Project Selection – Getting a good one!

Project selection is critical to project success.  To insure you have the right project let me give you nine areas that you should think about and if any you do not have then I’d find another that has all nine as they ALL are important.

  1. Project Sponsorship – The project needs a High Level individual that is committed to seeing this project completed. Not just interested but a real need for him/her to see success.
  2. Benefits – You need to make sure you have well defined and measurable benefits agreed upon by you your team and your sponsor.
  3. Available Resources – You do not have a crystal ball so at this point you will not know all the resources that you will use but you do have an idea of some of the resource that it will take. Make sure that they will be available during the project when you need them.
  4. Scope in terms of your (the black belt) effort – Do you have the time to do the project and will it return a big enough benefit for your level of expertise.  This is really asking will it take to much of your time and you will need other Black Belt help or is it something that is a “go do project” that really does not need your Six Sigma Expertise to accomplish.
  5. Deliverables – Have the things that you need to accomplish well defined. This is not the benefits but the things you have to put in place to get the benefits. Think of this as the vision of the state you are trying to achieve.
  6. Time to Complete defined – Usually for a Black Belt project it should take more than 3 months but less than 12. Like some else said if the project is to big, break into pieces and make your first project one piece. BUT avoid making the problem a “Job”. You have to complete hand off and move on.
  7. Team – Do you have a true cross functional team? What I mean is do you have someone from every function that works the process you are trying to improve.
  8. Project Charter – This is where you have the project well defined. As mentioned by other if you do not have this you will not succeed.
  9. Approach Value – Like the Scope in terms of your effort ask yourself if this project really needs a Six Sigma approach to solve? Or can a group just go do it. Usually if the project has been suggested by someone who understands Six Sigma it will be and will need the DMAIC process to solve. But I have projects given to me to “Clean the lab”. In reality they just did not have time themselves to clean it. So hire someone to do that for less than you make and you use your talents on a project fitting them.

Well I hope that is help.

Good luck! Let me know if I can help any more.

Peter Bersbach

Comments

  • Arek Kieres September 4, 2009 at 5:59 am Reply

    Peter,
    I have a horrible feeling that these criteria can be useful when you have the bunch of projects but…
    In big companies it is unlikely that you find a right project by your own because you will not have the full visibility of the entire company.

    What is your projects sourcing process? How you plan series of transformation projects with real impact? Of course someone from Operations can come to you and say: “I have a project: Let’s save some paper”, other “Fixing Invoicing process is more important”.

    And finally you can end up with bunch of projects with NO real impact on the business nor strategy.

    What is your project sourcing process?

    Regards,
    Arek

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