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Webinar: How to Select the Right Improvement Project - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Watch our 1-hour introductory webinar below and you’ll learn how to select the right improvement project which will help you set yourself up for success. We covered best practices, challenges you may face and a walk-through of how to use a Project Selection Tool.

Project Selection Tool

The Project Selection Tool is a 3-Step process to screen project ideas and ensure they are meaningful and manageable. This tool includes a screen for non-DMAIC projects, a Goal Statement builder and an Impact Effort Matrix to rigorously assess potential improvement projects.

Webinar Recording: How to Select the Right Improvement Project


Webinar Presentation: How to Select the Right Improvement Project


Webinar Level

  • Introductory

Date & Time

  • Date: Wed, Jan 13, 2016
  • Time: 10 am – 11 am PST

Agenda

  • Clarifying Organizational Strategy
  • Finding Sources for your Projects
  • Following a High-Level Selection Process
  • Addressing Challenges You May Face
  • Using the Project Selection Tool – A Mini Case Study
  • Q&A

Elisabeth-Swan_GoLeanSixSigma.comPresenters

Elisabeth Swan, Managing Partner & Executive Advisor

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner, Executive Advisor and Master Black Belt of GoLeanSixSigma.com. Elisabeth has over 25 years of success helping leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem solving muscles and use Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.


“Tracy-ORourke_GoLeanSixSigma.com"

 

Tracy O’Rourke, Managing Partner & Executive Advisor

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For almost 20 years, she’s helped leading organizations like Washington State, Cisco and GE build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.


Q&As From the Webinar


Webinar Transcript

Hi there! Welcome to another GoLeanSixSigma.com webinar. Lean and Six Sigma and worldwide go-to improvement methods and these webinars are part of our efforts to make it easy to use those tools and concepts of Lean Six Sigma.

Today’s webinar is How to Select the Right Improvement Project. And I will be your presenter today. And my name is Elisabeth Swan. I am a long-time Lean Six Sigma practitioner starting back about late ‘80s and I’ve worked in every industry I can think of. I’ve been either a coach or a trainer, helped design implementation with partner clients.

I live on Cape Cod. But if you recognize my name at all, it’s because you saw Keira Knightley play me in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie so I have a background in piracy. But I also have a little background in Lean Six Sigma so I should be able to help you.

Who Is GoLeanSixSigma.com?

So GoLeanSixSigma.com, our mission is to make it easy for everyone everywhere to build their problem-solving muscles. So we basically believe in taking complex subjects and making them simple. We believe that training should be practical, accessible, and enjoyable. There’s no reason not to have that.

So we’ve made it our mission to transform how people learn about Lean Six Sigma and we do that with a running case study at the Bahama Bistro. So why not have training in a beautiful place like the Bahamas. But you’ll see that case study throughout. We’ll use it here today.

And there are a lot of organizations that feel the same way we do. They also want to simplify problem-solving. It doesn’t need to be that complex.

We’ve Helped People From…

As you can see here, there are a lot of different types of industries. We have bricks and mortar. We have online. We’ve got finance. We’ve got healthcare, manufacturing, state government. It doesn’t matter. If you got an organization then you’ve got problems so you need problem-solvers, and that’s what we try to do. Build the problem-solving muscles of employees for the organization. And we’ll get into more benefits.

Today’s Agenda

But today, we’re going to work on selecting the right project. And to do that, first, we clarify organizational strategy. We’re going to talk about how to find project. Where do you go? What are the sources? We’re going to look at a high-level selection process, how to think through where you get your projects and what projects make the best ones.

And then we’re going to give you this really easy to use project selection tool. You can download it after this webinar and we’re going to walk through how to use that using our Bahama Bistro case study.

What Is a Process Improvement Project?

So what is process improvement project? It’s usually team-based but it can be solo. But you’re basically taking a process from a current state to a desired future state. You’re usually looking at projects or processes that are – they have defects. They are messy. They take too long. They cost too much.

When we interviewed our subscribers, we found that 70% have either participated on more raw projects. It’s about equal of that 70%. So today, we’re going to go through this with the Bahama Bistro and we’re going to demonstrate how to use the tool and how to get to the project.

