Lean Six Sigma – A strategy for business success, Part 3 of 3

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Lean Six Sigma – A strategy for business success, Part 3 of 3

Continuing from earlier …

When choosing Projects to tackle, they should be SMART:
Specific: A narrow focus (to avoid lengthy projects that never finish)
Measurable: Data availability is good / plentiful
Achievable: The focus area is within our control or influence
Relevant: The fix will be directly felt by the project’s customer
Time bound: Result achieved by a certain date

But watch out for Project Selection Pitfalls

A significant percentage of projects that fail do so because the project was not appropriate in the first place.

Characteristics of inappropriate projects:
➢ Business case has not been made
➢ A solution has already been determined
➢ Many of the key stakeholders have not bought in to the project
➢ Data is unavailable and very hard to get
➢ Scope is too broad, project takes too long
➢ Key resources are not available
➢ There is no urgency to complete the project – not a burning issue
➢ Project is selected by managers in isolation, not part of a clear strategy.

Some interesting data:

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion”
Lao Tzu

Data from the last 78 projects completed by graduates of our Black and Green Belt programmes showed that €7,866,858 was achieved in cost savings by their companies, equating to an average of just over €100,000 per attendee.

Picture 5

The above 78 graduates come from sixteen companies all in the private sector. They range in size from a company employing 4 people to one of 4000 employees and are evenly split between service and manufacturing industries. The projects vary from cost reduction projects targeting waste elimination/yield improvement to revenue generation via increased sales conversion/reduced time to market. These are real projects undertaken by real people, delivering real savings for their companies.

Making change stick and success last

Finally before you go implementing “improvement projects” remember, most people resist change and the reasons are as varied as the people themselves. They look into the crystal ball of change and see scary bad things happening to them. Resistance to new ideas can be inconvenient, even a real pain but is it something to worry about? Yes, the cost of being unable to get people to embrace new methods and ideas can be tremendous. A change effort is actually more likely to fail due to the inability of opinion leaders to deal with resistance, than it is due to the technical merits of the project

So before launching a major improvement project or change initiative, get people on board, hold crucial conversations, work through differences of opinion, understand their honest concerns and you will be rewarded with a supportive and committed team all going in the same direction, i.e. towards lasting success.

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