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Process Ownership: A Vital Role In Six Sigma Success

Dec 28, 2007
Segregating a single process into two different tasks is necessary because both the tasks are quite different from each other. If responsibility were not allocated properly, it would become quite impossible to identify the root cause of a given problem if something were to go wrong during the implementation.

How To Work With Process Owners

Process owners are generally current leaders or managers, but depending on the immediate needs, an organization can hire Six Sigma experts from outside to render their services in the capacity of process owners. Before selecting a process owner, management can conduct any number of due diligence exercises it thinks is necessary for checking the skills and talents of potential candidates. However, after a candidate has been selected, he/she should be given complete freedom to handle the tasks involved. Described below are some qualities to look for while selecting a process owner.

-Should have requisite experience and extensive knowledge of the process
-Should have an eye for detail so as to identify ineffective processes
-Should have the ability to inspire and motivate team members
-Should be an effective communicator
-Should have the aptitude for coping up with unforeseen problems
-Should be able to gain the respect and admiration of team members so as to ensure their full cooperation and support
-Should display a fair level of receptiveness to new ideas and suggestions

The process owner should be given the right to seek any number of suggestions or input from other stakeholders associated with the project without the liability of actually implementing any of these. Sometimes, organizations appoint a process owner to work under a qualified Six Sigma professional such as Black Belt or Master Black Belt. Sometimes both are called in to discharge their duties as partners, but all these combinations often fail to deliver results because in the first case, it may lead to ego clashes and in the second it may lead to improper allocation of responsibilities.

Selecting Project Team Members

After selecting a process owner, the next big task is to select the project team members who will perform their duties under the guidance of both the project manager and the process owner. Here also, the process owner should have the ultimate say in the selection process so as to avoid potential ego issues that might surface in the near future. The project manager can no doubt convey his recommendations, but it is the process owner who should stamp the final seal of approval.

Giving such powers to process owners may seem undemocratic, but in the business world it hardly matters whether a proposed thought or strategy is democratic or not as long as it achieves the objectives; which in this case, is carrying out the implementation effectively and within the stipulated time and costs.
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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