Sources and Alignment

So first is this idea of where do projects come from? And I’d like to think about this arrow saying they can come from the bottom up. They can come from the top down. This can be something that employees who are on the frontline, they’re using the process. They usually see the problems first hand. They’re a great source for what to fix and often how to fix it.

You’ve also got management. They’re looking at where do we need to be? What’s our strategy? What are the right projects to get us there? So you want that mix of bottom up and top down.

You also want to mix of projects that save you money, projects that increase your margins, sort of focus on finance. I often find organizations go there first. You also want projects that focus on cycle time. Cycle time can be internal. It shouldn’t take us so long to do something.

Or this last category of customer satisfaction, voice of the customer, it could be something that takes too long for customers. So thinking about these different areas and how we align our projects, those are sort of the high level sources in what you’re trying to accomplish.

Key Elements

So what are the elements of project selection? So first, we start with purpose. And that might sound obvious to some people. But it’s a great thing to review and think about, which is why do we exist as an organization? What are we trying to do? What is it that we are – are we in healthcare? Are we trying to help people on their path to better health? What is our purpose?

The next thing you’re looking at are metrics. How do measure our performance. If that’s our purpose, how are we measuring whether we’re accomplishing that purpose?

So from measures, you go to capability. If you’re measuring metrics that tell you whether you’re going to accomplish what you set on to do then you want to know how capable you are. Where are we in terms of capability?

Then comes your focus. Once you measure how you’re doing, that’s going to inform where you want to focus. How do you want to direct your efforts to get where you want to go?

And that’s going to lead to actions. What are the steps you’re going to take to achieve your goals?

And last is stability. All of this should cycle so that if you are staying on point, you’re measuring how you’re doing, you’re looking at your capability, looking at gaps, focusing your efforts and your actions, then that should lead to stability, updating those metrics and letting you again focus where you need to go.

Taking those elements and looking at what do we use to satisfy those. Purpose means you got to be clear on your mission, your vision, your values, which will lead to strategic outcomes. Once you get that clarity, you’re looking at how do we measure capability and what are the dashboards and scorecards saying about our organization or what’s on a dashboard, what’s on the scorecard that’s going to help us understand if we’re getting to our strategic outcomes.

The next level there, capability, is that combination of what our customers saying to us and what our employees saying to us. Customers letting us know we’re on track, we’re satisfying their requirements. Employees saying, “This is a great place to work. We really enjoy making sure customers get what they need.”

That leading into the focus and that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts is the project selection.

So project selection which is going to lead to those actions and you can see there are different types of projects down there. We’re in the middle. We want to select a Lean Six Sigma project for either a Green Belt project, a Black Belt project, the Yellow Belt project. We were looking at a Lean Six Sigma project.

Now, there can also be design projects. We will touch on those later. Or daily improvement. If you’re building an organization full of problem-solvers then they should be doing it every day. It should be what they do for work.

And then stability. Once you’ve done those projects, you’re feeding those metrics back into the dashboards and that’s going to help you again focus your efforts and your actions.

Bahama Bistro Roadmap

So let’s take a look at our buddies at the Bahama Bistro. This is their mission, vision, values, which led to their top 3 to 5-year goals. I love their mission statement. They say, “Our mission is to provide our customers with tasty food, thoughtful service, and a joyful slice of island life.”

It just makes you want to kind of float off to an island. But there are real strategic goals behind that, so top 3 to 5-year goals to delight their customers, to foster employee engagement, and to sustain their financial health. They got to stay in business to be able to do those two things. So that’s what we’re going to focus on with the Bahama Bistro is in order to meet those 3 to 5-year goals, where should they focus?

Dashboards

Let’s get into their dashboard. And the dashboard itself, let’s talk about it’s this high level at a glance display of key performance indicators regularly monitored. These are things that you can present to leadership, process owners, stakeholders. This is an at a glance, could be having process measures, people measures, innovations, finance. And these are powerful and they should be powerful because people process images 50,000 times faster than they process text. And we’re all pressed for time so that’s 50,000 compelling reasons to use charts and graphs right there.

So what can you do to make things visual? When we pulled our learners, we found that 60% of them used some form of a dashboard. So think about building yours for your business unit, for the organization. Do you have a good dashboard?

