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Management's Role In Six Sigma Project Implementations

Mar 24, 2008
You may not be aware of it, but the reality is that it is top management that prepares the basic groundwork for the proposed implementations. Without the basic groundwork and top management's help, guidance, and support, it would become quite difficult for the implementation team to initiate the proposed project, let alone the possibility of making progress and completing the project within the stipulated time and costs.

For a better understanding of the management's role, let us discuss some of its most vital components.

Communicating Basic Project Goals and Objectives

Upper management in most businesses is usually aware of the importance of getting the communications right. As such when a Six Sigma project is proposed it takes on the responsibility of ensuring that all the stakeholders such as Black Belts, Green belts, Project Sponsors, implementation team members and employees are made aware of the exact purpose of the project.

To achieve better results, top management usually stresses using written forms of communication, which in this case is often a "project charter", containing all the necessary details about the proposed project. To ensure that the true essence of the communications does not get lost in translation, the top management makes it a point to use easy-to-understand language and avoid unnecessary technical jargon.

The charter enables the stakeholders to get a better understanding of their respective domains and responsibilities, something that goes a long way in avoiding confusions and misinterpretations related to the project.

Making Available the Required Resources

Six Sigma projects are no doubt beneficial, but the point is that they first need to be completed, something that requires resources in the form of men, material, infrastructure and know-how. Upper management understands this quite well, which is why when a Six Sigma project is proposed, it stresses creating a separate logistics team, meant solely for providing the requisite support to the Six Sigma implementation team.

The logistics team is usually chaired by a senior top management official who mainly plays the role of a mediator between the top management and the implementation team. He or she is also entrusted with the responsibility of making available the required resources at the right time, at the right place, and of course in the right quantity.

Apart from these, top management also helps in garnering the much-needed support and cooperation of employees, who are most likely to have negative feelings about the proposed Six Sigma project. Top management is usually composed of experienced personnel who know the business inside out, understand what works and what does not, and most importantly are quite adept at handling employee dissatisfaction. All this makes it much easier for them to resolve issues that might be acting as a barrier for the implementation team.

It also proves the point that the top management's role is vital for the success of Six Sigma project implementations.
About the Author
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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