Is Lean Six Sigma Too Slow?

Often times when handed a list of directions to follow at the start of a project, we think “I know what I’m going to do, I don’t need a list of steps.” And while occasionally that is correct, we often find ourselves coming back to the list of steps and starting over from the beginning. It’s relatively common to think that with some exposure to a process you know how to complete it successfully, but haven’t we all had to disassemble a piece of furniture because we found that we had put the pieces together incorrectly?

Circumventing the steps of a process may seem like a faster way to get to a completed project, but Lean Six Sigma’s DMAIC process would show you otherwise. Lean Six Sigma is based on a five-step approach that acts as “directions” to a project. The approach Defines, Measures, Analyzes, Improves, and Controls projects that are used to improve or enhance businesses. These steps are more commonly known as DMAIC and have been proven as a highly effective way to implement a new process or change to business production.

DMAIC Isn't the “Long Way”

Directions accompany both simple and complex tasks or projects because there is often the most efficient path to completion. When we choose to skip steps or only partially follow the directions, we find ourselves doing more work than originally planned due to error or redundancy. In the business world, the time added to the process ultimately costs a company money. So, while following a well-defined set of steps may seem like the “long way” to complete a project, there is actually less of a chance for error and inefficiency when following the DMAIC process. With repeated use of DMAIC within a company, it may also be found that companies and their members become more efficient in their project approach, understanding what is needed to complete each step of the DMAIC process.

Companies that use Lean Six Sigma’s DMAIC process find that projects are taken through a deliberate set of steps that help keep projects focused on desired end results. Much like following the step-by-step directions to properly assemble a piece of furniture, each step of DMAIC builds on the previous step, creating a solid business solution in the end.

Know Its Value

The true value in following a process like DMAIC is knowing that there is a proven method walking you through the proverbial madness when it comes to solving problems for intricate business functions. And while it is a great set of “directions” for larger, more complex initiatives, it works just as well for smaller projects. So, the next time you’re handed a project, whether it be implementation at work or assembling a piece of furniture at home, remember that there is a reason for the set of steps taken to complete the task at hand. Simply, a Lean Six Sigma DMAIC process is nothing more than a set of well-defined directions that comes with a very powerful set of tools to help identify opportunities for successful change within your business.

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About Michael Parker

Michael Parker is the founder and president of Lean Sigma Corporation, a leading Lean Six Sigma certification provider, and licensor of premium training content to universities and corporations world wide. Michael has over 25 years of experience leading and executing Lean Six Sigma programs and projects. As a Fortune 50 senior executive, Michael led oversight of project portfolios as large as 150 concurrent projects exceeding $100 million in annual capital expenditures. Michael has also managed multi-site operations with the accountability of over 250 quality assurance managers, analysts, and consultants. He is an economist by education, earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University while also lettering four years as an NCAA Division I scholarship athlete. Michael earned his Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from Bank of America and his Black Belt certification from R.R. Donnelley & Sons. He holds nine U.S. Copyrights for his "Learn Six Sigma" publications, and a U.S. Patent.