Managing Process Improvement Projects



In the last two chapters, we discussed improving our process to make it more competitive through tools like lean management to reduce waste and Six Sigma to reduce process variability. Such efforts are typically done through projects, either small, short-term, focused projects or, sometimes, major long-term projects for making changes in the organization's systems and procedures. In this chapter, we address the management of these projects. We use a process improvement project as an example, but projects are used in all kinds of organizations for every conceivable purpose. They range from simple combinations of tactical tasks to strategic organizational change, and from setting up a party to putting a person on the moon.

The chapter begins with a discussion of the crucial topics of project selection, project planning, and organizing the project team. We then move on to an explanation of some project-scheduling techniques, showing some typical project management software printouts that are available to project managers. The chapter continues with a discussion of controlling project cost and performance, primarily through the use of “earned value,” and then concludes with a brief description of Goldratt's “critical ...

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