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Where do projects come from?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Where do projects come from?

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  • #47111

    Francisco Dantonio
    Participant

    I work for a large company that has had a Six Sigma program in place for a few years, but the division I work in does not have an active hopper of projects for the BB’s to work on. It is a largely transactional area, no manufacturing. The BB’s have addressed the lack of projects at many governance council meetings, and tried every workshop, brainstorm, templated exercise you could get, but have been met with what I call passive resistance or analysis paralysis. (The objective to sponsor a project was put on many SR’s performance review objectives as well.) In other words, no one comes out and says “No, we refuse to do it” but rather say it’s a good idea, now run off and get more info about what our problem may be. After we do that, is it not their responsibility to fill out at the very least a problem statement? We have been told we have to fill out the charter, tell them why they need us, etc. Which is fine, but after we do all that, they still do not step up to sponsor a project.
    Who should be in control here, and what should be done about this?

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    #156706

    Jim Shelor
    Participant

    Francisco,
     
    You sound like you are in a difficult position, but maybe not as difficult as you think.
     
    Most organizations I have seen that have employed Six Sigma for any reasonable length of time have a senior level management position called Manager Performance Excellence or something similar.  This manager usually coordinates performance excellence projects either with the black belts reporting directly to him/her or by dotted line.  If your company has this position, you should be discussing your proposed projects with him/her when the department you report to does not chose to sponsor your proposed project.  If your company does not have that position, your job will be harder, but not insurmountable.
     
    The tone of your message bothers me a little.
     

    Whose job is it to write the problem statement?
    Whose job is it to write the charter?
     
    The answer to both of those questions is it’s your job.
     
    The Black Belt is responsible for establishing a monitoring system to identify potential problem areas, gathering sufficient data to fully define that a problem exists, and preparing a charter with sufficient information and a compelling business case to get the manager’s/department head’s attention on the problem.  The black belt is also responsible for preparing and delivering a presentation of the problem that is compelling from a cost savings (hard and soft) to make it difficult to impossible for the manager/department head to refuse the project.
     
    Discuss your project with marketing, finance, etc, before your discuss it with the department head to gain the department head’s confidence that the ROI for the project is not just your opinion but is the opinion of experts in these matters.
     
    The responses you are getting indicate to me that you need to learn how much information the department head needs before he/she will agree to sponsor a project.  It seems your presentations are not sufficiently compelling to convince the department head.
     
    Like it or not, it is your responsibility to identify and sell projects to your department head.  It is a thankless, irritating job, but it is yours.  Learn what they want and give it to them.
     
    If all else fails and you are sure the project should be accepted, ask permission to go see the department head’s boss (a high risk evolution), keep trying harder until you learn how to present a project to the department head and get it accepted, talk to the people on the floor who have to implement and get a consensus, or look for a new job.
     
    Best regards,
     
    Jim Shelor

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    #156707

    CT
    Participant

    This is a classic example of not having any KPI’s in place. Until you start to measure the performance of the process you will not be able to tell what the problems are. Begin by laying out some high level flow charts and develop a best case and worst case scenario for finishing transactions, measure the process, tweak your control limits, and expand your data. Then you will start to see the bottle necks, flow problems, etc. From here you will be able to establish project “Y’s”
    CT

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    #156710

    rdrage01
    Participant

    Ditto on the KPI.  Until you have measures in place to demonstrate current preformance it is going to be difficult to generate interest in improvement.  Cycle times and accuracy of transacationals processes are usually there, you may have to dig a little.  Remember, you are the change agent, develop KPIs and then ask the question is the current performance acceptacble given that each defect cost x $$ and or customer dissatisfaction.

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    #156712

    Lomax
    Participant

    Brainstorm issues, (where is the pain questions) & prioritize the issues.  Conduct a SIPOC Analysis on the top 2-3 issues.  Do a high level flow chart of the process with a clear Start & Stop step identified.  The gaps are your opportunities for potential projects.  Rank them: Just do it! 6 Sigma Project.  Lean Opportunity.  If you don’t have a process or can’t map it because there is no proces I would recommend a Lean Project of Design Kaizen.
    Jessie
     

