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 Six Easy Steps To Keeping The Six Sigma Project Pipeline Full | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Six Easy Steps To Keeping The Six Sigma Project Pipeline Full

A project that is a ‘just-do-it’ type of project will not reap any benefits or show any returns on investment.
A system to develop a project pipeline is in line with the efforts for continuous improvement. A six-step process to keep the project pipeline full will enable the Master Black Belts and the Champions to find the right projects and select the appropriate one necessary at the given moment.
The steps in the process are as given below.
1. Understanding the Issue: The Champions and Master Black Belts should meet with senior managers to discover the problems they face concerning their departments.
Also important is to understand the performance achieved in comparison to yearly targets, possible reasons for the gaps in performance and lower revenues and profits. They should find out what areas managers feel could do better with some sort of assistance and customer feedback.
The finance department, operations, maintenance department and Human Resources are some areas for investigation.
2. Consolidation of issues and confirmation: Once the ideas and areas of concern are known from the senior managers categorize them using the affinity diagrams and if needed just-do-it project may be undertaken.
After consolidation of the issues, confirmation of the categories should be taken from management. By involving senior managers in analyzing using the affinity diagram, team leaders ensure that they do not miss any issues or areas of concern.
3. Review meeting with senior management: In this stage, a meeting of the senior managers should be done on a common platform and the concerns presented to them. By asking root cause and ’cause and effect’ type questions, the objective is to determine the specific issues that need to be sorted out.
One advantage of getting all the managers together is to build a base for undertaking change projects. The relevance of continuous improvement efforts is important for the success of the Six Sigma initiative.
4. Develop a Picture of the projects: Using the list of issues derived from the earlier step, it is them necessary to meet with the staff reporting to these senior managers.
They will be able to provide more specific ideas of the issues, and team leaders will find the right level of expertise required for each project.
5. Prioritize projects: The most important step is to prioritize projects using the pay-off matrix, FMEA or criteria rating.
All previous feedback of senior management and other members, the VOC and the voice of business and the time and ease in completion of the project should be taken into consideration, and projects prioritized accordingly.
6. Make project assignments: Depending upon the expertise required for the project, the right people should be assigned to the projects.
Their skills, training, strengths, experience and the authority level are some of things that need to be given consideration.
Master Black Belts and Champions should constantly identify improvement projects. They should undertake these steps over a period of 3-6 months and find projects to keep the pipeline full.

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 six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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