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Evaluating your results: Featured Article

After investing all of the time and effort into implementing a six sigma process or methodology, you will surely want to know how to effectively evaluate your results and use the most of the information that you have acquired.It is only worth the trouble if it yielded results that are encouraging and lead to profits now and in the future through improved quality and customer satisfaction.

An old saying says that the job isn't done until the paperwork is complete and filed with the right people.This is also true of Six Sigma.You are not finished with your implementation until you have evaluated the results of the process and determined what worked best and what could have been done differently or what needs to be done differently from that point forward.After the DMAIC process has been completed and the required change has been decided upon and understood, that doesn't mean that it can or even should be implemented.Making the actual changes is another process that must be undertaken and scrutinized from all angels too.Process control is one of the most important parts of Six Sigma and should be done consistently throughout the whole process whenever possible so that the end result will be as close to the desired outcome as possible.Although there are probably many more, here are 10 criteria for evaluating the success of Six Sigma projects.

Projects are the core of Six Sigma and almost all business practices and are therefore very important.Undertaking the right projects and having the right people working on them is a very important aspect of success.These simple 10 evaluation criteria can be used at important milestones of the process and at other times as well.

1. Link to Strategic Imperatives

Although it is not crucial to the success of a project, it is a good idea for each of them to have a strategic dimension and the more projects that have this element the more successful Six Sigma will be.A reason this is important is because many different projects are interrelated and will have an effect on other projects that are currently underway or will be undertaken later.The projects need to be in sync with the overall company objectives and contribute to the big picture, as many people call it.Each project may not have a dramatic impact individually, but when taken together should result in a very visible difference.Each project can have low, medium or high impact on the overall business.

Helpful Resources:
1. Effective Evaluation
After investing all of the time and effort into implementing a six sigma process or methodology, you will surely want to know how to effectively evaluate your results and use the most of the information that you have acquired.

2. 10 Criteria to Use for Evaluating Six Sigma Projects
This link leads to an article titled, "10 Criteria to Use for Evaluating Six Sigma Projects."Click here to read this article and learn how to effectively evaluate your results.

3. Developing a Strategy
Part of evaluating your results with the implementation of the six sigma process is deciding how you will develop a strategy to sustain your results.Read about this process through this link.

4. Maintaining Progression
The six sigma process is not done once you have received some results.Optimizing those results is what is needed in order to maintain your level of progression and continue to improve (as is illustrated in this article).

5. Evaluating Results
Evaluating your results after implementing a six sigma process is a step that should take you back to evaluate whether or not you were able to reach the goals that you had set at the beginning of the implementation process.

6. Project Report Template
This link leads to an example of a project report template that you may consider using to illustrate the conclusions that were obtained through an evaluation of your organizations six sigma implementation results.

7. Software to help Evaluatuion
This link provides you with the opportunity to read about the features of a piece of software that is designed to help you as you evaluate your results and there is also a direct link that you can use to purchase this software.

8. Evaluating the Implementation of Six Sigma
Your evaluation of the implementation of the six sigma process is likely to differ from a company of a different size.This article discusses how to evaluate the results of a small to medium sized organization

9. Advantages and Disadvantages of Six Sigma
Keeping in mind the advantages and disadvantages of Six Sigma can help to make your results more conclusive as you evaluate the success of the overall implementation process.Read more about these advantages and disadvantages here.

10. Evaluating the Results of the Six Sigma Process
When you have reached the point where you are evaluating the results of the six sigma process, it is useful to review the first phases of Six Sigma to see how well you did at solving the problem that had been defined in the first phase.

2. Application of Six Sigma Tools

Using the tools for Six Sigma properly is a very important part of the overall success of the project ensemble.Some projects may be successful without the proper use of the tools but it has been noted that projects that improved without Six Sigma tools improved even more when they were applied and applied correctly and consistently.When some of the tools are used correctly they success may be low to moderate and as the implementation of the tools increases, so will the success that is achieved with each project especially when the project is of vital importance to the strategy of the business or division.

3. Active Sponsor Engagement

The amount of time that a sponsor spends on a project actively engaged will to some degree determine the success of the project.When a sponsor is very involved with the process it is more likely to be successful.The role of the sponsor of course is to guide the team that is actually implementing the steps of Six Sigma on the project.The more involved the leadership of the project is the more committed the other team members will likely be to doing the project as well.When the sponsor or manager only has minimal involvement in the project, there is a disconnection with the team and they are sometimes less effective.When he is moderately involved the project is important to them but not necessarily on the top of the list.When they are highly involved and very visible engaged in the project, it will be much more successful.

4. Team Actively Engaged

The team working on the project also needs to be actively involved on the project for it to be as successful as possible.The likelihood that the team will be anxiously engaged stems at least in part from the involvement of the management above them.When the team is focused on only one or a few projects, they are much more likely to spend the time necessary on each one to ensure the success of all of them.Spreading a team too thin will often result in marginal results on all projects or quality levels of varying degrees on the projects that are undertaken.The team is one of the most important aspects of having a successful project because they are really the ones that see to it getting done.

5. Broad Organizational Awareness of the Project

It is important for the organization as a whole to know what projects are being undertaken using Six Sigma and that they also have a vested interest in seeing the success of the project.The more visible the project is to the company the more attention it will get whether positive or negative.If it is successful, people might try and apply the principles to other aspects of the business and if it is unsuccessful, then they will evaluate why it wasn't and make sure that the problems of the project are not repeated on other ones.The higher the visibility and importance of the project to the company as a whole the more important it will be to the overall success of the business.

6. Project Delivered the Anticipated Results

Another key measure in Six Sigma is if the project actually achieved the desired results.It is also important to measure how much of an impact it had on customer satisfaction and overall product quality.The impact cannot always be determined at the beginning of a project but looking back on it may tell more than you might think.A project that doesn't deliver what was anticipated could be deemed a failure but it should also be approached as a learning opportunity to make changes in operations in the future on other projects.This evaluation criterion is especially valuable when undertaking several projects depends on the results of one of more projects already in process or completed.

7. Project Completed on Time

Another important measure of the success of a project was the timeframe in which it was completed.If the project was completed in time and yielded the desired results then it could be done again in the future.If it took considerably less or more time than was originally anticipated, then the numbers used to evaluate the success may need to be modified to decide if it was actually worth the time and effort put into it.

8. Successful Transition of Ownership to Process Owner

Transitioning ownership of the project is very important and can have a very significant impact on the success of the endeavor.When a leader just inherits a project because someone else doesn't have the time or desire to complete it, they may not do as good of a job as when they feel the own the project and are committed to completing it well.This transition is important and you should be able to track how well it went to that it can be evaluated later.

9. Improvement Sustained Over Time

Improvement is very important but longevity of the improvement is also essential.Improvements may only occur because they are on the minds of the people who are working on them.Achieving results that are sustainable and repeatable is very important in the future success of projects similar to the one or ones you just completed.Sometimes the improvements that are made when a project is being very heavily evaluated will be more dramatic that after the evaluation is complete and the project or task has returned to "normal".This is not a desirable result because you want the improvements to last and be engrained in the process rather than just in the fact that that there is an evaluation that is taking place.

10. Replication of Results

This may be the most important success criterion because if the results are not repeatable then it may not have been worth the effort to undertake the project in the first place.You need to be sure that you can achieve success again using the same processes and methods that you did on one project.Continual improvement and implementation is one of the most important parts of Six Sigma and it needs to be used consistently to improve your business.

These ten criteria will help you decide if the project that you have completed or are near completion on was worth the effort and should be translated to other areas of the company or plant.Take the success that you have achieved and use it again and again.

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