Six Sigma Project Birthdays
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Six Sigma Project Birthdays

If you have to throw a birthday party for your improvement project because it isn’t complete, you’re not alone, but you’ve lost sight of the outcome.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“At the Lean Six Sigma World Conference I heard another phrase that I had never heard before: “Project Birthdays.” What? A project that has lasted so long, a year later it’s having a birthday and it’s still not done yet. In one of the studies the Green Belt teams had as long as 16 months to complete a project.

“Now, I hate to tell you this but if you have something that looks like it might have a project birthday, somehow you didn’t laser focus your improvement and get it improved, because with the right kind of data, the right kind of focus, you can do that in a day or sometimes a week. It doesn’t take a month, a year, a century to get these things done. If you’re an Agile Lean Six Sigma improver you do some data analysis, you figure out what needs to be fixed, you get a team together, you solve that problem, you implement the solution. Very often the solution is manual; it is not “Oh, gosh, we need to buy new equipment” or “we need a new computer system” or whatever it is. Does this make sense?

“So what we want to do is accelerate results, and that way Six Sigma won’t go in the trash bin as it does in many companies, right? So you’re going to have to focus: get that improvement, implement the solution and do it in less than a month or two or twelve or sixteen!

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Don’t let project birthdays show up on your calendar. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”