13 Six Sigma and the Project Management Office


In the previous chapter, we discussed the importance of the project management office (PMO) for strategic planning and continuous improvements. In some companies, the PMO was established specifically for the supervision and management of Six Sigma projects. Six Sigma teams throughout the organization would gather data and make recommendations to the PMO for Six Sigma projects. The Six Sigma project manager, and possibly the team, would be permanently assigned to the PMO.

Unfortunately, not all companies have the luxury of maintaining a large PMO where the Six Sigma teams and other supporting personnel are permanently assigned to it. It is the author’s belief that the majority of PMOs have no more than four or five people permanently assigned. Six Sigma teams, including the project manager, may end up reporting “dotted” to the PMO and administratively “solid” elsewhere in the organization. The PMO’s responsibility within these organizations is primarily for the evaluation, acceptance, and prioritization of projects. The PMO may also be empowered to reject recommended solutions to Six Sigma projects.

For the remainder of this chapter, we focus on organizations that maintain small PMO staffs. The people assigned to the PMO may possess a reasonable knowledge concerning Six Sigma but may be neither Green nor Black Belts in Six Sigma. These PMOs can and do still manage selected Six Sigma projects but perhaps not the ...

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