Customer Dashboard

So this is the Bahama Bistro dashboard. You can see they got sales. You’re going to have some financial. You got customer ratings. You’ve got in the lower left, you see we use the classic red, yellow, green indicators.

Green, we’re on track. Our performance metrics are meeting our requirements.

Yellow, we’re close but we need some improvement there. It’s kind of a warning.

And then red, we’re not meeting customer requirements. We’re not meeting internal requirements.

So here you see, they are not meeting requirements in terms of their pick-up order cycle time. So this gives us a clear mandate. Your mandate may not always be so clear. Your dashboards maybe full of a lot more measures and a lot more opportunity. But it’s a great first place to start is the dashboard.

Inputs For Project Selection

So now that we’ve understood that pick-up order delivery time is important, let’s just reflect. We’ve got strategic goals. You got the big goals, the 3 to 5-year strategic plan. You got short term. Where do we need to be in six months? What are we trying to be in 18 months?

You got dashboard measures. How are we doing? You got customer feedback. How do they think we’re doing? And employee feedback. How do our own employees feel about this organization?

What Is So Hard About Selecting Good Projects?

So looking at those, we are moving on. And let’s just reflect for a second about what is so hard about selecting good projects? And we asked our subscribers, our learners like what – once you select you project, you thought it was good. You had some criteria. You had some reasons you based that selection on what you thought were good criteria. So when you came out with what you thought was a good project and it didn’t pan out, why did that happen?

And a quarter of the respondents said that it was that they lack leadership support, and that’s critical and that’s something that we look at very hard. And my colleagues and I often just say, “Hey, no sponsor, no project. No champion, no project.” You got nobody in your court that says, “I back you. I got skin in the game.” Then don’t bother.

Another big 20% said it was too hard to get any data. And that reminds me of a good reason or a time I saw a project selection committee why they get rid of a project. This was a financial services firm and they were looking at why did people drop off their website? When people were trying to open an account, why did they stop the process and leave the website? So they want to look at that. They want to understand the drop off.

But when we got down to looking at the data that we would use for that project, well, if they dropped off before creating an account, then we don’t have any customer data. And if we don’t have any customer data then we can’t understand why they dropped off. So as much as we’d like to understand that, the data is not there. So we had to let that project go. So these are good criteria sponsorship data.

Another 20% said the gains were just not there. So they started the project and once they got the baseline, once they started getting into the details of the data, they found out, “You know what? We thought there was a big problem here and there’s actually not as big of a problem. Oh, we thought we were going to save a lot of money, it turns out to be it’s a buck 89. So let’s just let this project go.” And that’s key too. Let the project go.

Even if you started it, you’re in the define phase, maybe you’ve gone all the way to the measure phase and you baseline the project accurately and you found out there’s nothing here, let it go. Switch to a new project. There’s nothing more depressing than getting to the end of a long project that you thought wasn’t going to produce anything and didn’t, now then you have exhausted problem-solvers. And you don’t want that.

So the rest of the people said they had some issues with buy-in and we’ll talk about too. We’ve got a whole webinar on getting buy-in. But that means they may not have done enough work to reach out to stakeholders to really include people and get them involved in the project along the way. There are a lot of factors there. So we would not get too far into it.

Project Selection Tool

But let’s take a look at the process itself of selecting projects with the project selection tool. So this tool is a result of decades of experience with feeling terrible when candidates have come in with bad projects. So these are the questions, these are the steps we want our people to take to make sure their projects are good one and they don’t waste our time, they don’t waste management’s time.

So the first is just screen for low potential. And that is just looking for is this thing actually a decent project? Is this really a project? Sometimes people just want to implement something that’s not really a good project. If you’re going to be working on a DMAIC project and we’ll talk about a DMAIC a little bit more as an improvement model that stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. So we want a project that can use that process, that model. And we don’t want to just implement a solution.

Next is the determine the project type, so back to that using a DMAIC model and these other models. We’ll go over those momentarily.

Next, you want to clarify the project goal. And you might think, “Hey, that’s jumping the gun. You haven’t even got a charter yet and you’re saying you want them to come up with a goal.” Well, this is key because people will often say to us, “The goal is to improve this process.” Fair enough. We will be very happy if you improve that process but we would like to know what measurement is actually going to move when you do your work right? So what needle are you going to force to the right or to the left based on what you do to that process? Are you making it faster, cheaper? How is it better?

