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Six Sigma Project Team

Getting off to a good start with a Six Sigma project requires astute project team selection.

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Teams & Team Success

A Team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

What Makes A Team Successful

  • Common goals and working together to achieve that goal
  • Strong communication
  • Leveraging the expertise of each individual
  • Empowering others
  • Team member diversity (skills, knowledge, experience etc.) is respected and properly leveraged
  • Successful teams have strong leaders
  • Successful teams have appropriate resources available to them

Keys to Team Success

  • Successful and winning teams focus on problems that need to be solved
    • They focus problems with meaningful business results
    • They focus on challenging problems
    • They focus on problems that can be solved with the resources available to them
  • Successful team have the right people engaged
    • Engage team members who have appropriate process knowledge
    • Involve team members who have proper & adequate support, & guidance from their leadership
  • Great team use proven methods
    • They use Six Sigma process improvement methods
    • Successful teams use and act on facts and verifiable evidence

Principles for Proper Team Selection:

  • Team selection must address the problem
    • Team member skills & knowledge should meet project needs
  • Knowledge of the process being improved
    • Must have subject matter experts (SME's)
  • Skills – technical, practical, analytical, interpersonal
    • Skill diversity is important
  • Team size (none of us is as smart as all of us)
    • You'll fail alone or with an army; 4-8 team members is appropriate!
  • IS/IT involvement
    • You'll likely need Information Technology and Information Systems
  • Consider your champion's inputs
    • Heed the advice and/or encouragement of your champion

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The Team Development Process

  • Forming        
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

What are people seeking at each stage?

  • Forming Stage: Team members seek inclusion
  • Storming Stage: Team members seek organization
  • Norming Stage: Team members seek  communication
  • Performing Stage: Team members seek success

Forming Stage:

  • Many sentences beginning with:  "I am, I feel, I want."
  • Attempts to define the task and decide how it will be done. 
  • Decisions on what information needs to be gathered. 
  • Lofty abstract discussions of concepts and issues; or for some members, impatience with these discussions.
  • Discussions of symptoms or problems not relevant to the task.

Storming Stage:

  • Members are impatient about the lack of progress – want to 'jump to solution'.
  • Members argue about just what actions the team should take. "What is my role?  What are the rules?  Who is in charge? 
  • There is resistance to the task and discomfort with 6 Sigma.
  • There are sharp fluctuations in attitude about the team and the project's chance of success.

Norming Stage:

  • Members stop thrashing about and start helping each other stay afloat.
  • Acceptance of membership in the team and ability to express criticism constructively.
  • You will hear questions such as "Who will help me?  Can I be honest?  Can I make mistakes?  How should I behave?"
  • More friendliness, confiding in each other, and sharing of personal problems.
  • There is a sense of team cohesion, a common spirit and goals.

Performing Stage:

  • Questions and concerns center around the task at hand and generally start with "We" instead of "I."
  • The atmosphere is non-threatening because members have worked through the issues of control and communication.
  • Collaboration occurs and performance is optimized.
  • There is constructive self-change.
  • There is a close attachment to the team.
  • A lot of work gets done.

Six Sigma Project Team Summary

Project teams are critical components of any successful Six Sigma project.  Understanding roles, selection criteria and team development will enable you to successfully execute Six Sigma projects.

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