The Define Phase of a Lean Six Sigma Project

By Dave Litten
About The Define Phase of a Lean Six Sigma Project

The Define Phase of a Lean Six Sigma Project

This is the first of the five phases and its purpose is to have the team and its sponsor reach agreement on the scope, goals, and financial and performance targets for the project.

Before you start, you will need the first draft of the Project Charter from the sponsors, and resource allocation for the team members along with an initial budget.

The following are the main deliverables of this phase:

  • Develop the project charter
  • Identify the project CTQ
  • Create process maps

Lets look at each in turn:

Develop the Project Charter

The project charter must cover the problem statements, business impact, goals, scope, timeline, and defined team.

The project charter acts as the terms of reference for the entire lean six sigma project. The project charter document structure would include the following:

  • Project purpose
  • Current scenario and gold
  • Measures of success (CTQ)
  • Project scope of
  • Quantitative and indicative project benefits
  • Team members

Creating the project charter will normally involve having several meetings and gathering the voice of customer (VOC) may need to be captured in order to understand the problem at hand.

It is important to negotiate compromises or adjustments to scope, resources, timing, and team membership.

Voc The Voice Of The Customer

VOC The Voice Of the Customer

Accurate project scoping determines how the project will contributes to the overall business, and whether the efforts will be diverted to maximum impact area, team composition, and the required financial resources.

Within lean six sigma there are two main tools used to help identify the project scope. The first is known as “In-Frame Out-Frame” in the diagram such as the one below can be used to brainstorm the scope using post-it notes.

Lean6Sigma Project Scope

Lean6sigma project scope

A second tool that can help define scope is called a SIPOC diagram which I will cover shortly.
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