Spotlight #3: Design a Successful Lean Six Sigma Project or Pilot

With Darrel Whiteley, Danny Glidden, Chris Kennedy, and Shane White

Which Methodology Is Right for Your Project?

Lean Six Sigma is a powerful problem-solving methodology, but it is not suitable for all types of problems in all situations. In general, Lean Six Sigma methods and tools are not designed to help you answer strategic questions such as whether you're in the right markets or offering the right products, or whether you should consider shutting down a factory or combine two offices.

If, however, you are faced with the need to cut costs by improving the effectiveness or efficiency of your operations, then Lean Six Sigma should be able to help. Just which aspect of the broad toolset is most appropriate will take some careful assessment. Figure SP3.1 shows that, in general, the decision about which approach to use is based on how much you know about likely causes and solutions ahead of time.

When to Use Lean Six Sigma

  • You have a challenging goal to reach or issue to solve.

  • The goal/issue is linked to your business unit strategy/priorities.

  • The issues are valuable for the business unit to resolve—that is, people will notice that the problem has been solved.

    Problem-solving approaches.

    Figure SP3.1. Problem-solving approaches.

  • The problem is thorny and the solution is not clear.

  • The problem has "stood the test of time" (in other words, has resisted previous ...

Get The Lean Six Sigma Guide to Doing More With Less: Cut Costs, Reduce Waste, and Lower Your Overhead now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.