Six Sigma and Project Management: What's the Connection?
Six Sigma is an effective methodology for assisting organisations in improving processes through the use of a data-driven approach. When a company launches a product, it employs a number of processes to ensure its success. This is where Six Sigma comes in to help the project management team improve the efficiency of their processes. As a result, they will be able to finish the project on time and on budget.
Any organisation that consistently completes its projects maintains its competitiveness. Customers are also more satisfied, which not only ensures the company's survival but also leads to a higher bottom line. All of this demonstrates that Six Sigma is a valuable resource for project managers.
The Right Time to Use Six Sigma in a Project
During the course of a project, management can identify opportunities to apply Six Sigma and achieve better results. Here are a few scenarios that highlight the importance of Six Sigma in project management:
Any step that does not add value to a process is considered waste. Organizations can streamline processes by eliminating waste, making them easier to complete and less prone to error. A process map is a tool used for this in Six Sigma. This is a diagram that depicts all of the steps in a process. It assists the team in identifying steps that add unneeded complexity.
Find the Root Cause of a Problem
Six Sigma is an effective problem-solving tool due to root cause analysis(RCA). Once the team has identified the root cause, they can work to permanently eliminate it. The Pareto Chart, 5 Whys, Fishbone Diagram, and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis are all RCA tools used by Six Sigma (FMEA).
Reducing Defects and Variation
A defect is an imperfection, and a variation is a result that the customer did not expect, and both are the result of a process failure. DMAIC is a well-known method for reducing both (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).
DMAIC is a five-phase approach used by the team to solve a problem that is causing defects and variation. DMAIC is a data-driven approach that is heavily influenced by the scientific method. When the phases of the methodology are properly implemented, it has been shown to result in:
- Informed decision-making: This is because the team is guided by insights gained through data analysis. They don’t rely on gut intuition or guesses.
- Better communication and collaboration: All team members are professionals united to solve a problem through a well-defined, data-driven, and structured approach.
- Increased customer satisfaction: Products and services have significantly fewer defects and variations. This translates to a better customer experience, which increases customer satisfaction levels.
- Reduced costs: Processes that are running efficiently use fewer resources. This means that project managers can cut costs and maximize profits.
- Increased productivity: Thanks to RCA, once a problem is fixed, it will never surface again. This means the project team won’t waste time trying to handle the same problems. That way, their sole focus will be on moving the project along.
Six Sigma is primarily used as a project management tool. When overseeing a project, project managers can use it to maximise return on investment. If a company wants to improve its profits, growth, or competitiveness, it should consider adding Six Sigma to its project management arsenal.