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Standard workload for Blackbelts

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  • #38079

    Rob Mercer
    Member

    I have been assigned to manage our newly formed efficiencies improvement group. My background is in finance, and I have to admit 6s in a manufacturing site is not my strongest suit (although, I am currently being trained as a greenbelt)
    Our senior management team is wanting to know how much we can save the company in the next year. I have to ask, how many projects is normal for a blackbelt to complete in a year? Knowing this may give me a better idea of what our team can save.
    Thank you in advance.
    ~RM.

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    #113530

    Mikel
    Member

    Six.

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    #113534

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Stan, is that 6 projects in the Manufacturig field?……and
    Is the figure of approx $275,000 per project on savings? I’m using that figure, since it seems to be the norm.
    Could you prehaps give me an insight into some typical types of projects a BB would achieve in the manufacturing field in a typical year!
    If you feel it necessary to e-mail me instead, feel free on:
    [email protected]
     

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    #113559

    Kramer
    Participant

    Why not ask the BB what they feel they can do in a year, then add one or two projects to that to make sure that they are busy. Only you and your team know what they can save per project, as all industries differ.
    I figure 5 is a good amount, but where you said this is a “newly formed group”, I have to ask; has the 6s culture been embraced by your organization? Do you have buy-in from the floor, and more importantly from above? If not, 5 might be pushing it, in which case I say 3 or 4.
    Just the thoughts of a depressed BB on a Sunday Afternoon. Damn NY, why couldn’t you have made one of those field goal attempts?

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    #113575

    Jamilah
    Participant

    It’s not quantity of projects, it the impact to the manufactuirng cost of poor quality (can be delivery-related projects or quality improvement projects).
    However if you still want a figure, for BB a good duration of a project is 6 months per project. So in a year there should be 2 high-impact projects.
    Your finance back ground is good to help the company record Six Sigma savings , and it would be much better if you could work together with the key managers of manufacturing lines to identify improvement opportunities.

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    #113576

    Mikel
    Member

    Nonsense. A full time resource that is only delivering 2 projects per year is sitting around picking their nose most of the year.
    If you are going to dedicate people full time, they should be working at least as hard as anyone on the fulfillment side of the equation (they should actually be visibly working harder). Two active projects at a time and no more than four months per project after training to get them to the control validation stage. Otherwise, they are spending a lot of time philosophising or complaining – neither is value added.

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    #113599

    Tim Wright
    Member

    I’m a Blackbelt who works for an automotive supplier.  My three primary performance goals for 2005 are 1) completing 4 projects,  2) training and certifying 8 Greenbelts and 3) achieving a verified cost savings of $1M.  I support projects at five manufacturing facilities located in three states and one facility located in Mexico.  Because I must manage several projects simultaneously their durations average about 6 months.  If I can run two projects at once then I should be able to meet my customer’s expectations.  Of course this hinges on the fact that the cost savings per project averages $250,000.  If not then I’ll need to add at least one additional project.  This is the best that I can do.  I’m on the road all the time and don’t have much time to complain.   However it appears by some estimations that I’m a “slacker”. 

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    #113601

    Rob Mercer
    Member

    Stan:, thank you for your helpful response. You are right, BBs should work harder than others. If I knew that I had a BB who was whining, I think he just earned a 7th project…haha, I like that.
     

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    #113623

    Mikel
    Member

    If you are running projects at 6 locations, how does that add up to two?
    Sounds to me like much of your time is taken by things that don’t have anything to do with improvement.

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    #113624

    Mestre
    Participant

    Rob,
    6 is a good number. Roughly 4-month completion, two simultaneous projects.
    Select projects with the leadership, assess $$ opportunity based on cost structure and potential for increased customer satisfaction. Show value early, build on the success.
    Mestre

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    #113625

    Tim
    Member

    I am responsible for supporting the Six Sigma program at all of our plants.  Projects are selected based upon financial impact.  It has been determined that three most important projects at this time are the two in Mexico and the one in Indiana that I’m presently managing.  I’m the company’s only Blackbelt.  Projects at the other plants are in the queue.  Although I consider my travel time to be unproductive it is necessary for my particular situation.  This is about the only time that I’m not actively engaged in project work.  I have been asked to complete 4 projects this year for a total cost savings of $1M while training, testing and certifying 8 Greenbelts.  I hope to be more efficient in the future as Six Sigma becomes part of our culture but for now I consider what I’m doing to be a realistic expectation.  I thought that the original question was asking for an opinion.  That’s my opinion; 4 projects & $1M savings/ year / Blackbelt. 