I also hear people say, “We’re going to streamline the application process.” Great. What does that mean? You’re going to remove waste? Are you going to make it faster, cheaper, better? What does that mean?

So clarifying the project goal just helps us understand and helps them understand what are you going to measure here. Because then that’s going to beg the question, is there any data? So we want to understand right now how do you measure success because that’s going to help us decide is this a good project at all.

So clarifying the project goal just helps us understand and helps them understand what are you going to measure here.

Next, we come into refining criteria. What are the criteria for a good project given this organization or this business unit? And we’ve given you some default criteria in a criteria metrics. We’ll go over that with you. You can adjust it and customize it for your own organization.

And lastly, that’s going to feed into something called the impact effort metrics. Based on how you score that project, that’s going to tell you the relative impact of that project. How much do we gain, save, reduce cycle time versus how hard is this going to be to do? How much effort is involved? How much is this going to cost? How long is this going to take?

So that’s just a high-level walk-through of the process we’re going to use with our project selection tool. So let’s get into it.

Pick Up Order Cycle Time

This is the first tab in the project selection tool. So this – the Bahama Bistro team said, “We want a cycle time reduction of pick-up order is what we want to do. That’s what we’re on about. It’s a pick-up order process. That’s got the red dot on the dashboard. This is where we’re going.”

Now, we’re going to screen. We’re going to screen this idea. And some key questions we have are, is the word implement listed in the description? I have gotten a lot of projects where that’s exactly what people told me they were going to do. And if you say implement then I know that somebody has given you a solution which might be great idea but it isn’t a good DMAIC project.

Now, we are trying to help a Black Belt, a Green Belt, a Yellow Belt, any process practitioner try to come up with a good project. So if it’s not, we can keep going.

Does the phrase “lack of” or “there is no” appear in the description? And that’s what I call a solution masquerading as a problem because if you say there’s a lack of a good communication system, you’re basically telling me, “I got a solution. It’s a communication system.” So if those words are not there, I’m good to go.

Does the idea recommend starting or stopping a particular practice? People may say, “We shouldn’t sign anyone up if they haven’t gone through phase 1 of the process.” And if that’s a reality then what you have is a decision. That’s not something you need to go through the whole Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control process for. It’s a decision. So maybe you do pros and cons. Maybe you do a force field analysis, a cost benefit analysis. But you do not need a full-fledged DMAIC project.

Next question. This one is key. Is this process part of the candidate’s regular job or are they familiar with it? Now, I see a lot of people, they’re looking for a project. They find great projects. They have a great candidate. And they say, “Hey, let’s just put them together.” But they’re not in the same business unit or they’re in the same business unit but this candidate is not in that particular location or maybe that candidate has never worked that process before, completely unfamiliar with it and knows nobody in that particular work area.

Those are recipes for a very difficult project. You have to have an incredibly charismatic person who is allowed unlimited time to go learn that process, get involved, interview the process participants. It’s much better and much easier for everyone involved if you allow that candidate to work on a process within their own work area. So make sure that people are able to work in their own area. If they can’t find something there, make sure it’s as near as possible. But that’s where you’re going to get the most alignment.

And if that’s no, then reconsider the project truly. You want to do this upfront so you don’t have issues down the road.

OK, next. And this one comes back to my statement. No champion, no project. So if there’s no on in leadership willing to back this project, if nobody has skin in the game then this is not a viable project. So come back. Make sure you got a champion and you may proceed.

Project Types

OK. Let’s come back. We have screened our project idea. It’s still alive. So let’s come back to this idea of Lean Six Sigma project types. You got anything from a quick win all the way to an infrastructure implementation.

So quick win, by definition is the implementation of a simple solution to a known issue. This is also called just do it fast track. And the idea is this thing we know exactly what’s wrong. We know what to do so we can just do it.

Now, I have found people apply the word quick win too soon over a large daunting project. So be really clear that it really is a quick win. Do you really know the root cause? Do you really know that this will solve it? That’s hard to answer in a single conversation but those might be projects. But if you do know the root cause and you do know the solution and it’s very clear and everyone agrees and it doesn’t go outside of one particular business area then that’s a quick win.

