The one question I have heard a lot during my practice as Lean Six Sigma Consultant is “If I save X FTEs, will this project classify as Six Sigma.” And my answer is always, ‘No…it will not.’ The ideal Six Sigma project is when the problem is complex, and the solution is unknown. The methodology used to solve the problem defines the project type. There are scenarios when Kaizen has given better financial benefit than the Six Sigma project. So economic interest can be used as criteria to define Best Six Sigma Project? I don’t think so.
For me, Best Six Sigma Project depends on how effectively people are utilizing Six Sigma Methodology to solve the problem. Out of all five stages of a six sigma project, people spend more than 70% of the time on Analyze and Improve phase. I agree with Amit, Control phase is underrated but so as Define and Measure.
Recently, I came across one brilliant (in a sarcastic way) project, where process owner refused to define the target for the project. They were like ‘Let’s start with the project and then depending on how much improvement we achieve, we will update target,‘ because they wanted to get a sign-off. It shocked me to death. Thankfully, we have strict governance mechanism to avoid such situations.
If someone wants to work on ‘Best Six Sigma’ project, first ensure Six Sigma is the right methodology for the project. Knowing solution in advance is not a bad thing, just go ahead and implement, don’t try to fit in Six Sigma methodology unnecessarily. And then follow through the each phase effectively. Define what problem needs fixing, Measure how we are performing as of now, Analyze the cause of the Problem, Improve to resolve the Problem and Control to sustain the newly achieved results.