Determining The Scope of a Lean Six Sigma Project is Important to Its Success

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

The scope of any project is critical to its success.  Scope a project too small and you may miss some opportunity or customer concern, but on the other hand you want to stay away from world hunger projects.
An excellent tool to help you scope a project is a SIPOC (see template below).  It stands for Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer.  Generally you start by mapping a very high level process map starting with the beginning boundary (the large oval at the top, in the middle).  The input boundary is the beginning step in the process you’re trying to fix.  The ending boundary is the last step of the process map.
Next list the outputs of the process.  What are the important outputs or deliverables of the process your customers are concerned with.  These should be measurable.  Next, identify the customers of the process.  Customers can be internal or external.  They can be customers in one step of the process and a supplier at the next step.  Next, what are the customer requirements as they relate to the process output.  After completing this step, I generally conduct a gap analysis to make sure the process is capable of meeting all the customer’s requirements.
Then switch to the left side of the template to identify the inputs to the process, who supplies each input, and what are the requirements of the process inputs.  Inputs can be materials, information, etc.
Developing a SIPOC can help you understand if the process is capable of meeting your customer’s requirements.  It can help you make sure you have all the outputs and inputs identified.  It can help you determine the scope of the project by making sure you have the beginning and ending boundaries correct. It can also help you determine if you have the right team members to make the necessary improvements.

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