Team Logistics for Lean Six Sigma Projects

Posted by on Apr 16, 2012 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Starting a new Lean Six Sigma project can be fun and exciting.  It’s an opportunity to fix or improve something that is not working well in the organization.  In order to make sure your Lean Six Sigma project runs as smooth as possible, there are some basic logistic questions you need to address.

  • Frequency of meetings?  In order to get momentum, I’d suggest the first three or four meetings be at least every week.  There’s a lot to do in the early meetings.  Later, meetings can be spaced out to every two weeks, especially when data is being collected or your waiting to implement your solution or determining it’s impact.
  • Meeting length?  You don’t want to cut yourself short, so most meetings should last at least two hours.  If the team is working on a particular phase deliverable (contract, process map, MSA, FMEA, etc.) the time could be longer.  A good strategy is to initially work through a deliverable, then give the team a few days to digest their work before getting back together to review and put together the final version.
  • Meeting attendance?  Meeting days and times should be scheduled so everyone is available to attend the meeting.  There will be days when someone is absent, but you should meet anyway.  Don’t lose momentum.  If possible, get the absent person to communicate their ideas to another team member who can then communicate them to the rest of the team.  If a person says their too busy, the team leader should try to work it out with the person, or possibly get the project sponsor or champion involved.
  • Meeting in person?  Sometimes it is difficult for everyone to meet in person and this is a common challenge you have to work around.  Teleconferences and the use of email are a good substitute.  I have participate on many projects using teleconferences and emails with great success.
  • Team members?  Make sure you get the right people involved in the project, people who know the process being studied very well, and who might inherit the solution the team produces.  Try to get people that are vocal about the process and that aren’t afraid to express their views.  Process experts may be called in to share special knowledge as required.  Sometimes you may run into a situation where a person’s boss may say someone is too busy to be on the team.  In that case the team leader will want to get the project sponsor or champion involved.
  • Communication?  Meeting minutes should be distributed to team members after every meeting, detailing actions taken, results, and assignments.  The team leader should make it a point to keep the project champion and sponsor in the loop and keep them aware of the team’s progress.

Taking some time to think about these issues before your project begins can help you set some ground rules and get your project off to a good start.

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