The Rise and Slide of Six Sigma

Improvement Insights Blog

The Rise and Slide of Six Sigma

When companies start up Six Sigma programs, they are often gung ho and over commit. Here’s how to start and sustain Lean Six Sigma without as much effort and expense.

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

“You know, I’ve been around Quality Improvement now for over 30 years. Because of the QI Macros, I see a pattern occur in a lot of companies: They get really excited, they’re going after Six Sigma and they buy a bunch of licenses. Then a few years later, they only upgrade about half of them. Then a few years later they upgrade maybe two thirds of those, and that’s kind of where they stay.

“I think that sometimes people get overly excited about Lean and Six Sigma and overcommit and overtrain. It takes them a while to learn what they’re doing.

“One of the things that I have found is that these long training programs… really are not useful because you get people who take the training, they do one project (maybe) and then they’re done. That’s it. Their resume looks just fine now.

“Guess what? I came up with a method to do Lean Six Sigma training and get results in about a day. You’re not going to learn everything. I’ve noticed over the last few years there’s a number of companies who are doing presentations at quality conferences about how they’ve narrowed their training days down to a couple of days and get results.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Let’s do things a little bit faster, better and cheaper; use some Agile Process Innovation.

“Let’s go out and improve something this week.”