We have covered the basics for creating a Six Sigma infrastructure and if you have already run a project, most of the suggestions go hand and with running a project effectively. Now that we have reached the end, let’s recap the Six Sigma strategies we have learned.
To create a fully functioning Six Sigma infrastructure, I would like to see:
- A consensus for Key Business Objectives
- The creation of core, key and sub processes.
- Organized support for Six Sigma projects.
- A decision on the role of change agents and who they will report to.
- A firm decision on the usage of cross functional teams.
- Transition timeline definitions.
- A decision for a centralized or decentralized approach to Six Sigma.
- Valid measurement dashboards.
- A strategy to incorporate Six Sigma into the performance award system.
- The creation of expected Six Sigma ROI.
- A commitment to assign a firm amount of financial, intellectual and infrastructural resources to Six Sigma projects.
- A commitment to continuously evaluate Six Sigma projects and make adjustments as necessary.
So there you have it, a generic Six Sigma infrastructure. Now it goes without saying, but I’m going to mention it anyways-you need to tailor the infrastructure to your organization. These foundations are a great way to start, but it is worth bringing in a Six Sigma professional who understands your company to help you build your infrastructure. I know that some people will read this and think ‘ that’s so easy, I can put that in place’, but no project is the same and I always look to Murphy’s Law when engaging a Six Sigma project.It’s that old measure twice, cut once adage.
Picking up where we left off last week, we have hit the home stretch in creating a Six Sigma framework for your organization. So let’s go over the last steps in creating your framework…
Create and Validate Measurement Dashboards
This is one of the more poignant parts of Six Sigma and it’s one of the parts that organizations most often get wrong. One of the best things about Six Sigma is its ability to expose meaningless metrics. A few years ago companies got in the habit of measuring everything, but unless the measurement will help you reach a business goal, increase quality or increase customer satisfaction, it isn’t a meaningful statistic. By validating the measurements you are forced to look at what your measuring, how you are measuring it and what those measurements mean. Putting the measurements on a dashboard means that you are committing yourself to a constant awareness of those statistics, and that is not a bad thing. It breeds accountability and problem solving, both great skills to develop in your staff.
Decide How to Incorporate Six Sigma Wins/Losses Into Your Reward System
I have always been a bit undecided on reward systems, but I am hands down in favor of recognition and praise. The key to a successful Six Sigma infrastructure is to engrain the behavior into your corporate reward system. The great thing about 6Sigma is that it is continuous, which means in terms of a reward system there will always be something to recognize and therefore reward.
Decide the Amount of Dedicated Resources
To succeed, Six Sigma needs to have a dedicated amount of financial, intellectual, staff and infrastructural resources. I’ve always said and will say again, that Six Sigma is not a quick fix. It is a methodology that requires a total commitment to seeing the project through to the end. That journey also requires those involved to acknowledge the need for and to implement change. So if you are thinking of assigning a part-time champion or resources on a trial basis, 6Sigma is probably not the program for you. If you are looking for a long-term solution, then you are ready to walk down the aisle.
Create a Strategy of Continuous Evaluation
Six Sigma requires that you always be diligent and that is what makes most people oppose it. Let’s be frank the requirements in the beginning ask for a lot of heavy lifting and to keep this marriage happy, you have to keep going to therapy and working on the issues. It never ends and that is what is great about Six Sigma, it doesn’t allow you to quit even when it looks like you don’t need it. You never get to say I’m perfect and that’s perfect because no company is omnipotent and you should never take your clients for granted.
Next week we will recap what we have learned about creating a Six Sigma infrastructure, until then…what are you waiting for? Go get started!