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    #113630

    Lass
    Participant

    LOL!  I said the same about SD when they played NY.  Very depressing.

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    #113631

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Since I am not getting a reply can “a” BB elaborate on my questions, much appreciated.

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    #113632

    Lass
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    I have some experience working as a BB for an electronics manufacturing facility, and I typically worked on 3-4 projects a year.  Since I was part of the design group, the duration of my projects varied.  Some projects lasted 6 months, some lasted 3 months, and some were never completed.  I worked on a material cost reduction project, which saved $125K a year,  a defect reduction project which saved $325K a year, and another defect reduction project which was never completed.  Another one of my projects was to eliminate NVA steps and variation in our QC measurement procedure to cut overtime costs.  Since I left the company shortly after the completion of the QC project, I do not have an accurate account of the cost savings for that one.
    I think the number of projects and type of projects varies depending on your situation.  I hope this response was helpful.
    Lass

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    #113644

    Mikel
    Member

    Hello Muda (hello fata, here I am at Camp Granada … woops wrong subject, sorry),
    It’s all about choosing and scoping your projects up front. You have to recognize that you have to keep the attention of Leadership and on the outside, you can keep their attention for 3 – 4 months. These guys talking about not completing projects – how can that be?
    The average savings varies of course by the company. Can GE save more per project than the delivery boys of Mumbai? Use some common sense on that one.

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    #113646

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    At last, a direct answer, I agree……..
    Stan, would you say that in Six Sigma….. 80% is common sense, 20% is methodology……..I guess the level of common sense would depend on the individual…….and just in case your wondering, I don’t have a degree.
    I dont mean to rock the boat in the Six Sigma world but would like an honest answer to the above
    As for the Dabawalla’s of Mumbai…….I think GE have some stiff competition after reading about their “Metrosexual” Six Sigma methods !!!

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    #113647

    Mikel
    Member

    I Agree but would say it a little different.
    I believe Six Sigma is 80% Leadership support and giving people focused time to go understand processes and premission to change them.
    I laugh at all of the dissertations and books about Lean Six Sigma, Transactional Six Sigma, … and the like. Give people time and a logical roadmap with the expectation of results and the results will come. The number of times people ever have to go beyond the Analyze Phase (simple stats) is 50%
    And who cares if you have a degree? In the real world, the degree only opens some doors, it does not create results. Bill Gates does not have a degree either.

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    #113650

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Point taken about the 80% bit.
    I laugh at a lot of mumbo jumbo in this forum at times, (excluding present company and a few others), I get completely baffled and lost…..perhaps thats a good thing……in the end all that counts is…get your royal behind out of the chair and get the job done in the specified constraints in a logical manner.
    Bottom line and I’m speaking from a Manufacturing point……a lot of BB workload would be depleted if there were Robust Designs for Manufacturing from the beginning = FTQ. Unfortunately most companies don’t deploy that philiosophy.
    I mentioned that in my first post in this forum: 62209, only reply I got was from Andy U and I thought that was a good cause for a debate. within the Six Sigma BB community.

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    #113697

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Alan Sherman? My Son the Folk Singer. You are showing your age. 
    Most of the people on this forum probably don’t even recognize the song. Even more pathetic – I still have the record.

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    #113698

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Jamilah,
    I really hope that wasn’t a real response. Our Black Belts have 3 active projects at any one time. Generally 1 – D/M, 1 – A/I, 1 – C, 2 – queued in the Pipeline.
    Green Belts do 2 per year. 1 – active, 1 in queue.
    Dollar value does have anything to do with the Belts. It is a function of Project Selection and that has to be owned by Process Owners.
    You hold Belts accountable for the number of projects completed as a group. They survive as a team so the idea of mentoring is built in. Belts do the projects so if the Process Owners identify junk then that is what the business gets out of the program. It fixes the selection, buy-in and the support issue.
    Process Owners are accountable for the financial impact. They control selection and implementation.
    Not my opinion. That is how we do it.
    Good luck.

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    #113699

    whatdoesitmatter?
    Member

    “Otherwise, they are spending a lot of time philosophising or complaining – neither is value added.”
    or they spend all their time posting on this forum

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    #113701

    Mikel
    Member

    Hey smart guy, I don’t work as a Black Belt.
    If I had BB’s working for me that spent as much time posting as Stan does, I’d fire them.
    I did mentor 145 sucessful projects last year. How many did you do?
    I agree with Mike Carnell’s answer by the way. My answer of 6 was wimpy.

