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Project needed but not allowed


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Q 62. Innovation Question - It is found that many trained Lean Six Sigma professionals find it hard to get a project inside their company. Provide an innovative answer to this situation by providing just one suggestion to the following question - 

 

How can a Green Belt/ Black Belt Trained professional gain validated project experience when his full-time job does not provide him an opportunity? Assume that the company has a policy of not allowing such projects to be documented or taken up formally. 

 

Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

 

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Within the organisation, It is imminent that the professional markets six sigma/Lean/Business excellence implementation as a profitable business venture. 

 

There is a three step approach that needs to be taken... 

1) Evaluate the key panel members who will be easier to approach and convince. Ideally the best person to 'target' is the CFO. 

 

2) Prepare a plan or presentation with time tested concepts which emphasises on communicating an idea in terms of it's monetary benefits.. Like better Throughput, ROI, Cash flow, positive P&l. This should help as the even the most conservative leader/manager will think twice before rejecting any idea that has even the faintest potential to reap in Monies. They will offer some time for the presentation

 

3) During the discussion, the Professional should market it as a low risk proposition and limit risk related conversations. CHOOSE the lowest hanging fruit.. Or a project that will be easy to complete and will have decent results... Needs to be an efficient project. This pilot project should have limited risks.... It should be communicated that a full fledged lean/six sigma implementation will start ONLY if the pilot project proves successful. 

 

Most top management members will be fine to this and give the go ahead. 

In case this approach fails, then the other back up options are :

 

1) Conduct a Workshop on the fundamentals of Lean and six sigma in your organization... Actually this can be the first step to approach our own organisation also... It completely depends on our presentation skills..... We may opt to invite an external expert also, to conduct the workshop for the core management team. This will ignite the spark for kaizen and other methodology. We may want to invite our own VK from Benchmark to conduct the workshop (No brownie point expected for this :) ). 

 

2) contact your friends, colleagues who may know of small businesses like a retail shop or a manufacturing unit and offer your expertise and take the 3 step method mentioned above. 

 

Other options could be to advertise your services online.... 

The objective should be to start with the one successful project that will pave the path for many more. 

 

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Given that these projects cannot be documented, would suggest the following execution strategy -

 

1)    Pitch this as a Process Optimization project and not necessarily a Lean Six Sigma intervention

2)    The Big Y should be linked to one of the published Function Level or Organizational Level focus areas.

3)    The output from the individual tools used for this project like Fishbones / Mindmap / FMEA etc should be circulated to the larger group as reusable collateral for future engagements – this will create positive recall.

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A trained GB/BB individual keep looking for improvement opportunities, documentbthen along with the vision. Create a business case using From, To, How, Benefits and Control. The business case for change puts a good amount of weight to gain approvals for implemnting improvement projects.

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Companies restrict project presentations due to confidentiality requirements. By discussing with the institute and company assuring that certain guidelines will be followed to prevent revealing sensitive information, the candidate is likely to obtain permission in most situations.

Despite these efforts, if it is not possible, then the candidate may seek opportunities outside his company. One suggestion is, in case the person happens to reside in a residential complex, could work with concerned association to resolve issue(s) within that community. Could be resolution of a chronic issue, cost saving or improved service to residents, by way of a project using DMAIC.

 

 

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Green belts / Black belts should have their authority in their respective processes and can get the work done effectively. If the organisation has no policy to take up the project formally, still they can improve the process by following ways.

1. PDCA Cycle - As per the PDCA cycle, the pain areas can be identified, planned accordingly, implement the actionable, Check frequently and act accordingly.

2. Simple Kaizens - without naming the activity as Kaizen, the team can create small " quality Circles" and identify the pain areas and improve the process with recommendations.

3. Process Mapping  - Create a process flow, identify wastes, and apply SCAR(simplify, Combine, Automate or Remove) technique to improve the process.

4. Create the checklist for process adherence in order to improve the process or run the process efficiently.

 

Outside of the organisation -  A lot of data dummy samples are available in the minitab or in the internet for all to undergo a practice and get the complete project experience, even if the organisation does not allow any type of improvements. 

 

thanks

Kavitha.S

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Organizations with a full-fledged LSS program can budget part of its projects to be executed jointly by both its own staff and freelancers who may not have such opportunities within their own organization. Their roles will be restricted to Data Analysis and relatively off-line work as the Information Security of these organizations will need to be respected.

 

Another option would be to use a tool to simulate a project and solve it in the tool itself.

 

Another possibility could be solving small issues outside work E.g. reaching the place of work on time every day without arriving too early.

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In case of a company not allowing such projects, the person can simulate the scenario for a few weeks/months to show savings to his company. At this point if the company allows to do a project but doesn't allow to document the activities, sample data can be used to show an improvement with a proof from the company stating the savings

 

In any case if the company doesn't allow to do the project even after simulating the result it would be better to take up a freelancing consulting project on a voluntary basis with any other company

 

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In this case, a LEAN Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt trained professional can think about finding a LEAN Six Sigma consulting and/or coaching organization; which offers authentic process improvement projects to Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt trained associates. The LSSGB or LSSBB certification will also be provided by such organizations. These trained professionals will have to complete their projects at the client site.

 

Such consulting & coaching firms also offer the full-fledged access to in-house project management tools for project completion.

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The only way that a trained Six Sigma Green Belt/ Black Belt can take a formal project , is by taking small steps. He could divide the Project activities into phases and execute a phase, demonstrating benefit and quickwins. This will instill faith , credibility in the minds of management, to allow on a formal project to be taken up. 

 

Incremental benefits, quick wins, kaizen events all start with a small improvement idea. The idea once gaining prominence can be converted to a project.

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