There is absolutely no doubt that Lean and Six Sigma as process improvement methodologies deliver results, as proven consistently countless times over literally thousands of projects across hundreds of businesses. What is inconsistent, however, is the efficiency by which the Project Leaders (Belts) and Teams reach the delivered solution and sometimes the effectiveness of the solution itself. Typically, this is considered to be the territory of the Consultant or Master Black Belt (MBB), whose role it is to guide the steps of the Black Belt or Green Belt through the available tools depending on the problem.
Therefore, the best guide requires:
• A deep enough experience of how to tackle a specific problem to conclusion with an efficient approach (as a Belt, I want to know exactly what path to follow in my project).
• A broad enough experience to do this across multiple different types of problems that might be addressed in a business (as a Program Leader I need my MBB to know what path to follow for all projects and guide my Belts accordingly).
• Technical skills to be able to guide the Belts in specific tool use (as a Belt, I want to know the practical steps involved in applying each tool).
Interestingly, this expands the common perception of the role of a Master Black Belt as a technical resource and measures that individual in addition by the efficiency and effec-tiveness of projects that they oversee (i.e., the rate of generation of business value from those projects).
Surprisingly (and fortunately) when asked the route to solution for a particular type of problem, the experienced guides are remarkably consistent in answer — it seems that if you have a specific problem type, then you should follow a specific route to solution. The intent of this book, therefore, is to capture those experiences and for multiple given project types lay down the appropriate routes to solution.
Audiences that find this book valuable are:
• Process Improvement Project Leaders (Green Belts and Black Belts), across all industries—
Leading projects to improve processes using tools and methodologies that come under the Lean or Six Sigma banners.
• Project Champions or Sponsors—Wondering what questions to ask of their Project
Leaders and what they should see in terms of activity, as well as seeking to improve their project selection and scoping skills.
• Technical Mentors (Master Black Belts) — Looking to improve their project and tools mentoring skills and to better select and scope projects.
A Practitioner's Guide
• Deployment Leaders—Seeking to better select and scope projects to improve the Return on Investment of the Program.
• Consultants — Brushing up on skills as both a Technical Mentor and Deployment Lead.
The book is a little unusual in that it is designed to be a practical tool, used day-to-day
by the readers to guide them through how to solve as many different types of business problems as possible using the Lean Sigma methodologies and tools. It is not meant to be a technical reference to take the place of the statistical tomes that are readily available.
By analogy, this is how to drive the car, not how the car works.
The book is also unusual in that it is not designed to be read linearly from cover to cover, mainly due to a few simple issues:
• There are a multitude of different problem types
• Each problem type has a different route to solution
• The same tools are used in the solution of multiple problem types
• The application of each tool can vary subtly depending on the problem
The structure is in a form that best helps the reader start with their problem in hand and quickly progress to the solution.
- Management Systems
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