I’ll be honest – from time to time I struggle with starting Lean Six Sigma projects.
Most people are surprised to hear this. After all, I have made my career by working with thousands of Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt project leaders in Lean and Lean Six Sigma to execute their projects. I help them run their Lean Six Sigma projects effectively and efficiently to achieve great results.
But for me, sometimes I get stuck.
What I’ve learned is I have to ask the question, “Why am I getting stuck?”
Either I have a problem I need to solve or an opportunity I want to pursue. But then it gets very daunting. I have created this wonderful destination, but the journey is still murky. How do I get there?
These are the three steps I take to get unstuck and get a Lean Six Sigma project underway.
Step 1: Build a Framework
I like to start by listing out the simple elements of any really good Lean Six Sigma project. First, identify the project goal. This is either the problem I want to solve or the opportunity I want to pursue.
Then I start listing what I know about the project. What are the benefits? What are the costs? What is the scope? What is my timeline? Who should be included?
Answering these questions at the beginning of a project is a great foundation I can build upon.
Step 2: Choose a Methodology
The methodology you choose to follow will be in part dictated by your project. You might find something complex like a Lean Six Sigma DMAIC project usually tackled by Black Belts or Green Belts works best for this project. You can use the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology that we use in Kaizen. You can also use other Lean methodologies such as FOCUS.
There are so many great methodologies available so don’t feel tied to one. A methodology is just a roadmap. It will help you navigate the journey to get to your end goal.
Step 3: Start Doing Things
If you are anything like me, it’s easy to get stuck in the planning stages. I find myself thinking, “If I can create the perfect plan, I can ensure that my project won’t hit any speed bumps.”
But the truth is a perfect plan doesn’t exist. At this point, it’s time to go ahead and start executing your project and hit your milestones. A Lean Six Sigma project you complete is always going to be more valuable than one that lives in your head.
So … How do you start a project?
It’s actually very simple. You just start. Just go for it.
For me, periodically I do get stuck on starting projects. I’ve realized that the reason I get stuck is because I don’t lean in and I don’t actually just start working on the project.
Good luck to you. I know it’s important to start working on great projects. You’ve got plenty in front of you. My advice is to just go ahead and start that Lean Six Sigma project you have been thinking about.