Projects For Each Process

I recently finished a book about Six Sigma. One of the good ideas that I will adopt from this book is the idea of mapping out which part of your overall process each project is connected with. 

You should start with your biggest picture process. In our example, we’ll use a donut shop in a mall as our hypothetical business. Since the shop operates out of the mall, there are four steps in our highest level business process:

  1. Customer walks by
  2. Customer smells the donuts and is drawn in
  3. The customer makes a purchase and eats the donut
  4. The customer tells others about the good experience

Once we know the highest level process steps, we can define which projects are contributing benefits to each process step. 

Diagram is based on a diagram found in What is Six Sigma Process Management? by Rowland Hayler and Michael Nichols. (Figure 4-2 Pg 87)

The benefit of listing the projects for each process are: 

  1. You can see if you are focusing your projects on the processes that you think are most important. For example: if you feel that the ‘Customer Tells Others’ process is the most important, but you are not spending project resources to improve this capability, you shouldn’t expect to have much improvement in the person-to-person promotion.
  2. You can make sure that your projects are connected to a process. Sometimes you might be working on a project that doesn’t support any of those processes. In those cases (for example, if you have to implement a new accounting system), you must decide whether it supports some, all, or none of your processes. If it supports none of your processes, it shouldn’t be done. 
  3. You can see how different projects might be interconnected. Does the ‘Love’s the Smell’ project connect to the ‘Tells Others’ project? If so, you can make sure that these projects are supporting each other, not working at cross purposes. 

Mapping out your highest level processes and showing the projects attached to each process can be helpful in planning, and ensuring that you are putting your resources into the right place.