Next up is what we want. That’s a process improvement project. This is going to be a DMAIC project, a Lean project. It could also use PDCA, Plan, Do, Check, Act. These are incremental reductions of defects, cycle time, cost, it could be increasing productivity, either/all making a process incrementally better.

Next, you have process design, which is a creation of a brand new non-existent process. This thing doesn’t exist. So I often will ask Black Belt, Green Belt candidates, does this process exists now? Because sometimes they’ll say, “Oh, there is no process.” Well, is it happening? Yes, it’s happening but it’s not happening very well. It’s really messy. It’s like, OK it’s messy. It’s not good. But it exists. The process exists.

So checking that and that has a different model. It comes from design for Six Sigma or DMADV. These are different improvement models. We’re not going to focus on them today. The other one, also a process redesign that says, “Yeah, it exists but even if we incrementally improve this thing, we will not satisfy customer requirements.” That’s reengineering a process. It maybe there but maybe you want to take a white – a blank sheet of paper and it’s back to Michael Harry reengineering, the process is there but there’s no point incrementally improving it. We have to create anew.

And lastly, you got an infrastructure. That’s when you want to monitor process capability. You want to measure voice of the customer. You want metrics in place. These are things you want to see on your dashboard which are great things to do but these are not projects for Black Belts. They’re not projects for Green Belts. They’re not DMAIC projects.

Project Type

So that’s an overview of Lean Six Sigma project types. So now, I’m going to move to the project type with my project solution tool. So project type, you have some questions again that try to get at exactly what kind of a process are we looking at here? So will the project require a design of an entirely new process? Well, if it does, it’s a process design. OK? But this one doesn’t. There’s already a pick-up process. We don’t need that.

Will this project likely result in a process with little resemblance to the original? If we say, yes, it’s a process redesign. But no, we’re still going to have customers come to the window, pick up their orders.

Is the goal of the project to implement a measurement system? No. It might happen. It might create new measures as a result of this project but that’s not the goal. We’re not going to create an infrastructure project. So we’ll say no to that.

And then are the root cause and solution known? Do you already know what’s going on? Do you know why? Because if you do, you don’t need analysis. It’s a quick win. No, we don’t. We don’t know the root cause. We know there are lots of different reasons for variations so it’s a process improvement project. Great.

Now, we’re moving on and clarifying the goal. So we have this handy tab. I call it the build a goal process. So first is what’s the verb? Are we increasing or decreasing something. So in this case, we want to decrease the cycle time.

And what’s the unit? What are we looking at in this process? What are we following? We’re following a pick-up order. You might have an application. It might be an invoice. It might be material. But we are tracking the pick-up order.

Next. The question is, what’s the unit? How are you measuring this? The unit of measure. Well, I’m measuring the cycle time. In fact, I’m not just measuring cycle time. I’m measuring wait time. I’m going to be very specific for measuring wait time.

All right. Next question is what is your baseline? Well, I happen to know that it takes us 15 minutes per order. OK.

And now the question is what is your target? So I got a baseline. I got a target. If you don’t know right now, not in the measure phase, you may not have this data, you can say X minutes per order and the target is Y minutes per order. That’s fine. I happen to know we want to get it down to 7 minutes per order. Fair enough.

So if you notice now in this handy grey bar, we’ve got decrease the pick-up order wait time from 15 minutes per order to 7 minutes per order. Brilliant! I’m done. I’ve got a goal statement.

Typical Goals

So now let’s see what is next. So this is just giving you some typical goal so you can see the structure of goal statements. You can see how they are classically portrayed. You also need to timeframe when this is going to be done by. You can put that in your charter. But for us, we’ve got our baseline. We’ve got our goal. We know what we’re measuring.

But for us, we’ve got our baseline. We’ve got our goal. We know what we’re measuring.

Weighted Criteria Matrix

Now, we can move on to our weighted criteria matrix. So this is a very classic decision-making tool. A really good use of it is you’re trying to decide between different software packages. You got criteria of what you want it to do. You can also use it in a solution phase. You got different solutions. They are mutually exclusive. You can use it to decide which solution meets your criteria. We’re going to use it to decide if this is a good project for us given the organizational strategy, given our short-term, long-term goals and given our feedback from the customer on our dashboard and from our employees.

