Six Sigma and Project Management


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Integrating Six Sigma techniques with the project management methodologies is the way to go for companies focussing on continuous improvement. Many organizations implement Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, and Total Quality Control to assist in new product development, to reduce the cost of development, improve manufacturing efficiency or to enter new markets. Most organizations integrate the Six Sigma method to the project management tools and processes so as to gain maximum advantage. The DMAIC Six Sigma methodology i.e. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control provides a structured approach to solving business issues. The tools used in Six Sigma are primarily to identify the root causes for process defects so that the company can provide to the customers consistent quality products on time and at low cost. The project management tools and techniques emphasis the project attributes such as development, control, completion etc. Though the Six Sigma methodology is effective when it comes to troubleshooting or for improving the current processes in existence using the DMAIC method, there are some issues to be considered. If Six Sigma alone is used for project management then controlling the project processes can be difficult. This is because the DMAIC approach is for controlling process improvements and not for controlling the project management process per se. Combing the process control facet of project management with the troubleshooting factor of Six Sigma would ensure that the organization can create a process troubleshooting system that is consistent, controlled and most importantly predictable. One can integrate these two very strong methods at the beginning of the project life cycle itself while planning. Utilizing the Six Sigma techniques for problem definition would reduce the chance for errors in assessment. The Six Sigma tools for problem measurement can be utilized in the validation phase in the project management. Incorporating budgeting, scheduling and resource management into the life cycle will ensure that the management is in a better position to make informed decisions. Utilizing these Six Sigma tools throughout all the phases of the project would incorporate effective troubleshooting and efficient processes into the project management methodology. The project management in turn would help in monitoring and tracking the project progress, thus adding to the control element to the project. Hence as companies are striving to improve their processes, while reducing costs and bringing to the market newer products which add to the profit, the integration of Six Sigma with project management is inevitable. This integration would help in cost reduction, enhancing process efficiency, rapid implementation and faster product development cycles.

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