Lean and Six Sigma methodologies

Previously, you learned about Agile and Waterfall project management approaches. Now, we will define key concepts from Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. We will discuss how these methodologies can be used to organize and manage your projects and determine which is most effective for different kinds of projects.

Lean Methodology:

  • Principle: Removal of waste within an operation.
  • Types of Waste: Defects, excess processing, overproduction, waiting, inventory, transportation, motion, and non-utilized talent.
  • Issues Causing Waste: Lack of documentation, process standards, customer understanding, effective communication, process control, inefficient design, and management failures.
  • 5S Method:
    • Sort: Remove all items not needed for current production operations and leave only the bare essentials.
    • Set in Order: Arrange needed items so that they are easy to use. Label items so that anyone can find them or put them away.
    • Shine: Keep everything in the correct place. Clean your workspace every day.
    • Standardize: Perform the process in the same way every time.
    • Sustain: Make a habit of maintaining correct procedures and instill this discipline in your team.
  • Kanban Board: A visualization tool to manage and optimize the flow of work.

Six Sigma Methodology:

  • Purpose: Reduce variations by ensuring quality processes are followed every time, aiming for 99.9996% quality.
  • Seven Key Principles:
    • Always focus on the customer.
    • Identify and understand how the work gets done. Understand how work really happens.
    • Make your processes flow smoothly.
    • Reduce waste and concentrate on value.
    • Stop defects by removing variation.
    • Involve and collaborate with your team.
    • Approach improvement activity in a systematic way.
  • Method: Inspect measurable aspects like time, cost, and quantity to meet quality standards and improve processes.

Lean Six Sigma:

  • Combination of Lean and Six Sigma: Uses Lean tools (like Kanban and 5S) to build quality from the beginning, and Six Sigma standards to test and reject non-compliant products.
  • Difference: Lean streamlines processes; Six Sigma reduces variation and ensures quality.
  • Usage: Together, they can improve the efficiency of projects.