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Six Sigma Project Management
By:Tony Jacowski

Employing Six Sigma for the business environment is for achieving well-defined goals. The project selected for deploying Six Sigma is not self-sustaining and can develop tendencies to get off target following even the slightest let up in its management. The focus of the Six Sigma management committee is to steer the project implementation to meet those stated goals within budget and time constraints.

Six Sigma Project Management Stages

Project management in Six Sigma begins even before selecting a project. In the run up to the implementation, the right kinds of people, who have proven track records, are selected for Black Belt positions. Since Black Belts are the pillars of managing six sigma, it essential that candidates have proven qualities such as attention to detail, tendency toward problem solving and a proclivity for dedicated work.

Organizational clearances, essential for project implementation, have to be sorted out at this stage. Project selection that has a potential for a high payoff cannot be missed out on any account. For example, because of lack of funds or because of organizational stumbling blocks.

Defining Project Goals And ROI
Defining project goals and estimating pragmatic ROI is essential at this stage to set the course for project implementation and for bringing it back to course if an audit shows that deviations occurred during the implementation. This is really important – if deviations are missed it will produce endless financial and customer base losses to the company. Another key aspect is setting practical ROI targets without getting carried away. The bar shouldn’t be set too high and certainly what has not evolved from the “Voice of the Customer”.

Getting Down To Measurements

Measurements are the watchdogs of a project and demand total integrity. This is the area where Master Black Belts and Champions need to concentrate completely. Black Belts can encounter undesirable pressures for misrepresenting facts, which would otherwise expose a few poor performances.

Another issue that needs to be tackled is of a more serious nature. The consultant teams have their interests in keeping the project going on for as long as possible. This fact may be seen in the fact that Black Belts employed at the company do not measure up to the reputation of the consulting firm. From this point of view, it becomes important to double check and get back to the basics to negotiate the names of professionals who are going to be deployed.

Six Sigma Audit By Internal Committee

The internal audit committee must not the audit exercise lightly, as there is much at stake. The audit committee, besides inspecting process records and documented measurements, must place a lot of emphasis on interviewing the internal customers. The interviews should focus on finding the status of efforts at minimizing customer complaints. This is clearly an exercise of contrasting the condition ‘as is’ against ‘should be’, which is the goal. The Champion will then take over the matter for brainstorming with the Master Black Belts and Black Belts. The agenda of the brainstorming session should not deviate from discussing the findings of the audit committee.

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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