Criteria to Consider

So why use it here? It’s because we can create our own criteria to decide on a project. So criteria, some classic criteria at this stage are this project should supply some customer satisfaction. One of the criteria, a very common one is it has to supply some financial savings, some gain financially.

Another criteria is it has to align with strategy. How well does it align with our strategy?

Another criteria is need for IT involvement. And this is key because as we merge and form larger and more complicated organizations, you have legacy software. You have a lot of different software interacting with each other. IT usually means you’re talking about a longer implementation, the longer solution and timeframe or the fact that you got to get in queue for other improvements that involved IT.

IT usually means you’re talking about a longer implementation, the longer solution and timeframe or the fact that you got to get in queue for other improvements that involved IT.

So you want to be mindful if that’s a big factor of how much involvement is going to be required with your project. And this is again, we don’t know yet. But you have an idea.

Existing buy-in or resistance. You’re going to have some. People just naturally changes annoying. So you got to make a good compelling case for it. But other reasons for resistance, will people see this as a total loss in terms of what they do for a job? So be mindful again how much resistance are you walking into.

And last one I mentioned before, is there data available for you? How hard will it be for you to get that data? And there are a lot of other possibilities. We’ll take a look at what we’ve got set up.

Refine Project Criteria

So let’s go back to the tool. I’m going to the next tab. Number four, this is the criteria. So we’ve already given you impact criteria on the left. And on the right, we’ve given you effort criteria. When you weigh the criteria in a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is low importance, 10 is high importance.

Now, financial benefits, we’re going to leave at a 10. At this point in this organization’s development, financial is higher than customer. Fair enough. Number of areas positively impacted, this means can we make these solutions translate to other business units? Think about hospitality. I work a lot with hotels. Now, if they could make a good change with their check-in process, well, that’s hundreds of properties we could spread that to. So the ability to translate improvement was paramount. So that got a 10.

Here, yeah, there’s one other Bistro downtown but it’s not that big of a deal. So we’re going to give it a 3. Alignment, 8.

So you go through this. Come over to IT. IT is at a 4. There’s not a lot of systems. It’s just the system or the ordering system. But otherwise, we’re dealing with human beings, packaging, moving, things like that.

Resistance to change, I’m going to bump that up. These guys are way more driven by acceptance and it’s a small group so they all have to agree. So I’m going to give that an 8.

A number of areas involved, that again on the effort side, I’m going to give it the same score we gave it on the impact side, how much effort will that take.

Investment is 7.

Difficulty of data, we know that’s a killer. So we’re going to leave that up there to 9.

So this is all weighting our criteria. Once you have done that for your organization, for your business unit, you can leave that set. So that row is going to stay. You may tweak it over time. But once you’re done, you come down here to score your project.

So the project is reducing the pick-up wait time. OK. So now, we have to score how well this project might do against the criteria.

Likely, financial benefits, well, we’re just reducing cycle time. We’re not dealing with financial benefits. Yes, I could extrapolate that if we did pick up order faster that we would be able to get more customers through and that would then translate to more money. But I can’t say it’s going to – when it would hit the bottom line. So I’m going to give it a 1.

Positive customer impact, well, now I’m going to straight to 5.

So for these I’m using, there’s a little note here, a 1, a 3, or a 5. I’m trying to drive a little bit of differentiation. So that gets the highest score in that one and that one gets the 5.

Number of areas positively impacted, well, this could be used at the downtown. That’s as many other areas as there are. So I’ll give that a 5.

Alignment with strategy, this is definitely going to be part of satisfying our customers, we’re giving them a joyful slice of island life if they can get their pick-up orders faster. That’s going to be a nicer thing. So I’m going to give it a 5.

Transferability to other areas, again, we can transfer that over to the other Bistro. I’m giving that a 5.

And then level of business urgency, I would say it’s not – it was right in our dashboard so I would say that’s not the most urgent but it’s still up there on one of our main measures.

OK. Now, effort, level of IT, I don’t think this is going to involve the ordering system although we probably going to get data from it. I’m going to give that a 1.

Existing resistance to change. Chef doesn’t like change but – and he will be involved a little bit tangentially because this is really what happens after the food, so I’ll just give it a 3 just to be mindful.

