Starting a new project can intimidate the most experienced team leaders. New tasks come with many questions. Where is the best place for your team to begin? How can everyone on your team stay on track? How can you convey your project to an audience in a way that is understood by everyone? In the business field, the most efficient way to start a project, keep on everyone on task, and picture the desired result is to create a Six Sigma project charter.
What is Six Sigma you may ask?
Six Sigma is a methodology that focuses on streamlining business processes and producing a desired outcome.
Every field can use a project charter to accomplish a goal. Whether the desired outcome is weight loss, manufacturing processes, loss prevention, or sales goals. A project charter is a visible overview of a group project. The process aligns with the Six Sigma method, which this tutorial will explain. The charter will help communicate information in an organized way, easy to understand by a whole team.
Assembling the Troops
Much like a sports team, your Six Sigma team should know their roles within the project. A diverse group brings in new ideas, but can cause confusion or conflict between team members. Establish a team leader to assign tasks and create a team list that breaks down who works on what task. Assigning tasks helps keep the ball rolling and holds each member of the team accountable for their individual roles.
What is the reason of the selected project and why should everyone be on board with it? The first step of a charter project is to propose a business case. This section of the charter explains the purpose of the project and who can benefit from it. The business case creates a mission statement for your team and gains support from your business or organization. Once everyone involved is on the same page, it is time to tackle the big question.
What’s the Problem?
The problem statement points out the issue that your team intends to fix. The problem in question can be any aspect of a business and can affect internal or external customers. Examples of a problem could be unnecessary costs in inventory, fitness goals, or safety issues, among others that have some negative effects on the organization or an individual. Big problems can overwhelm, so specifying the problem and breaking it down into smaller tasks makes the project manageable.
Eye on the Prize
You’ve figured out the problem and everyone has your back, but what is the endgame? The goal statement puts a goal in place that is attainable, equal to the problem at hand, and is achievable within a reasonable amount of time. If the problem is low weekday sales of trucks at a dealership, the goal shouldn’t be to sell every car on the lot within a weekend. Setting a goal with distinct outcome keeps your team from losing focus.
Stretching your idea as far as it can may sound like a good idea, but having well defined boundaries keeps your project from getting out of hand. Including too many people, variables, or demographics can muddle your project. Your scope statement should give clear limits specific to your problem. Focusing on a smaller scope allows the opportunity to accomplish and then incorporate your solution to similar departments, individuals, or processes.
No one wants to go into a project blind. Having a well-placed strategy maps out the process of completed tasks and what still needs to be done to stay on track. This is where the DMAIC method comes in.
Six Sigma uses the DMAIC method to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control project.
Define the problem in detail, then pick a problem with a viable solution. Measure the current process and decide whether the process is streamlined or not. Are there any outliers, and can we contain them? Analyze every aspect involved and set parameters. Hypothesize and decide how to improve the process; this is the trial and error phase and will change on the charter. Write each task out on the plan list. Each task should be to the point, with a team member or members assigned to the task, as well as a time frame attached to it. Once the new process is in place, record the controls starting from the initial record to the most recent.
Now that you have your project charter created and laid out, your sequential steps are to maintain and update as often as needed. Think of this report as a living body of work; not just changing, but evolving as your team delves further into your project. Keep an updated copy of the report in a central location that is accessible by any team member at any time. This is an efficient way to keep everyone on track and simplify the organization of data coming in. Don’t fret if your project charter looks different from the charters of other fields. Charters require varying amounts of information depending on a need. Some have a more strict DMAIC requirement, and every charter meets the desired criteria of the project created by the group or organization.
Clay, K. How to Complete a Lean Six Sigma Project Charter. Retrieved on May 22nd, 2019. https://sixsigmadsi.com/how-to-complete-a-six-sigma-project-charter/ Sigma Project Charter.
Scheid, J. (November 18th, 2018). Example of a Six Sigma Project Charter. Retrieved May 22nd, 2019, from https://www.brighthubpm.com/six-sigma/75511-six-sigma-project-charter-example/
What is a Project Charter. (December 10th, 2017). Retrieved June 5th, 2019, from https://youtu.be/yJQ8tFVbx3g