Selecting a project to apply Six Sigma methodology to is an important first step. There is no argument that Six Sigma is beneficial, yet the process also has a significant cost element. The project must be selected on factors that will justify the resource and time commitment (effort) vs the potential gain (result).
- Does it have a significant impact on customer satisfaction?
- Does the project strongly relate to business goals?
- Can project gives the financial benefits? (Revenue Growth, Cost Reduction, Capital Reduction, Key Business Objectives, On-Time Delivery, Lead Time, Quality, Customer Satisfaction)
- Overall benefit and profitability to the company.
- Measurable And tangible results
- Cost of the project
- The well-defined scope of the project
- Can the project be completed in 3 to 6 months? A good project must be manageable. Prolonged projects risk the loss of interest and start building frustrations within the team and all the way around. The team also runs the risk of disintegrating.
What not to select?
It should neither be a bean-sized project so that the improvements are too small to be appreciated neither a world-hunger project that implementing the solutions is beyond the control of the stakeholders
Low Hanging Fruits
Low-hanging fruit (also known as the Quick Wins) are the issues identified throughout the organization that people are just dealing with. Starting with the low hanging fruits is probably one of the best ways to start the project selection for Six Sigma.
Characteristics of Low Hanging Fruits:
- Easy to implement
- Fast/quick to implement
- Cheap to implement
- Within the team’s control
- Easily reversible
General Guidelines for Project Selection
While not everyone deems project selection as important as top management commitment and team training, many do place it at or near the top in terms of importance.
An interesting issue is whether project selection should be part of the define phase or whether it should constitute its own phase, which would mean the acronym should be P-DMAIC rather than DMAIC. Either way, well-considered selection of projects in terms of clear criteria and with top management involvement is vital.