Use A Charter To Define Your Project

Posted by on Jan 9, 2022 in Kaizen, Lean Six Sigma, Project Charter, Project Scoping | 0 comments

The charter is one of the most critical documents in conducting a lean six sigma project or kaizen event. It serves as a blueprint and forces you to think about what you want and how you want to do it. A clear and concise charter increases the likelihood of reaching the goals and ensures that the team knows what to do. It will also allow you and the team to determine whether the plan has been achieved.

The charter should include the following key elements:

  1. What is the purpose of the project or event? (subject)
  2. What are the factors that impact the project? (background)
  3. What specific improvements do you want to achieve? (targets)
  4. What are the particular limits of the project or event? (boundaries)
  5. What are the start and end dates for each of the phases of the project or event? (timeline)
  6. How big and complex is the process within the boundaries, and how much work will it take to achieve the targets? (scope)

Another benefit of the charter is that it serves as a contract between the team and sponsor or problem owner. You and the group agree to work on the project or event, and the sponsor/owner agrees to provide the necessary resources.

A project charter is an indispensable 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 may also include:
  • What resources are available to the team?
  • What constraints must the team deal with?
  • 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 charter 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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