Lean Six Sigma: The Project Charter or Contract

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

The project charter is an indispensible tool in your Lean Six Sigma or kaizen project.  Teams should review it frequently in order to determine if they are on track and to make sure it remains accurate.
There are four main parts to a charter, the business case, problem and goal statements, project scope, and milestone dates.
The business case is an explanation of why we’re working on this project.  What benefit is the organization going to get by completing this project?  Is the project going to reduce costs, increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, improve efficiency, etc.?
The problem statement is a description of the current situation and should describe what is wrong.  A problem statement should have the following key elements:
  • Where is the problem occurring?
  • How often does it occur?
  • How significant is the problem?
  • What is the impact on the customer?

The goal statement then defines the team’s improvement objective.  The goal should be clear, concise, and measurable.  Together with the problem statement, the goal statement provides focus and purpose for the team.
The project scope states what process is to be improved and limits the boundaries of the project, i.e., what are the start and ending points?  The scope many also include:
  • What resources are available to the team?
  • What constraints must the team work under?
  • What if anything is out of bounds for the team?
  • What is the time commitment expected from team members?

The milestones are a high-level project plan tied to the DMAIC framework.  They give an expected timeframe for completing each phase and the overall project.  The milestone dates make the team accountable to management for the expected project completion.
The charter is a fluid document especially in the early stages of a project.  As you go through Define, Measure and Analyze, you may update the contract to reflect what you learn.  I also use it at the end to make sure I’ve met the project goals and objectives.

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