Six Tips for Six Sigma Implementation

A recent article on the SSON did a great job of covering the Top Ten Tips for Implementing Six Sigma. Of these, five are absolutely critical to the success of your effort. Even though all ten are important, if you miss any of these five, plus the bonus tip, you can pretty much bank on a project failure.

  • Go Six Sigma, Go Lean All The Way
    Half-way efforts don’t work and, in fact, will only make matters worse. You need to actively engage your entire team in end-to-end value stream mapping, understand what needs to be done, and do it.
  • Don’t Forget The Change Leadership
    Chances are you’ll identify significant changes that need to be made … changes that won’t be easy. Furthermore, such a radical departure from traditional operating practices will almost certainly be accompanied by numerous traumas all along the chain of command if the correct message isn’t communicated consistently and thoroughly. Change will have to be managed top down.
  • Get the Measurement Systems Right
    Metrics are essential to six sigma as you can only improve what get’s measured, but you’ll only improve if you focus on the right easy-to-calculate metrics which drive you towards continuous improvement.
  • Understand the Wider Environment
    Understand how your project will impact the rest of the organization. For example, trying to improve your processes during the busiest production season might not be the greatest idea. While Six Sigma and Lean are always the right things to do, it’s not always the right time to do it.
  • Don’t Expect Training Alone To Solve Everything …
    Your staff need to be well-trained, but you need more than training … you also need an execution framework, an execution plan, and good project management (with great change management and leadership support) to see the project through to completion.
  • … But Don’t Forget the Training!
    Having a well-trained team is a must. Your people have to be up to the challenge.

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