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Sponsorship, Chartering and Six Sigma Project Success

Aug 17, 2007
Six Sigma Results Are Only Visible After Some Time

It is a misconception in many organizations that using Six Sigma as a quick fix solution can solve internal organizational issues. The fact remains that Six Sigma advantages in any organization will be apparent only with the passage of time. It would therefore follow that a lack of strong corporate commitment to Six Sigma would fizzle out as an unproductive business improvement strategy. To avoid this, there has to be a clearly written and defined charter and a strong project sponsorship that would ensure proper implementation, practice and support, to maintain the quality of Six Sigma methodologies and provide positive project results.


As discussed above, a successful Lean or Six Sigma project can result only if there is a strong project sponsorship. Six Sigma envisages a change and any initiative for a change deemed necessary, based on cogent data, to meet the objective of the project, needs to come from organizational leadership placed at a level high enough to approve those changes.

To cite an example, a project that focused on cycle time reduction for renewal of client contracts sponsored by the Director Operations responsible for retention of accounts. Even though it appears good from the sponsorship point, the required change is to be effected in the process and behavior of the sales team, which is responsible for thirty percent of the cycle time and over which the Director Operations has no authority.

Understandably, the project will be stalled at the improvement phase, due to lack of support from sales and cost the company, instead of saving on unbilled revenue. This highlights the undesirability of initiating sponsorship at too low a level for executing necessary changes.

Clear And Well-Defined Charter

For the success of a project, it is necessary to have all components of the charter clearly written. Even when the sponsor understands what needs to be done and other related aspects of the project he may not be properly trained to author a written project charter.

Key components

Scope: The scope of the project should be established before the project takes off. It would set stakeholder expectations and clearly communicate what and what will not be delivered. This helps to avoid potential problems that could arise from out-of-scope additions to the project. The scope should normally cover not more than three key process input or output variables.

The Team: Team selection is one of the most vital areas of a Six Sigma project. The right strength in number and also the right mix is important. People with the right personalities and the required skill sets.

Timing the project launch: Be mindful of the right time to launch a project. For example, avoid a project launch for the accounts department at the end of the fiscal year, as it may create a bottleneck that could lead to the death of the 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.
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