Six Sigma Project Management


Six Sigma methodology is used to improve product or process by identifying the problem areas and addressing them using various statistical and empirical tools. The primary goal of Six Sigma is to reduce the number of defects to less than 3.4 per 1 million units. Originally introduced by Bill Smith in 1986 (Motorola), it is now one of the major quality improvement methodologies in various organizations over the decades.

Six Sigma may be considered as a subset of quality management. However, it has more aspects to it, including a data-driven project management methodology. A project manager might think that Six Sigma methodology is not suitable to achieve the desired results. But, in reality, a data-driven approach would certainly help to fix the problem areas effectively.

Professionals skilled in Six Sigma have become valuable assets to companies today. If you are seeking a career in quality management, better seek a Six Sigma certification in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, or any other city.

Benefits of Using Six Sigma in Project Management

Discussed below are some of the advantages that organizations get by incorporation Six Sigma in project management.

  • Decision Making: As we know, Six Sigma is a statistical and empirical methodology. All decisions are taken based on the collected data, and it would certainly be more effective compared to any presumptions made based on any individual judgments. It is more likely that decisions taken with data reduce the chances of failure at a later stage of the project.
  • Direct Time saving: During the initiation of the project, expert advice is sought in the review. This helps in defining the scope and deliverables clearly along with the effective utilization of resources. In addition, a structured way of working throughout the project and regular review with experts provide quick solutions and saves a lot of time and effort.
  • Cost Savings: The prime focus of six sigma is always to reduce waste and repeated work at each stage of the project. This would result in a significant cost saving at the end of the project.
  • Indirect Time saving and Productivity: Project would not only require effort from core team members but also from support team members i.e. logistics, finance, and facility teams in any organization. All these teams follow processes to support you and if those processes are not very effective, it will certainly delay your project and reduce the overall productivity. Therefore an organization that follows six-sigma would certainly help project managers and improve the overall productivity of each project team and also delivers projects very quickly.

Apart from all this, you would get better quality at the end of the project as it would be running with a prime focus on quality improvement.

Types of Six Sigma

Some of the processes and strategies are integral to Six Sigma, like

  • DMAIC: Acronym for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control. These are simply the phases in project execution and primarily used for improving existing processes. Any process in the organization is reviewed and areas creating delays, bottlenecks are identified and eliminated.
  • DFSS: Design for Six Sigma Methodology is primarily used for new product or tool development. It is a very good methodology to design or develop products meeting excellent quality standards set by the organization for overall customer satisfaction.
  • Lean Six Sigma: It merges lean and six sigma approaches to achieve improvements in areas that include inventory management, delays in processes, defects in products, over/under production, movements/transportation of goods, etc. While six sigma helps in eliminating reduce/waste in these areas, lean describes the problem area.

Six Sigma Certification and Roles

There can be various project types and each requires different sets of six sigma tools and quality improvement areas. Some of the examples include new product development or modification in existing products, process creation or improvements, tool design, or changes. 

It helps the organization in the continuous improvement of products and processes. Some organizations have dedicated staff for driving six sigma methodology. Staff may involve the following positions.

  • Champion: Someone who has an exceptional understanding of six sigma methodology and helps the organization to devise and drive strategy for utilizing the methodology to achieve quality goals.
  • Master Black Belt: With a thorough understanding of all tools used in six sigma methodologies, such professionals support champions on executing the strategy and also deliver six sigma training.
  • BlackBelt: Execute critical projects and help green belts with their projects.
  • Green belt: Regular employees in an organization trained in six sigma methodologies and work on small projects.

Initially, it seems that with dedicated staff and training to each individual employee, organizations spend a lot of money. But in reality, all these spendings actually helps the organization to design better products and processes, saving a lot of time, effort, and cost associated with development in the long run.

For the designations mentioned, there are many certifications available in the market. Two of the renowned accreditation bodies that offer Six Sigma certifications are the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC). You can visit their official websites to browse different certifications and make a choice accordingly.

Six Sigma Tools

  • Six Sigma methodology can be implemented using various tools, namely:
  • Project Charter
  • VOC: Voice of Customer
  • KJ- Technique
  • RACI: Responsibility, Accountability, Consultant, and Inform
  • Control Chart
  • QFD: Quality Function Deployment
  • FMEA: Failure Mode and Effect Analysis
  • DOE: Design of Experiment
  • Gantt Chart
  • Histogram
  • Scatter Plot
  • Box and Whisker Plot

Bottom Line

If your career interests lie in quality management, then getting a Six Sigma certification is the way to go. Reliable training providers are always there to help you get certified, whether you want to become a Green Belt, Black Belt, or Master Black Belt. Though taking up Six Sigma training isn’t compulsory, yet it is observed that professionals who enroll in a training program have a firm grasp of the methodology. So, make use of this opportunity and start a career in quality management soon.