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Beginning a Six Sigma Initiative

By Tony Jacowski

You cannot have a project-specific vision when beginning a Six Sigma initiative. It is essential that you develop a perspective with a comprehensive and an all-encompassing viewpoint that reaches out of the scope of the project on hand.

Begin the Project Selection with the Right Initiative

Select the project for Six Sigma implementation after weighing priorities. This does not mean that you should dive at the most pressing problem first without looking at constraints. Here is a brief guideline for project selection as initiation of Six Sigma.

1. Not all projects incur or help save same amounts of money. This infers that apart from monetary considerations, you should look at weighted aspects such as simplifying draconian procedures, improvement of employee satisfaction and the potential to produce an outstanding and exemplary result that instigates further improvement projects.

2. Decision about Belts and their placement makes way for some of the tough steps while initiating a Six Sigma project. Analyze the long term cost benefits of recruiting Black Belts keeping in view the present day affordability. Grooming belts in-house is another proven option.

3. Subdividing the project deployment into 2 or 3 phases like the strategic phase, tactical phase and operational phase which systematically uses and follows statistical tools for analyses which help take the imperatives beyond the line employee level.

Scrutinize The Project Deployment Strategy In The Backdrop of Top and Bottom Line Improvements

Before you get going with the implementation, it becomes the imperative next step for the leadership to contrast the projected outcome of the project against the goals of management. The goals can be thought of as reflections of the Voice of Customers. Perhaps a pointed checklist may be very handy in critically questioning each strategic step of all involved phases.

Unless the draft strategy is scrutinized, you never know whether deployment can yield results or the whole exercise becomes a futile pipe dream. Brainstorming is another formidable tool that evolves a collective opinion on which foundation lies the legitimacy for the journey ahead. At no point in time can the project leaders and the Black Belts can afford to forget the huge sums of money at stake.

Monitoring and Factoring In the Midway Course Correction

There are unforeseen deviations that remain undetected and flowing parallel. Scheduled midway auditing by the internal or external Six Sigma auditing team must throw light on any deviation. The auditing team could be drawn from the implementation team of Black Belts with the Master Black Belt or the Champion to head it.

What you must keep in mind is that unchecked deviations could drive the deployment efforts in new undesirable directions uprooting the vision of management.

More Initiatives

Each organization must find its own way of coming out of a problem. Nothing depends entirely on the deployment team. Here are a few suggestions in this direction.

1. Establish the channels of communication for the Belts.

2. Establish a core group to implement the findings of the deployment team.

3. Keep training a constant activity.

4. Implement the survey outcomes of internal customers.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online ( ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.


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