The Six Sigma Project Planner


The Six Sigma Project Planner

One day, several years ago, I received a call from a colleague who was organizing a
conference on quality improvement in the healthcare industry. He asked if I could
help him find a speaker who had successfully completed an improvement project
involving healthcare processes. I had just begun consulting for an integrated
healthcare organization that had been pursuing TQM for a number of months, so I
called the Manager of Continuous Improvement and asked her. “No problem,” she
said. “We have over 50 projects in the works, and some have been underway for
several months. I’m sure that we can find one to showcase at the conference.”

My goals for The Six Sigma Project Planner are:

• Help the user identify worthy projects and move them steadily to successful
• Help the user identify poorly conceived projects before devoting any time or
resources to them.
• Help the user identify stalled projects and provide them with the attention they
need to move forward again.
• Help the user decide when it’s time to pull the plug on dead projects before
they consume too much time and resources.
• Provide a record for the user that helps improve the project selection,
management, and results tracking process

How to Use The Six Sigma Project Planner

The Six Sigma Project Planner is designed to implement the Project Planning and
DMAIC phases of the process shown in Figure 1. It also addresses some issues
encountered in the post-project phase. The assumption is that the enterprise has
completed the project selection phase and that Six Sigma Green Belts and Black Belts
are choosing their projects from a portfolio of project candidates approved by Senior
Leadership.1 The Planner is not a textbook on Six Sigma tools and techniques. It is
assumed that the user of the Planner has been through the appropriate training class
for his or her role in the project. For example, the project Black Belt will have
received training as a Black Belt and knows what is meant when the Planner tells him
or her to perform a gauge R&R study. For the trained individual, the Planner
provides direction on when a particular Six Sigma tool or technique should be
employed, assuming that the project team includes personnel who understand the
tools. It also provides numerous worksheets and summary pages to implement the
tools effectively.


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