How to sink your six sigma project part 2

Free Webinar – 11 Ways to Sink Your Six Sigma Project, Part. 2

Click here to see Part 1 of this Free Webinar.

  1. Poor Project Selection
  2. Defining Defects
  3. Training Variation
  4. Statistical Training
  5. Shoddy Certifications
  6. High Attrition Rates
  7. Relying on GEMBA
  8. Tool Application
  9. Sustaining Results
  10. Estimating Benefits
  11. Six Sigma or Lean

“Hi Everyone. Welcome back to the sequel discussion on the 11 ways to sink your Six Sigma project. When we last had a discussion about it, we left off and had a few more ways of seeking your project to talk about. So let’s get right into the next way that we had, unless there are questions or anything.

The next way that we had was tool application. Part of the black belt training curriculum includes a discussion of several statistical techniques. After  the training is completed many of the black belts will search for areas to apply these high-level statistical tools in their projects. That’s because they’re under the misimpression. There needs to be a lot of statistical analysis for the project to be good or even acceptable. So how do we avoid this misunderstanding that you have to apply a lot of statistical analysis tools to your project to have it good? Anybody has some inputs on that? You can put them in the chat room that we have. What I’ll do right now is give you some inputs as you’re thinking about that and starting to come up with stuff. One is that your training emphasizes that the tools that are taught a part of a toolbox, in which you use the tools that is appropriate for the issue. We teach a lot of tools in the training that we give. But, t’s not necessarily all the tools that you could possibly need to use. The idea is to have that background and knowledge of where to go to find a particular technique that you will need to you use to solve your problem. Not just to add another tool to the project. I wonder if the author isn’t saying that we, you know, have a hammer and we’re looking for a nail. So that instead of looking for a way to actually solve a big problem or make an improvement, we’re actually looking for a way to apply the tools that we just learned about. That’s a good point. I think they can do that. There is some feeling that I want to use all these tools that I just now learned and in fact in many cases you don’t use a lot of them. There are some of them use all the time but there are a lot that you don’t use. So we do have a comment here or a question from Karen. She says, “Have experienced mentors that know what tools are appropriate not just impressive experience, is the key that is not available right after a training class.” That’s a great point. So you know, take advantage of people that are in your organization that are experienced. Also I might add, you know if you’re involved in the Pzydek Institute Six Sigma training class, take advantage of that forum on the front page. You know that’s another source of a lot of experience including folks like Pete and I. But also your fellow students and former students who have gone out into the world and applied this. Thanks Karen. Any other comments or anything? Not right now, not on the chat. Okay.

The next one is sustaining results. A Six Sigma project team works hard to achieve results. The project is closed and those involved are certified as black belts or green belts. Then after certification, everyone forgets what was done during the project, and the process is left to manage itself. In many organizations, there are no mechanisms available to monitor the sustainability of the results. So he’s concerned with once the project is completed and everybody certified or whether he’s been done, that everybody just forgets about it and it’s left to its own accord. I believe. So we have some things here. Let’s see I’ve got one that says, one potential solution get an outsider to review and challenge your plan your chartered etc. Another thought I had is that when I think about the Six Sigma process, the control phase is all about maintaining the gains. If you have this happen where it tends to get lost at the end, then something in the control phase didn’t happen right. We have a comment in the chat room, “One potential solution is to be sure to pay careful attention to the control phase.” I want to you know echo that sentiment because it looks to me as if this way director Six Sigma project completely ignores the fact that in Lean Six Sigma the debate process we have the control phase which should preclude this from happening. We have a comment or question from Cornelio. It says, “Involved the process owner in the project from the beginning to make sure that he feels that he also owns the changes.” Karen comments in the chat room, “Also did the stakeholders buy into the control plan before it is finalized?” She’s talking about senior management. Yeah. I think they’re all good. I think another thing that a lot of times the control phase tends to leave out is what I call contingency planning. Because whatever you implement a change, something’s going to go wrong. There’s going to be a bump in the process and you have to let people know what to do when that happens. Otherwise they tend to go back to the old way because that’s exactly how they knew how to solve the problem back then. So those contingency plans are important to keeping things on track and keeping it moving forward and raising flags when things go wrong. We also have a comment here, “Also do the stakeholders buy into the control plan before it is finalized.” That’s people as well. Marvin comments in the chat room, “The gains should be celebrated.” That’s a good point. You know if the first of all the team and other stakeholders deserve the celebrations. But also it’s going to highlight the fact that changes were made and that they were beneficial and good and encouraged people then to maintain the gains that were made. I guess there’s no other comments. We have another comment in the chat room, “Another potential solution is to include omits in your leader standard work to keep an eye on long term results.” That’s a good point. Don’t forget to go back after a period of time and do this audit to be sure that the process changes were effective. Okay let’s take a look at the next one.