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    #113702

    whatdoesitmatter?
    Member

    that’s 1.79 projects a day…  I’m impressed!

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    #113703

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    One of our Belts (female) in Chile delivered 9 projects last year. Elizabeth (Torrance factory -1995) kept about 9 active at one time.
     Maybe it is a gender thing?
    Regards
    Mike

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    #113705

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Perhaps I need to move to Chile and take a closer look to my “Metrosexual” side and seriously think about having a sex change……….. !!
     

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    #113728

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    You can probably skip the sex change just get in touch with your feminine side.
    If you fly Virgin Atlantic, the best value airline flying, they have an interesting piece of colateral materal on being Jetrosexual.
    Chile is a great place.
    Regards

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    #113743

    Mikel
    Member

    You are easy to impress.

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    #113750

    Gao
    Participant

    Mike,
    There are no financial goals to BBs associated with their projects?
    They never push back on projects assigned to them?
    Elliot

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    #113752

    Mestre
    Participant

    “Common sense is the least common of the senses”. – Chinese Proverb

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    #113854

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Ok, how much did  Sir Richie pay you to say that?
    Do they have any cheap “return” flights going to the…….Valley of Despair…… area, specifically to………. Pity City ??!!
    Btw……A very simple document to understand…. the chart was a great touch….very visual
    Yes, I have heard Chile is a good place, might include that in my next world tour……I’m still recovering from my recent one which was on a cycle, I missed out on South America, Africa and Asia this time around.

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    #113858

    Lass
    Participant

    Stan,
    You asked how it is possible to not complete a project?  My “PC” answer is ‘resistance by a key member of upper management’.  My “non PC” answer is ‘my boss was an #*$%^’.  I suppose I could spend five or six more paragraphs elaborating on the subject of how I wasted 4 months of my life, but I hope this simple explanation gets the point accross. 
    Lass

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    #113859

    Brookiep
    Participant

    As an MBB with 14 BB’s working for me i think whipping BB’s to do 6 projects a year is not realistic unless you have scoped the projects down so small that they are actually GB projects. Obviously some BB’s do better than others. At the end of the day it about quality and impact. Doing 6 meaningless projects is just a waste of time, i would rather have 1 really good customer focused warranty reducing mega project. I have personally never delivered more than 3 projects a year. It would be interesting to hear from a BB that has delivered 6 genuine (no replications, duplications etc)  quality BB projects per annum.   

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    #113865

    Wenfung
    Member

    The dedicate BB could be possible to have 6 project completion per annum… non-dedicated BB would be grabbed large parts of their energy and time to please the boss in all other operational activities.

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    #113866

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Elliot,
    As far as financial goals – that isn’t what my post says is it?
    As far as a BB pushing back. Why would they?
    Regards,

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    #113867

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    Thanks for the comments on the article. I haven’t seen it yet.
    The great part about Sir Richard’s plan is that he has figured out if you provide a lot of value at a good price you don’t have to pay people to say good things about your compny. What a stroke of genious. Who was that guy that said something about Common sense not being common was Chinese proverb. Nonsense. That was Public Enemy on the Arsenio Hall show over a decade ago. The VA people sure have their share of it.
    They are lower than the next competitor by approximately $1400. The seats go completely flat, you get a sleep suit, duvet and an adult size pillow. There are in flight massages and a bar where you can get out of your seat and go sit and have a drink. In the clubs you have a chef that will fix a meal for you before you fly so you don’t have to go through the airborne dinning experience. The London club has massages, haircuts and shaves as well as showers. On the extended layovers they put you in a hotel and when we arrive in Joburg a drive runs us out to the house (2 hours one way). Remember approximately $1400 less than anyone else.
    We could fly South African Air which we did once. Ulices got a seat with no power and got to sit in that most comfortable landing position on the longest flight you can book – Atlanta to Joburg. No compensation not even a “I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”
    The side benefit to the whole thing was sitting in the London club beside Brad Pitt for 2 hours and having a lot of people wondering if they should recognize me. Maybe he is used to that but it is an odd feeling. Some model was in there last time but I don’t know their names.
    We attempt to fly one way flights from the Valley of Despair Airport, Haircare and Tire Center to Pity City International several times a day. Some days it is a short flight and others it is one of those overnighters and the seats of our plane are more like the back seat of a Volkswagen bug than a VA 747 400.
    I am about a wek away from heading back to the US and it is perfect scooter riding weather in Tejas. Hope you get recovered.
    Regards,
    Mike
     

