We started with a rapid assessment of where they were and where they wanted to go. We then had a discussion of how they could move forward on the journey. One issue shared by many was the challenges the organization had around following through on ideas and executing changes. While the group liked the insights and the possibilities, there was concern about overreaching and this becoming the latest “flavor of the month.” Understandably, they wanted to be careful and conservative in their launch of the effort.
With financial and technological limitations as a backdrop, the organization wanted to test the waters with Lean Six Sigma. No large projects up front and no projects that might have an IT impact. They also wanted projects to minimize additional work on an already stretched workforce. They were determined that the work had to at least pay for itself for it to be considered a success.
The organization targeted several projects for the initial launch, covering many of the key areas in the business. Here are just a few of the results from initial project teams that were shared with leadership:
One project came into the initial sessions with an answer already formed, but was willing to go through the process so that they could be certified in the methodology. A funny thing happened as they moved from their initial problem idea in Define through the Measure and Analyze phases of the project. The team found and then implemented an opportunity to deliver roughly 30 times the benefit their change would have captured.
Another project called me frantically one evening because they found that by communicating about the Voice of the Customer and the requirements of the process with internal people in the process, the process had already improved more than their initial goal. They had not been able to make any actual changes to the process yet. They were concerned that this would be a problem.