commitments are there, the project can achieve the targeted milestone.5) If the main project stream doesn’t trouble the Sixsigma team, project milestones can completed as planned.6) If GB interest on Sixsigma project is reduced due to other constraint, entire milestone will be collapsed.7) If the identified Quick-wins fails after the define phase, team will lose the confident on the project which intern affect the milestone.8) If the data (Xs) are available in granular level, it’s easy to speed up the project from analyze phase onwards.In nutshell, Skill level, GB interest, Champion commitments, actual availability of the team, Quick results, team confident level on the tools and techniques, availability of the data decides on duration of each milestone. The Sixsigma project will be successfully completed on time, if the GB is considering these parameters during the milestone estimation and revise the schedule periodically based on this.


    Adam L Bowden

    Typically Leadership will tell you that it takes too long – this is something that turns off Leadership.  Project leadtimes depends upon their complexity and can range from 1/2 day to a year plus.  There is no right or wrong answer to this – the time it takes should be faster than the culture anticipates it is going to take.  i.e if typically projects take 6 weeks then you should target significantly less than that – like 3 weeks for example.  I find using a combination of Lean/Kaizen/Kaikaku change management techniques usefull in accelerating projects – it is much harder to organize but does provide dramatically reduced timelines.

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