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    #113869

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Brookiep,
    I suppose the 14 BB’s is superficially impressive. Actually it may be the reason you are so unproductive. In the initial phases of a deployment we maintain a pretty tight span of control (1:4). As the deployment matures we push it out to about 1:10. If in fact you were never capable of more than 3 projects per year I am not sure how you ever became a MBB.
    I would really like you to direct me to the post that says the Belts are “whipped to get to six projects per year.” I took a look back through the posts and don’t see it.
    Actually we don’t have a hard target on number of projects but as I said in an earlier post we do expect them to have 3 projects active and 2 in queue. Get it – it is just a steady flow of work – they do the projects that come to them. Now since you are MBB with lots of project experience and 14 BB’s working for you (actually if you worked together they may do more as well) you should understand hypothesis testing. You can look at the data for a Belt and you can look at the data for the group of Belts. How do you tell if they are doing the job or are they a high performer or a low performer?
    That is the easy part. When you get that figured out we will look at the null hypothesis that all projects are equal and how you characterize them and how you adjust the project mix.
    Instead of getting yourself wrapped up in some emotional “down with the proletariat” BS why don’t you – MBB with 14 BB’s working for you – figure out how you apply the stuff you think everybody else needs to your own projects.
    Good luck.

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    #113874

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Rob, as a Manager of the newly formed efficiencies improvement group…….It would be interesting to share your conclusions regarding the consensus from this forum thus far regarding your initial question !!
    At the same time have you also had a chance to investigate on your own and with your company group via different channels regarding your initial question ? If so, could you please share that with the forum……Thanks
     

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    #113884

    Rob Mercer
    Member

    I reviewed all the GB and BB projects completed in the last year, and sat down with each of the BBs to listen to thier take on the 6s rollout and discuss thier completed projects; They averaged around 4 completed projects a year, and all but one of the 7 BBs said they could have done more. There was consensus on the issue that held them back and that was poor project selection (dead ends, pet projects, low savings, etc). As manager, I can attempt to address this issue with area supervisors.
    We agreed that it is reasonable to have 2 projects on the go at any given time, and the number of projects completed after a year will depend on the complexity; some will take 1 month, some will take 5 months.
    Anyway, thanks for the interest.
     

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    #113886

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Rob,
    That was a solid response. I am willing to bet your credibility with your belts went up about 10 points just for taking the time to talk to them about it. I have some stuff that may help you with Project Selection if you are interested. You can email me at [email protected].
    I apologize but I can’t resist. Did you have to whip ’em to get them to agree to do more? You don’t have to answer that.
    Regards,
    Mike

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    #113888

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Rob, Thank you for coming back to me and to the forum with your input and yes, I completely agree with Mike, this is/was a solid response……Touche !!
    Even I can’t resist and I wont apologize for asking but…did you whip em, to get them to agree to do more?……
     
     
    That was a solid response. I am willing to bet your credibility with your belts went up about 10 points just for taking the time to talk to them about it. I have some stuff that may help you with Project Selection if you are interested. You can email me at mike.carnellCSIntlInc.com.
    I apologize but I can’t resist. Did you have to whip ’em to get them to agree to do more? You don’t have to answer that.

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    #113889

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Firstly, I’d like to apologize, I copy/pasted your reply on my original response to Rob earlier, without knowing.
    Being a Londoner, I remember the days when Richard Branson had started his record shops….then later onto taking on the might of BA…look where he is now. I have always taken my hat off to him. He does not compromise on service but cuts his costs, a winning combination indeed.
    Just curious, does Virgin as a company implement Six Sigma ?

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    #113890

    Mikel
    Member

    Mike,
    Nice web site. Is the S for shank?

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    #113891

    Karel MBB
    Participant

    For me I would look for a return in savings of around 5x min of the salary of the BB per annum so it could be one or many projects.

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    #113893

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    Sir Richard Branson definately understands business. I have no clue if he does SS. If you could get on a deployment there it should be interesting to see how they gather their customer data.
    I’ll be in London Sunday morning for a couple hours. I was there about 2 weeks and surprizingly enough it was raining.
    Take care.