Estimating benefits. After the six sigma project is completed, the project team prepares a report to present to management with details of the financial benefits. Usually, the team closely monitors the results anywhere from a few weeks to two months before closing the project. After the project is closed, there’s may not be any system for capturing the true savings from the project. As a result, all the financial benefits appears as estimates on the paper. I think what they’re driving at here as many kinds of project will get kind of closed off and forget about tracking further the savings of the projects, and actually showing it over a length of time. You know let me comment that this is really part of what the leaders and the leadership team needs to do needs to make happen. Because if in our belt training we present the domain toolkit to people to help them conduct improvement projects. But, this assumes that there is a an enabling function that will not let but capture results and make sure the project’s benefits are relevant to the organization and so on. So this groundwork has to be laid. Webinar in the chat room an attendee says, “Quality companion 3 has some very slick tools to allow monitoring your financial results, making it easy to continue monitoring after the project’s closed.” Also quality companion 3 has a dashboard program that allows the organization to track the results across the organization and there are other software tools that also allow that. So software, the technology can help providing that the organization supports it. That’s kind of my comment that I added here. Was the results metrics should be incorporated into the organizational dashboard. Whatever mechanism the company uses to show success attract success. We have a comment in the question window from Karen, “New or revised work instructions should be put into place with training of reason for the change.” So Karen would you mind if I unmute you? I’d like to ask you some additional questions on that. So I’m going to unmute. I have a question, are you saying the work instructions should also describe why the changes were made? What the changes are and why they were made? Actually you are a little garbled so maybe you could type a type your comment into the question window. I’m going to meet you again, because we don’t need at least I don’t hear you very well. So yeah it’s coming in kind of garbled. So yeah. So the users are commenting the attendees are commenting that the audio is garbled. But she says, “New or revised work instructions should be put into place with training of reason for change.” So that’s Karen’s comment. Okay anything else. Nothing else in the chat or question windows.

Okay the last one that we have really is Six Sigma or lean? When Six Sigma began being widely implemented in the 1980s, there was a general confusion among industry and individuals regarding which concept to apply to implement: Six Sigma, total quality management or something else. After 25 years, the debate now involves Six Sigma, lean or a combination of the two. Especially in the service and financial industries, Six Sigma is giving way to lean and Lean Six Sigma. So what are people’s comments on this issue and problem? I’m going to kind of kick it off with my thoughts on it. To me when I first got involved with Six Sigma, it was never about one or the other basically  lean when it came up. Where I used to work it was Agile and it devolved into lean. It was always about using the right tool or technique at the right time in place and you know not knowing everything but knowing where to go if you need to get it. So it’s always, it always confused me. This argument about whether Six Sigma or lean and I understand will come from but at least from my perspective was always use the correct tool. It doesn’t matter. So we have a couple comments. One from Karen she says, “Okay many times the process needs improvements in a work instruction already exists. When the improvement happens revisions are done to the birth instruction everyone needs to be trained on the changes.” So I think she’s referring to the last slide. Last question in comment. Here we have in the chatroom comment, “The two complement each other very nicely lean to address waist six segment to address variation.” And another says, “I vote for being Six Sigma as the feather toolbox.” So I agree I think the two are complementary. I think you know looking at lean is a way to address waste and Six Sigma for dressing variation. Defects is a good way of looking at it. I’d also say that usually you should do mean first and when you’re done doing lean you’ll find that you’re not yet perfect. There will still be a lack of flow, they’ll still be waste in errors and defects. You’re going to need the Six Sigma tools you have to track down the causes of those things and to eliminate the causes. I also wanted to add that there’s also a third tool kit which is the Theory of Constraints. The abbreviation for that is TLS which combines main Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints. There are some consulting companies that are really pushing that and they’re having some success in making that approach widespread. So I think that maybe the next thing we need to look at. The Theory of Constraints for those of you who aren’t familiar with it it, was promoted by a person known as a Zyra Goldratt. It basically says that in any process or operation there is some step or some activity that limits that process and that’s called the bottleneck. You should identify that constraint and there are methods for identifying it and then for dealing with the constraint. I think that that is an important part of Lean Six Sigma. We include it in our training and it’s considered part of the lean toolkit. The reason that I think it’s real obvious because if I have a process that steps one two and three and say it’s not able to produce to the customer demand. I look at and see which of these steps is actually limiting me. If it turns out to be step two, there’s no point really in improving one and three because they can already produce more than step two. So you’re going to focus your attention on the step that is really constraining your process. I think that’s a good point. I think with what’s happening or happens all the time in hopefully good with Six Sigma is it it’ll look at you know other tools and techniques that come up that become ways to improve on the way we do things in the Six Sigma world in trying to improve processes. Theory of Constraints one and there may be other tools and techniques that will come up and be very applicable to new approaches to making improvements. I’d also like the comment that I think it’s exciting that after all these years the continuous improvement toolkit is still in widespread use and it’s becoming even more widespread. It’s moving out of the United States. It’s moved out of the United States and into the world at large. It’s moved out of manufacturing and into services and healthcare and transaction businesses. So I think what we have here is a general approach to making things better and I think that you know that certainly in the best interest of everybody. It’s that they go me beginning I think we’re just on the leading edge of a continuing push to make things better in general. So we have a person who says, “I agree. I was in the Middle East a few weeks ago and there are clear signs of interest in lean six-sigma.” Yeah that’s true. We have students in the Middle East and Qatar Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. I’m getting a lot of inquiries from people in that region. So it certainly is something that’s got the attention of people in that region. Any other comments? None in the question or chat windows. Well I guess just to wrap it up, I think we did a good thing in the last week in this week. A lot of input, a lot of good comments and ways to avoid these 11 things we need. We’ll get these combined and out to everybody. I hope everybody that was in last time that what they had. Got the output from the last time, if not we can make sure you get it. As you think about these if you think of things that were missed, feel free to contact me you know, add it to the list. I have my email address in the chat window for the GoToWebinar program, so if you have any comments please send them to me and I think that’s a wrap. What do you think Pete? I think that’s a wrap. Okay thanks everybody, we’ll see you at the next webinar.”

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