Home » Business » Management

How To Select A Six Sigma Quality Improvement Project

Aug 17, 2007
Selecting a quality improvement project is pretty similar to selecting any other project in Six Sigma. But identifying the improvement area within your department or within the business will not automatically lead to having the project selected. Not even filling out a few forms or forming the core team nor naming a team leader will mean that you have selected a project that changes the way your business is conducted.

Let us examine what constitutes a good project as a precursor to understanding how to select a quality improvement project for Six Sigma implementation.

What Constitutes A Right Six Sigma Project?

Although organizations intend to select projects that help them change their bottom lines by tremendously improving the customer experience, this will not always succeed. Somewhere along the way, the project selection team could get carried away during the exercise and end up selecting projects that just remain a thing of academic interest alone.

1. A good project boosts your business returns tremendously
2. The right project will have realistic timeframes which begin to show results in 3-6 months time
3. The right project simplifies processes and as a result employees will feel relaxed and appreciated
4. Customers, both internal and external, will feel they got their money's worth and enjoy the benefits
5. Increased ROI satisfies the shareholders, who can decide in favor of further projects

Selecting The Right Quality Improvement Project

Since a quality improvement project is intended at maximizing ROI through metrics such as COPQ etc and improves the customer experience, the project selection team needs to involve perspectives from all those who benefit. The following guidelines will help in this direction.

1. An internal survey with top management of your organization will reveal the top three or four issues that need to be ironed out. Any one issue from this list or one which has a direct relation to one of them can be said to have been aligned to the business interest. As a side benefit, selecting one of these ensures stronger commitment from the top.

2. Since customers are at the other end of the business, issues relating to them may be considered before selecting a project. Voice of Customers serves as a guideline towards this end. You can use customer feedback from the sales department or through conducting a sort of survey that will also help to know the mind of the customer.

3. Keep in mind that unmanageable projects overburdens the finance department; sometimes team members may get shifted back to their original duties. You will face a real problem if the team gets frustrated when they realize that they are going around in circles with no end in sight. Select a realistic project that ideally completes in 3-6 months and with positive results.

4. Select projects which can be measured in real terms such as an addition to the bottom line, growth in sales because of improved quality and reduction in process time. The COPQ and waste reduction are key milestones.

5. Selecting bigger projects is biting off more than you can chew. The project size must not be over the abilities of your team; conversely, it must not lead to increasing the team size if there are budgetary limitations.

It also goes without saying that every need has its own unique recourses and what worked for others may not work for you. Getting down to the basics rationally with a plan and a spreadsheet will help you to select the right project.
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.
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 155
Print Email Share
Article Categories