QUESTION:Do You Analyze Exam Results And Provide Feedback To Learners To Help Them Pass?
To protect the integrity of all our exams, we don’t provide the questions or answers. However, if someone is particularly challenged, we are able to analyze their exam(s) and share which concepts/tools should be studied to help learners pass since it’s our goal to help you and your employees succeed by learning and applying Lean Six Sigma.
QUESTION:What is the role of the project Champion in DMAIC Projects?
We use the terms “Champion” and “Sponsor” interchangeably but here are some attributes of the role
- This is an executive leader who will drive the initiative within the organization
- They work with the Master Black Belts, Project Management Office or other leaders to select projects aligned with organizational strategy
- They provide resources for improvement teams
- They help remove barriers beyond the team’s control to achieve successful projects
- They support and lead change within the organization
- They help to develop a culture of Lean Six Sigma
Obviously some Champions embody more aspects of the role than others. But this list outlines what a good Champion is all about.
QUESTION:How do you quantify the impact of Action Plan A to the result vs. Action Plan B, and so on…
If a bunch of solutions are implemented at the same time, it may be difficult to quantify which changes had an impact. At the same time, we see multiple solutions being implemented all of the time. The key to doing this is identifying a measure or indicator for each solution that helps determine the success/impact. For example, if you implement a new form and a new process to improve Cycle Time. Well, how do you know which had greater impact? After measuring the change in cycle time to confirm if there is an improvement, you might also look at how many “new” forms were received or were in circulation. Also, you might do a Process Walk to observe the process, to see if people are actually following the new process. The idea here is to collect additional support data around that specific solution and the root cause that the solution is designed to address.
QUESTION:Is there any guideline to know what tool to use (Fishbone, Pareto, CTQ, etc) during the measurement phase to focus in a specific area or are the more tools you use the better?
Good question. There’s actually a great companion piece to the Green Belt Training called the DMAIC Field Guide – this lists challenges, best practices, deliverables and suggested templates/tools for each Phase.
QUESTION:When selecting your first project, should you be cautious of tackling a large scale project?
Great question and the answer is “yes!” Our advice will always be to start small. Do something meaningful but focus on “manageable” projects if it’s your first time out of the gate. Your goal is to prove to yourself and others that you can follow the Lean Six Sigma method and achieve positive results. Tackling something you could complete in a short period of time will accomplish a number of things:
- You’ll get immediate practice on using the method from start to finish
- You’ll make mistakes and learn from them
- You’ll gain confidence in your own capabilities
- You’ll build the confidence that others have in you
- You’ll be ready to tackle a larger project and make even bigger improvements (with fewer mistakes!)
QUESTION:If I am just starting out with Six Sigma, what advice can you give me to ensure that I pass the exam and secure a position in process improvement?
Two good questions. Let’s take the exam issue first. We have practice questions so you can get comfortable with the content. We also have interactive flashcards if you’d like to test your knowledge. You can access the training and take the exam as often as you need in order to master the content.
In terms of the second part of your question, once you’ve become certified you can add your certification to your LinkedIn Profile as well as your resume. Join the “Lean Six Sigma” group on LinkedIn and other groups to stay abreast of available improvement jobs. Keep in mind that most modern companies are looking for employees with good problem solving skills regardless of whether it’s called “Lean” or “Six Sigma.” Check out this interview about the hiring practices at Google. Also check out the list of information on “50 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your Greenbelt” for a list of practical information. Analytical skills will make you a better employee across the board!
QUESTION:There are times when one is just given a project and there is not much time to use the tools provided to determine whether or not it’s the “right improvement project.” Do you have any advice for these kinds of scenarios?
You remind of an adage we often use when dealing with the “time” issue around fixing processes: “We don’t have time to do it right, but we always have time to do it twice.” This doesn’t mean that I’m not sympathetic to your situation. We are often handed projects and told to just get them done. But I would advise you to put the project through some kind of rigor in order, at least, figure out what you’re in for. It might take an hour or so to set up the initial criteria but after that it takes just 15 minutes to screen the project. Once you do that you can prepare appropriately.
If it’s just an implementation project then you’ll want to to focus on Project Management and build a good Implementation Plan. If it’s just a decision then you can do some cost benefit analyses. If you are concerned that there is no data available, you might ask for leadership’s assistance in verifying where the data might come from. Even if leadership is not flexible on the need for the project – vetting it would give you a prioritized list of where to focus in order to maximize your chance at success.
QUESTION:Is Lean Six Sigma the same as Project Management? And, if I become Six Sigma Certified how does it add to my project management skills?
Project Management and Lean Six Sigma have different but complementary certifications. Both certifications are very popular in the business world and add a valuable and desired skill set to the individuals completing these certifications. Project Management Certification is regulated by a governing body called, the Project Management Institute. Six Sigma, however, does not have a parallel governing body . There are a number of organizations who would you like to believe they are the governing body for Lean Six Sigma Certification, but there’s never been any agreement among the competing firms.
Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to activities in order to meet the project requirements. Lean Six Sigma can fit under this broad definition, however, Lean Six Sigma certification focuses on the application of the process improvement methodology and tools. An even simpler explanation is this: Lean Six Sigma certification concerns root-cause analysis and problem-solving. Project Management is about managing actions, timelines to meet requirements such as implementing solutions. We see a lot of overlap with Project Management and Lean Six Sigma in the Improve Phase when the team has agreed on a solution and they need to manage the implementation.
QUESTION:In real practice, how long does a Six Sigma project takes from start to finish?
This really does depend on the scope and size of the project. We have seen projects completed in as little as 60 days while some take longer than a year. If this is your first effort, we recommend starting small. Pick a process within your span of control, with a manageable problem and a small team. This will allow learners to focus on applying the methodology and understand the tools and approach. As you gain more experience, projects can be more complex, broader in scope and require larger teams.
QUESTION:What is the difference between a process improvement project and a process reengineering project?
Process Reengineering, as popularized by Michael Hammer in the mid ’90s, involved “blowing processes up” and starting with a “blank sheet of paper.” Although Hammer reconsidered this approach in later books, the idea was to ignore the current process and just design a new one. Process Improvement projects involve analyzing the “as is” process to build profound knowledge about a process, pinpoint existing waste and then use that knowledge to make key changes to the process. Both approaches have the goal of a desired future state, but process improvement achieves it by studying the current state. It’s much cheaper to conduct process improvement!