I have covered some specific Six Sigma topics in previous blog posts, but now I want to put up a general guideline for using Six Sigma principles and tools. This post is the first in a series that tells you how to create the framework of a Six Sigma effort.
Create and Agree on Key Business Objectives
Because Six Sigma measures variations, it is imperative that you choose the right projects to measure. If you don’t have a method of selecting projects, before you begin your Six Sigma effort your first step should be to create one. Before your initiative begins, your organization needs to have a standard method for selecting and rejecting projects. Your project selection criteria should reflect your organization’s goals and growth strategies.
Create Core, Key and Sub Processes
This can seem daunting, but it will be the easiest part of your Six Sigma process. This is where value stream mapping and process mapping will become indispensable. Your core processes are the processes that keep your organization running on a daily basis. The key processes are the processes that create the end product/service you clients use. When you start looking for the sub processes you are looking for the processes that support one or both the key and core processes; it is important that you identify the correct processes
because these are the areas that you will be measuring and controlling.
Create Six Sigma Support within the Organization
The key to success with any Six Sigma effort is organizational support, especially from key leadership. Six Sigma efforts are only successful when organizations are invested in the efforts success. To get this kind of support you will need to ensure that the team understands why the effort is important and how it ties to the larger organizational goals. Creating a dialogue about the effort and what it is trying to accomplish creates the foundation for support within the organization.
Identify the Change Agents and What You Want From Them
In previous posts we identified formal and informal change agents and what the respective roles are, both are equally important to a change effort. What needs to be mentioned is that once the change agents have been identified, the belt leading the Six Sigma effort needs to define exactly what they want the change agents to do and how they want the change agent to report to them. If the change agent is informal, this could be tricky and while you may not need to let the change agent know directly you will need to make sure the belt has the expectations laid out in a clear and measurable fashion.
This is a good beginning in establishing a Six Sigma framework, next week we will continue starting with using cross functional teams, until then…enjoy!