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    #156716

    Francisco Dantonio
    Participant

    Thanks guys for your helpful notes (except Fake Gary, who should be taken out and…)
    As for KPI’s, if I work in an engineering area with hundreds of engineers designing complicated drawings for various programs, and they are all short on resources because they are trying to program manage 1000 tasks for very demanding “do it now” customers, what sort of KPI’s should be in place? I was under the impression the VP mandated that we will do Six Sigma projects, because without the top down support, a lone BB wandering around talking about transactional KPI’s that are hard to dollarize would be less than successful. We have done brainstorming, SIPOCs and ranking, and I agree that I write the charter and problem statement, but shouldn’t the SPONSOR of a potential problem step up to aid in this process? My whole problem is that it is like selling vacuum cleaners door to door, and cajoling/needling people that “really, really, it’s worth it guys”,  more than analytical problem solving. As an analogy, why don’t auto mechanics descend on suburban neighborhoods and go door to door asking if people knew their cars needed oil changes and mufflers, etc.? Just my two cents.
    F.D.

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    #156717

    Fake Gary Alert
    Participant

    francisco, let’s face it, your so called “six sigma program” is a dead horse … “where do projects come from” … what a silly question! i hope you don’t ask that kind of question when you attempt to sell your vacuum cleaners, or six sigma projects, or whatever you try to accomplish … .  

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    #156718

    Francisco Dantonio
    Participant

    Fake Gary,
       Well stated. Except the vacuum cleaner part.
    I wonder if when companies hire BB’s, instead of asking them statistical questions, they instead should focus on their ability to come into an organization and sell, sell, sell. Why would you hire someone trained in statistical problem solving, and then say, “Well, we don’t have any projects, so go get your own, report back when you have some. We will wait to see the list, and provide minimal input to you because you must drive the program, even though we have Directors that do that. Oh, and quit complaining. ”
    They leave that portion off the ASQ exam. Too much time spent on Z tables.
    F.D.

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    #156722

    ShootMeNow
    Member

    This is easily classified as a complete failure of upper leadership.  It is not the role of the BB to find the projects!  The system was never designed to work that way…you cant give someone responsability for a task without the authority to carry it out….Hence the need and inclusion of champions, sponsor, MBB, Business Quality Councils, etc….I will never understand why this is debated. 
    Your BQC (or some equivalent) should identify, assess, and prioritize project ideas that were originally submitted by process owners (whose evaluations and or compensation are based on this project submittals for their area), placed in a project data base (ie project hopper)  and then assigned to a BB to work with the process owner and MBB so as to further quantify the problem, finalize the business case,  and finalize the charter.
    Telling a BB to ¨look for areas of improvement?¨ You show me a plant manager/department head  (or the equivalent) who cant tell me where there is scrap-rework, OT problems, capacity issues, product failures, throughput delays, customer complaints, excessive field service requests, etc, and I will show you a great example of the Peter Principle. 
    The only thing I agree with is that you have to take responsability for your projects and outcomes…work to correct or get out…get out is probably the better long term option. 
    Thus endth thy rant.

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    #156726

    Welcom
    Member

    Welcome to the real-world of failed six sigma deployments and implementations … our cute little textbooks and the online programs forget to mention that this is what happens to the many six sigma implementations that fail … go figure.

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    #156732

    Gopal Ranjan
    Participant

    Hi,
     
    Project selection strategy needs to follow two approaches:
    1) Top-down: This basically involves drawing Big Y projects out of the strategic objectives of the organization. These Big Y projects can then be broken down to smaller Y. As the name suggests this involves the top management deciding on the strategic objectives that then decide the organization wide deployment of projects.
    2) Bottom-up: This involves more democratic approach wherein everyone in the organization is asked to identify pain areas and then Six Sigma projects are run around these pain areas.
    Both the approaches have their own pros and cons. However a succesful deployment strategy will involve a mixed approach.
     

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    #156734

    Fake Gary Alert
    Participant

    Gopal,In what six sigma for total dummies book did you get those philosophical insights: top-down, bottom-up approach … congratulations on your ability to manipulate excel spreadsheets. but stay with that, six sigma deployment is not for someone with so little insights and such blatant ignorance and naiveté.

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    #156749

    Francisco Dantonio
    Participant

    Amen brother.

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    #156758

    Gopal Ranjan
    Participant

    Fake Gary Alert,
    Your response sounds just like your pseudoname (or is it original). One cannt help if you have a vacuous head to think a practical approach as philosophical approach. This is not from any Six Sigma book or whatever…. it is out of experience of successful deployment of the initiative. So my advise would be that instead of shooting off your mouth and showing your vacuous thinking like this, try to figure out the essence of what is being discussed.

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