About this lesson
A Lean Six Sigma Black Belt will often chair the Stage Gate Review meetings for Lean Six Sigma Projects. In those meetings, the Black Belt needs to ensure the work of the phase was done and the tools were used effectively. This lesson reviews the normal deliverables due at the Define Stage Gate review. It also includes hints and tips for identifying problems to be avoided during that phase.
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Define Stage Deliverables
The Define Stage is the initial stage of a Lean Six Sigma project. The deliverables from this stage set the project boundaries and establish the success criteria for the project.
When to use
The Define stage deliverables should be reviewed and approved at the Define stage gate review meeting.
Throughout the Define stage, the Lean Six Sigma team is creating the deliverables. The deliverables are normally consolidated into a Project Charter that is reviewed and approved during the Define stage gate review. This charter will describe the business case for why this project should be conducted. The charter will also include other project boundary conditions such as preliminary gate review dates and clarifying the project Green Belt or Black Belt project leader. The final result of the Define stage review is the approval of the charter and the authorization for the team to proceed with the investigation and analysis.
The focus of this stage is to get the stakeholders to agree on the defect or problem that is to be addressed. This is often summarized as the Customer Critical to Quality (CTQ) attributes. It is often referred to as the “Big Y” in the equation Y=f(x). In addition, the scope of the investigation or analysis is determined by conducting a SIPOC of the process. This scoping action will determine the departments or processes involved in the analysis and therefore the subject matter expert team members who are needed on the team.
A major challenge can arise in this stage if the stakeholders have different goals or agendas for the project. When that occurs, they normally disagree on the CTQs or the project boundaries. As a Black Belt, you will need to manage the stakeholder interactions and negotiate an agreement between these stakeholders before moving on to the next stage. Question you often must work through with the stakeholders are:
- Where to set the SIPOC process boundaries (business department view – not detailed step view)?
- What subject matter experts do we need and who should be on the team?
- Can we integrate and align the different CTQs from different stakeholders?
Hints & tips
- Make sure you understand the business case behind the defect or problem. Don’t jump to a technical definition of the defect or problem, understand how the defect is impacting the business.
- Although there may be one prominent stakeholder who is sponsoring the project, be sure you have considered the perspective of other stakeholders. You don’t want to create a solution that optimizes the performance for one stakeholder and sub-optimizes the performance for many others.
- Use the SIPOC to determine what SMEs are needed on the team.
- Take the charter seriously. You will be reviewing it at every gate meeting and it is your ultimate measure of success.
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