Thinking about rolling out a Design for Lean Six Sigma program to your product development organization? Not sure where to start or how to help ensure a successful deployment? A recently published book may give you insight into a successful Design for Lean Six Sigma deployment. Titled Lessons Learned from an Unconventional Design for Lean Six Sigma Deployment, the book outlines the successful development and deployment of Xerox’s Design for Lean Six Sigma initiative within the product development community. What makes this book a little different from most is that (a) it is a view from the inside of a Design for Six Sigma deployment and (b) it outlines a somewhat unconventional deployment to a community of people who are very demanding.
Prior to becoming a SigmaZone.com Associate, I was a member of Xerox’s Corporate Lean Six Sigma Senior Staff and had responsibility for the Design for Lean Six Sigma initiative. Along with my fellow colleagues, we were able to devise a program that built on our quality heritage, drove Design for Six Sigma and other Systems Engineering practices into product development professionals’ work processes, and put in place cultural and infrastructure elements to help ensure pervasiveness across the organization and sustainability over time. By involving local Deployment Managers specifically assigned for Design for Six Sigma and content Subject Matter Experts in the development of the program, we increased the likelihood that the somewhat independent organizations would “buy-in” to the overall program. We also incorporated actions based on Dr. Andrea Shapiro’s seven levers of change, outlined in her book Creating Contagious Commitment, to help deal with the cultural acceptance and “stickiness” of the overall program. Those seven levers included contacts between the advocates and the apathetic, walk the talk, and ensuring that reward and recognition supports the change. The first three chapters of the book highlight the sequence of work needed to develop and deploy the Design for Six Sigma program, key decisions that were made, and actions we took to deal with the cultural challenges.
What made the Xerox Design for Six Sigma deployment “unconventional”? First, it deviated somewhat from Xerox’s DMAIC deployment. One example is that rather than a low percentage of DMAIC Black Belts and Green Belts, we knew if this was going to be successful, everyone needed to be trained to at least a Green Belt or PR actioner level. That meant 100% of the product research, development, and design community. Second, we had to develop a curriculum and certification process that encompassed all the Design for Six Sigma methods and tools, while being flexible enough for product delivery professionals from all functions and disciplines (independent of where their program was in the development cycle) to relate to the program’s best practices. By using a collaborative process, we built this unconventional Design for Six Sigma program structure around elements such as a unique competency-based certification process based on a set of standard System Engineering skills, integration of Lean and DMAIC methods, and a “push” coaching model. As mentioned earlier, “what” we did, and “how” and “why” we did it are explained in the first three chapters.
The book concludes with a series of lessons learned through the development and deployment phases. Some of the lessons were good, some were bad, and most were just interesting. Many of the outcomes were anticipated, while others were unintended outcomes of the decisions that were made. The lessons learned included finding management “rabbits”, do not get caught in the training trap, and make believers successful, to name a few. When I step back and look over these lessons learned, I find they are equally applicable to other types of corporate-wide initiatives, not just Lean Six Sigma. Also, throughout the book, there are a series of “keys to success” icons. In those icons I added short tips, comments, and suggestions that may assist people as they are deploying their own program.
If you are interested in this book, it can be ordered through my store front on Lulu.com at this address: http://stores.lulu.com/normfowler. The book is also available online through other book sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.