Number of areas involved, we’ve got the group that does the packaging, the group that’s bringing it from the kitchen up to the front. So I’ll give that a 3 again.

Difficulty of finding data, luckily, we got time stamps because of that ordering system so not much difficulty there.

Capital investment, nada. That’s not going to take any money.

Estimated time to implement, again, I don’t think it’s going to be that long of a project. We’re going to give that a 1.

Impact Effort Results

OK. So now that we’ve done our criteria, selected our criteria and then scored the project, I now move to the impact effort metrics and see where it landed. So it told me that the effort involved was a 3.2. So on this lower X axis. I came in at low effort.

And then on my Y axis, which is impact, I came in a little between 8 and 9. This project is in the top pick’s quadrant, which is great. So that’s a good project. It’s going to give me low effort and high impact.

Now, if it was higher effort but it’s still high impact, it’s a potential investment. It’s going to be hard. You might not want this as your first project. But it’s worth considering at some point. If it was down here and it was high effort and low impact, well, unless you’re required by law or some state regulation, you probably don’t want to tackle that project.

And then over here, you’ve got things that are low effort and low impact. So it would not take you long. Maybe little bit, a little bump. It’s worth considering. That depends on where you are.

Starter Charter

So that’s going to take us – once we’ve done that and we’ve said this is a great project, well look, we’ve got a – we call it the starter charter. We’ve already got a charter ready to roll. We’ve got a title and we’ve got a goal statement. We have to fill in the rest of it. You would do that in the define phase. But this gives you a leg up in terms of the deliverables that are coming to you as soon as you launch your project.

Lean Six Sigma Project Sourcing Questions

You’ve also got an extra paging here of project sourcing questions. Asking questions like is there an opportunity related to the organization’s business priorities? Is there a scorecard or a dashboard goal that’s not being met? This is a reminder of questions to ask that will help you in terms of the sourcing of your projects.

And the last tab just reminds you of the Lean Six Sigma project types. We just went over those in the webinar. But once you have the tool, you can refer to those and just remind yourselves, “Oh yeah, we need this right here. We need a process improvement project for our Green Belt, for our Black Belt.”

Today We Covered

All right. So let’s come back. And here’s just a record of what we just went through. And we have now talked about what you need to think about in terms of your organizational strategy, vision, mission, strategic outcomes you need, that’s going to help with your project selection. Sourcing your projects, this can be top down for management. Bottom up, people see them in front line what’s wrong. They tell you what to fix. They can tell you what bugs them.

And then what’s the high level selection process, where’s the dashboard, what metrics are we not meeting, where is our capability gap. And then once we’ve got that pipeline, let’s use the project selection tool to screen it. Let’s make sure this is not just a decision, not an implementation. This is not a redesign project. So screen it. Come through. Create a goal statement. What are we going to measure, criteria metrics and then the impact effort results and your starter charter.

So, very simple, very helpful, useful tool. And all the questions related to this webinar are all posted below the webinar. So once you download it, you can also refer to any of the questions or click on any of the questions that you have that are similar to ones that other learners have had about this topic.

Getting Started

You also can see a link there for the project selection tool advanced. This is there for you as well. You also have the option of other training. You’ve got always the feel about if you’re already doing Green Belt or Black Belt, good for you. You’ve also got a Lean Training and Certification available. So you got a lot of options for training if you’re not already doing it.

Register for Our Next Webinar

These webinars come up once a month so stay tune for different webinar topics. These are all based on your input to us, what you guys request is what we choose for our topics. There’s a huge database of webinars already that you can go in there and search for things that are interesting to you.

Just-In-Time Podcast

Another cool thing is the Just-In-Time Café Podcast. And this has again, there has already been a lot of interviews with great folks. There are tools and tips. There are apps that we use that are great in the process improvement world. There are books we think are great. We do a little mini book reviews. We talk about what’s in the news with Lean Six Sigma. This is a really fun stuffed podcast and I recommend downloading that. You can get it on iTunes.

And that is it for today. Please reach out to us if you have questions. Please enjoy all of the free templates and tools that you can get on our website. And visit us again. Join us on the next webinar. And thank you all for joining. Bye-bye now.


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Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at University of California San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.