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Process Improvement Teams For Six Sigma Success

Jul 25, 2008
The Six Sigma Team

The Six Sigma process improvement team is formed by selecting members from selected processes of the organization. They have a clear set of goals and targets defined. Each member is trained and is well-versed on organizational objectives. They have mutual trust and each member knows that they can influence the team agenda positively.

The team is put together by a team leader and process owner. The members may be directly or indirectly involved with the process. Members may be built by the senior management but need not have departmental leaders. Regular users of the system or processes are the major players of the improvement team.

In a management-led approach to improvement projects, communication is top- down. Since there is no involvement of the basic workforce in process improvement, they may resist it more.

Advantages Over Management Teams

The Six Sigma process improvement teams, however, have an advantage over management-led teams. They are developed by involving some of the core members directly working on the processes. This creates a sense of ownership and passion in the implementation of the project.

Solutions by these members are often closer to the required results, as they are aware of the problems in the system. The resulting savings and improvements are immediately visible to the affected business units. As teamwork is and underlying factor, members feel more involved and valued for their efforts.

In the process of building a team for a Six Sigma project, it is important to put together members who are knowledgeable about the processes and have a resourceful mind. A team leader should be appointed who is familiar with the project management process. They should also be aware of Six Sigma and should be undergo the proper Six Sigma training.

The team size should be manageable to ensure that all members participate. There should also be someone who is able to record ideas properly.

The team should start work by developing a project charter and setting the definition of the initiative. The charter should define the processes which need to be considered for improvement, along with the timeline for various steps of the project. They should be aware of the metrics and select one which suits their process needs most.

Once the metrics have been decided, they should brainstorm improvement options. If a simple quick-fix solution is available for even a small improvement, it should be implemented so that it encourages other members of the organization to see its benefits and respect the initiative. Various control tools are available to monitor the actions and their impact on the organization. Any variations or defects are identified by using these charts and then the necessary changes brought about. A critical system to process performance has to be put in place.

Six Sigma team members should have multifunctional capabilities. Improvement tasks should be integrated in the process to bring about a smooth transition. The process improvement team drives the Six Sigma project to success through the dedicated efforts of its members.
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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