I was recently reviewing a list of potential projects with a team of corporate continuous improvement professionals. I quickly identified a few projects as having a low probability of success. My skepticism was soon met with criticism from the team, “How can you make that assessment with so little information?” I quickly pointed to my lack of hair and the flat spot on my forehead I received from my learning experiences leading continuous improvement efforts in corporate America. No matter whether you call it a Six Sigma project, rapid process improvement, a kaizen event, or whatever language your organization uses, there are some key factors which strongly influence your probability of success; I’ll give you my top 3: [Read more…]
The simplest response to the question is, “Lean is how you run your business, Six Sigma is how you solve problems, and PMP helps ensure that all continuous improvement efforts are completed on time and on budget.” To better understand this answer, we must first look at the differences between the three methodologies.
Lean – The common misconception about Lean is that it is a “tool kit”. Lean is not a tool kit. Toyota did not achieve what it did by using tools. Lean is a system that ties the entire organization together. Tools and management philosophies typically focus on just one area or aspect of a business. In Lean speak, we would call this sub optimizing the value steam. Lean starts with the Leadership team understanding how a Lean organization thinks and behaves. It focuses on long-term value for the three customers: shareholders, employees, and external customers.
Six Sigma – A process for solving problem using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) data based decision making process. While the methodology is great for solving complicated problems, my experience has been that most business problems are not complicated, and poor performance is usually a lack of basic standards or the discipline to follow those standards. I often ask people, “If you throw Lean Six Sigma tools at a bad strategy, what do you get?” The answer – bad results faster. I have never seen a Six Sigma book discuss business strategy or human resources strategies. Both need to be in place before an effective Six Sigma program can be achieved.
PMP (Project Management Professional) – Practitioners are taught how to properly plan and execute projects. Concepts like critical path, communication, and budgeting are used. The PMP institute certifies people as a PMP.
Northeast Wisconsin’s local businesses, especially manufacturing, recognize they need to continuously improve their value proposition to both customers and shareholders to remain globally competitive. In order to add additional value to the local businesses, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is expanding the current Continuous Improvement offerings by adding Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt training and certification. Six Sigma, a systematic, data-driven approach used to solve process-related problems, has been adopted by many businesses, such as General Electric and Motorola. Holly Valentine, NWTC’s, Corporate Training and Economic Development Seminar and Training Coordinator indicates, “We have chosen Adaptive Business Solutions as our strategic partner to design and deliver Six Sigma training and certification. They come highly recommended and have the real-world experiences necessary to relate to our local businesses. We’re excited to be working with them in order to deliver real value to the surrounding business community.”
NWTC is offering the Six Sigma Green Belt November 14-18, 2011 and March 5-9, 2012. The Six Sigma Black Belt will run April 9-13, 2012. Contact Holly Valentine, 920-498-6971 to enroll now.
April 2011 – Chicago: Adaptive Business Solutions is scheduled to provide an Introduction to Lean Thinking and Six Sigma problem solving methodology, and its application to the IT industry, at the upcoming Technology Leaders Association (TLA), being held at the College of Dupage. Glen Ellyn, IL on May 12, 2011. Networking events begin at 7:00pm. For further information about the upcoming event, visit: http://techleaders.net/node/8310.
April 2011 – Chicago: Adaptive Business Solutions is scheduled to facilitate an upcoming session of Chicagoland’s Project Management Institute (PMI) monthly knowledge sharing session, on June 23, 2011 at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, located at 131 S. Dearborn, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL. Topics will include an introduction to Lean thinking, Six Sigma, and their integration with Project Management methodology. Contact the Adaptive team for more information.
February 2011 – Chicago: Adaptive Business Solutions is scheduled to facilitate an upcoming session of Chicagoland’s Project Management Institute (PMI) monthly knowledge sharing session, on March 29, 2011 at the Schaumburg Public Library; networking begins at 6:00pm. Topics will include an introduction to Lean thinking, Six Sigma, and their integration with Project Management methodology. Contact the Adaptive team for more information.