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Effective Project Management With Six Sigma

Jun 5, 2008
Many companies are searching for a system that would enable them to achieve this goal. They are even seen to be combining systems like Total Quality Management, Total Quality Control and Six Sigma. One combination, which has promising results, is that of Project Management with Six Sigma.

There are various stages in project management where Six Sigma tools can be coordinated:

Setting Goals

The Six Sigma methodology of DMAIC provides a systematic and disciplined process for solving problems. By combining Six Sigma with project management, this stage evolves to be a good base for further stages. It involves understanding the scope and the objective of the project. The tools of Six Sigma like FMEA and control plans can be useful within the project management's validation phase of the life cycle.

Adding budgeting, scheduling and resource management from project management helps companies make informed decisions. Practical ROI targets can be set and measured for implementation. This stage also involves planning for change, communicating the project plan and assigning responsibilities.

This integration of the two techniques allows for the creation of achievable targets, which ultimately lead to quality processes for the customer.

Measurement and Control

Estimating the costs and budgeting for the project is an important stage, because if they were approved, then it would lead to successful implementation of the changes or improvements to the processes. Measuring and analyzing everything that is being done are the major areas where the Champion and Master Black Belt need to concentrate. Six Sigma goals are based upon detailed financial data and savings.

In typical project management, the organization is not entirely aware of the financial implications. With the Six Sigma methodology, goal setting is based on hard facts and provides techniques to achieve solutions to the most difficult problems.

Planning and implementation

The next stage is planning and implementation. Critical input is available which quantifies what the effect would be if the needed improvements were ignored. This is cost-benefit analysis. Based on this input, planning of improvements in the process is done, as well the controls on the solution solidified.

The project team develops an implementation plan along with a change management approach. This allows the organization to prepare to adapt to the changes. Finally, when it comes to implementation, it is already ensured that all members are prepared for change.

The team then develops appropriate plans for a smooth handover of the improved process. They have a proper understanding of the tools of control.

Audit and Control

For a project to run successfully, Audit and Control measures are required. There has to be regular analyses of the results of various metrics of the project. It has to be checked if the targets are being met. Equally relevant is the customer factor. It also has to be verified that the customer is getting value they expect and that was planned for in designing the project.

Six Sigma is a robust and continuous improvement strategy. If projects are implemented properly, aiming to give value-added output to the customer becomes ingrained into the company's culture.

It brings about relevant and lasting changes in an organization as a whole.
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 six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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