It is vitally important for an organization to have the proper projects identified and selected so there is no lack of continuous improvement projects. How does your organization generate doable projects? We’ll hear from three experts on Six Sigma project identification and selection.

First, Paul Allen, Lean Six Sigma consultant of Allen and Partners Limited, discusses three methods for selecting a Six Sigma project for solving a technical problem.

  • Voice of Customer: What do they want from your products and services?
    • Translate into measurable Critical to Quality
      • Is there a short fall? There is a Six Sigma project
  • Value Stream Map – Big Picture
    • Look for points where flow is interrupted – Lean Project
    • Look for points were defects occur – Six Sigma Project
  • Cost of Quality
    • Defects – Six Sigma Project

You can view Paul’s presentation here.

Next, we hear from the Leading Edge Group, an international company that specializes in the areas of change and continuous improvement.

In this presentation, Tony Soumas Lean Blackbelt discusses project identification and selection.  

  • Project Identification Sources
    • Ideas from management and employees
    • Business needs
    • Client complaints
    • Legal requirements
    • Value stream map
    • Industry best practices
  • Four steps in Project Identification and Selection
    • Short list project opportunities
    • Determine selection criteria
    • Prioritize project opportunities
      • Scale of benefit
      • Ease of implementation
      • Other considerations
      • Use a priority matrix
    • Select best project opportunity

Tony goes on to give examples of good projects. 

There are also projects to avoid. Those with

  • Lack of sponsorship
  • Lack of organizational support
  • Lack of strategic alignment
  • Lack of project definition

You can watch the video from the Leading Edge Group here.

Finally, in a white paper on Successful Project Selection Jeff Gotro, President of Innocentrix, discusses the external and internal sources for Six Sigma projects along with guidance on what makes a good project.

External Sources: Focus on Improvement Opportunities

  • Voice of Customer
  • Voice of the Market
  • Voice of the Process

Internal: Focus on Process Efficiency

  • Areas of trouble, frustration, or opportunities to improve
  • Ask Management and Employees
  • Where are defects hurting the business?

Roles and Responsibilities in Project Selection

  • Executive Leadership
  • Champion

Four Elements of a Good Six Sigma Project

  • Gap between current and desired performance
  • Cause of problem is not understood
  • Solution not apparent
  • Process performance can be quantified

Keep an adequate project scope: not too big or small

Focus on one key measure of process performance.

Jeff concludes with examples of good projects along with an analysis of each example followed by a listing of benefits of Six Sigma projects.

You can access Jeff’s paper here.