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Project Management Rigor in six sigma projects

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  • #40675

    AB
    Participant

    I am looking for examples of where lack of good project management was identified as a reason for failure of a six sigma project or a six sigma deployment. My hypothesis is that the importance of good project management is hugely underrated within the practice of six sigma.
    For instance, I am not aware of many BBs/GBs that prepare an elaborate project schedule using a tool such as microsoft project OR BBs/GBs that actively manage project budget OR actively identify and manage project risks OR have a systematic project status reporting beyond the mandatory gates.
    Do you think the discipline of project management can add value to the practice of six sigma?
    Thanks
    AB

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    #126782

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    AB,
    We use scheduling, metrics etc on our deployments. It is the only way you keep everyone’s eye on the ball. Like most other stuff it belongs to our customers so we don’t take it outside the customer’s company.
    Barbara Wheat was a strong advocate of it. She is at Tenneco Automotive. She might be able to give you some information.
    Regards

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    #126785

    Mr IAM
    Participant

    AB,
    PM is key to any project, regardless of the type of projects.  Many of our DMAIC/SS projects are of a small enough scope that very little PM discipline is needed.  However, on larger, cross-functional projects we have resource plans, Gannt charts are the norm.  We will also add a dedicated PM to project when needed.  Hope that helps!

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    #126786

    OLD
    Participant

    AB:
     
    Good post – great question. I agree with your hypothesis that the importance of PM is underrated AND I agree that PM disciplines add value to SS projects. What I’m not as sure about is that the extensive use of a PM planning tool (such as MS Project) is necessary.
     
    Prior to SS (back in the old days) we used Harvard Project Manager to detail projects. All of the tasks, milestones, dependencies, slack, etc. were loaded to provide the most detailed/accurate PERT, GANTT, Resource Utilization, etc, reports possible. Over time we went on to learn/use MS Project and SAP’s PM module. Regardless of the software, the results were the same…. The extensive PM plan was of MOST benefit to the PM and to the project team itself. It was a great reference/exercise to ensure dependencies, resources, tasks, milestones, budget, etc. had been explored, analyzed, and factored-in. We learned/realized that MOST people in our audience (VP’s, Managers, other departments, etc.) got lost in the details. The average person was typically overwhelmed by the amount of information, terminology, definitions, and “rules” contained within the project management software. 
     
    Yes, the PM skills are essential. For SS projects, be wise not to over manage/monitor the project just because there is software that CAN do it. We have been very successful managing SS projects with a simple Excel based timeline/GANTT chart to summarize the tasks, milestones, dates, resources, and dependencies. Balance need with being practical.
     Good Luck!  OLD

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    #126787

    AB
    Participant

    Thanks for your replies.
    I have a feeling that the need for project management is partially mitigated by gaining senior executive commitment and visibility, which most deployments demand as a pre-requisite for successful six sigma deployment. The PM’s job of balancing various priorities and resources can be simplified considerably if senior management weight is thrown behind the programs/projects.
    But if you can think of organizations where six sigma deployment was successful inspite of insufficient senior management support, you will likely find that project managers were the key. Would love to get your thoughts on this.
    AB

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    #126790

    OLD
    Participant

    AB:
     
    Agree. IMHO there is a direct correlation between successful BB’s and their formal/informal ability to manage projects and lead people. A project, by loose definition, is a change or introduction of something new.
     
    In the absence of upper management SS support and the likelihood/need for success, my money is on the BB with excellent PM/people skills…..
     Good Luck! OLD

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    #126859

    Mad Maxx
    Participant

    Good look finding people to admit they have had unsuccessful projects.
    My observations:
    Poor project selection
    Using lousy data to identify projects
    Rushing to implement six sigma and show grossly over estimated results
    Poorly trained individuals, black belt demonstrated competencies more closely resemble those of yesteryear’s green belts.
    Overall, Short cuts in implementation and a rush to show outrageous benefits.

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