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    #113894

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,
    Thanks. A guy in Antofogasta, Chile do it. S is for Shank.
    You get content with a few customers and taking it easy then you get a young partner and end up hitting it hard becuse they want to do it one more time. Costa Rica is back over the horizon for a while.
    Regards

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    #113895

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Karel MBB,
    I am not disagreeing with you but I am curious about the 5X. Is it normal for any other employee to return 5X on their salary? If not why would you put that number on a BB?
    Actually if you look at the investment criteria does you company look for a 5X on the equipment it purchases?
    Money can be a difficult criteria for a BB. If you put a dollar gun to their head you immediately drive them to be invlved in project selection which the PO like because most of them don’t want to do it anyway. Then you cost them more time selling buy-in to PO’s. They need to be responsible to get all there is as quickly as they can get it – but project selection still needs to be with the PO’s and they need the dollar metric.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck.

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    #113900

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,
    A guy in Antofogasta, Chile did it. I was shaking my head when I saw MudaSensei’s post then I saw mine.
    Regards

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    #113901

    MudaSensei
    Participant

    Hey Mike,
    I’m in London and would you believe it, it’s actually DRY !!
    Well, if you need a guide in London or/and some local hospitality with a smile, send me an e-mail on: [email protected] and we can take it from there………you never know…….
    Might get to see Sir Richie’s humble beginnings !!

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    #113910

    New VGB
    Participant

    Stan :Please advise us ,as you have  done  some 150 projects:What is your  common conclusion?What is the “Essense” of your special   practical experience (wrapping-up)?We are here  (most of us) in this  Forum  to “Learn”.Appreciate  your  feedback.

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    #113924

    Mikel
    Member

    I have be involved about 10K projects at some level – teacher, mentor, mentor of the mentor, ….
    I am assuming yours was serious question, so the essence –
    1) Make sure Leadership is involved with skin in the game (compensation, right to continue working, …)
    2) Make sure projects flow from strategy and are aligned with the reward system.
    3) Pick change agents to lead change. Attributes of a change agent – dominant, not looking for approval, impatient, and willing to delegate to someone they can trust. Learned behavior of a change agent – team skills. A nautural change agent is not a natural team player. It is easier to teach team skills than to get someone to act against their narural inclinations.

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    #113925

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    I will take you up on that at some point. The trip back is fast so I only have a 2 hour layover. I will be back in London on the 19th. Please send me an email address at [email protected].
    regards

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    #113926

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MudaSensei,
    My multitasking sucks. I just realized that the email address is on this post – Sorry.
    Regards

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    #113934

    New VTGB
    Participant

    Thank You.Hope to be able to bring some more valuable hints .Appreciate greatly your contribution.

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    #113936

    S
    Member

    Mike,
    I was interested in that item you had regarding project selection.  We launch fairly well here but didn’t know if you would share it with someone from the old GenCorp roll out days…  I tried to email you twice but can’t get my mail system to deliver…maybe I’m mistyping I’s and L’…..
     
    Please reply to me at [email protected]    Thank you very much in advance.

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    #113942

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chris,
    I recognized your name a while back but was not sure if you were the same guy from GenCorp. I will email you this evening (we are at CST + 8 so today is about over).
    Regards

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    #114114

    Brookeip
    Participant

    Mike,
    Thanks for your thoughts! I have not needed any luck in the last 5 years as an MBB, and i am sure that will i cope just fine in the future.
      

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    #114148

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Brookeip,
    With the numbers you put up as your results and you are still part of a Six Sigma program – you may not realize it but you have been blessed with a lot of luck.

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    #114170

    Brookiep
    Participant

    Mike
    You seem to have made a judgement of performance based solely on the number of projects because that is the only detail that i have posted on the site. That just confirms my previous point that it’s the project results that count not the number completed.

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    #114182

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Brookiep,
    You seem to fairly impressed with the fact that you have 14 BB’s and that tossing that number around gives you credibility. There are easily 10 people posting on here regularly who have certified twice that many people in the last year alone – and not the mail order certification either.
    I can run your numbers in anyone of six catagories of projects and you would be an outlier just as the two people I cited earlier would be. The only difference is they are on the positive side of the distribution. Unless you have some cutting edge technology project (which should not be a project) you need a pretty good reason to be where you are – just a hint this is analyze phase tools applied to deployment management. Try it you might end up throwing yourself out of your own program.

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    #114287

    New VGB
    Participant

    Thank You.Could you elaborate more on technical steps,if possible.   kind regards

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