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Leveraging The Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Base

Aug 17, 2007
The surety and effectiveness of a Six Sigma project relies heavily on leveraging the enterprise-wide knowledge of the project implementation team. Hoping for the best could hardly have any meaning, provided the team lacks overall knowledge of the goals, customs, and the treasury of knowledge and practices of the overall organization in specific and cross-sector knowledge in general. It is crucial for the project implementation team to know alternative practices and strategies available within the organization, and current status of the project.

Leveraging the Existing Knowledge Base In Six Sigma

The knowledge levels expand as per the following in an enterprise:

1. The HOW and WHY of process flow, the implementation goals and the change management strategies

2. Knowledge about the enterprise including the goals and the current juxtaposition, alternatives, etc.

But it is easily noticeable that the availability of ready information on both is chronically lacking. The way to move ahead in situations such as this can be with the trusted tools of knowledge sharing such as brainstorming, innovation and organizing ideas which help get ideas out of the box.

At the core, Six Sigma isn't self-sufficient and it somehow inexplicably still remains in a rut that it is enough to be experienced about problem solving whenever one is encountered. So, as a logical consequence, it cultivates habits which draw lines between tool-specific knowledge and overall knowledge which leads to lost opportunities due to lack of initiatives for innovations and broader perspectives.

Valuable Areas For Knowledge Beyond The Project

Enterprise-wide knowledge is quite capable of an all around contribution to the overall cause of the Six Sigma implementation. Tackling a multi-faceted problem with problem-specific specialization is futile and will blunt the effectiveness of the project team.

Take a look at DMAIC again; in the measurement stage, selecting the right metric is only half the job. But knowledge that tells you how to simplify and foolproof it; and in the control stage questioning things rationally: how could anything be sound? Why couldn't there be mistakes, how can measurement and control processes be automated for best of implementation, etc.

Opportunities for Leveraging Enterprise Wide Knowledge

Take the 2 instances that are extremely effective ways of bringing knowledge to surface.

1. Retrospect- Looking back to review as to the gains of pilot project or an actual project and the reports of a review committee. Retrospect helps to gain insight into the reasons of success or failures.

2. Action Reviews- This is a fact-finding exercise which focuses on the slippage between two parameters, such as what has happened and what was planned.

Accessing enterprise knowledge can't be possible just by forceful ownership. Use of congenial and facilitation techniques must be resorted to, to bring out cross-departmental knowledge. Some other techniques to bring such knowledge to the surface are below:

1. Peer Assist programs by face to face interactions
2. Evaluating contextual relations between projects
3. Final, stage-specific, project documentation
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta
Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online href="http://www.sixsigmaonline.org">six sigma training and certification
classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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