Six Sigma is a very widely used methodology that can help reduce defects in business processes and catalyze higher operational efficiency. Six Sigma methods find numerous applications in project management to help organizations gain a strategic advantage.
Six Sigma and Project Management
Project management involves a number of steps including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and finally, closing. Many organizations today have been integrating Six Sigma tools in project management processes. The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) approach helps develop a structured approach to solve business issues.
- The Six Sigma approach basically aims to understand the customers’ needs and eliminate defects and wastes to result in a better customer experience. Businesses strive towards achieving these objectives with a deep knowledge of project management, engineering, and statistics.
- Six Sigma tools can also be used in time management. These would necessitate better scheduling, risk management, careful progress monitoring, and more efficient resource management.
- The use of Six Sigma in scope management regimes would entail clear definitions of the requirements at hand, along with a strategy to manage change in the most efficient manner possible.
- Six Sigma tools, when used in cost management would require absolute budgets and measures for cost control. Increased reserves might result as a consequence.
- The use of Six Sigma would also require a careful selection of standards and a proper assessment of capabilities.
- It is imperative for businesses to have rigid deadlines, clear objectives, sufficient resources, and continuous support of senior executives and management for the successful completion of any project. These will prove to be of immense value for successful project management using the Six Sigma approach.
How Much Project Management Should be Covered in BB Training?
A certified Six Sigma Black Belt (BB) has an in-depth understanding of Six Sigma principles and philosophies. He should also understand the requisite tools and supporting systems. The BB should lead teams and understand team dynamics very well. It is also important for him to wisely distribute duties and responsibilities to each and every member of the team.
Six Sigma Black belts also possess professional knowledge of the DMAIC workflow and understand lean enterprise concepts as well.
Black Belts should be ready to function as project managers, for depending on another individual without the necessary skill set to manage a project might not be the right decision. It can, in fact, prove detrimental to the improvement initiatives critical to the Six Sigma process in view of the constraints on time, risk, and budget.
Black Belts should be adept in the use of project tracking software that can keep a check on the daily deliverables and activities. While these tools can help track team efforts and performance, they do not provide any overall guidance, insight, and expertise for managing a project. It is therefore essential for BBs to possess project management skills as well.
Inculcating Project Management in the BB’s Toolkit
The following are some qualities and tips that a BB can include in his toolkit alongside his usual Six Sigma expertise to be able to better handle day-to-day project management tasks.
- The Black Belt should be realistic in his endeavors to provide status updates.
- It is important to use the requisite soft skills for project management. Modern tools make project tracking easier, it is difficult to learn people managing skills.
- BBs should work in conjunction with project managers if a task involves organization-wide support and long-term implementation.
- Working in sync with a project management expert is also highly recommended since it can greatly speed up execution in a timely manner.
Six Sigma methods have proven their mettle in various fields and project management is no different. It is essential for Black Belts to possess an in-depth knowledge of project management and related fields to be able to better execute tasks for continuous improvement in a timely fashion.