How can Six Sigma be used in project management?

Six Sigma can absolutely be used for project management. In fact, this method is best used in small, scalable projects that produces data and results easily collected, controlled, and analyzed by project managers.

In order for project managers to successfully implement Six Sigma, though, they will need a significant amount of information on Lean methods and ideas, especially those that focus on QA matters.

Six Sigma methods—DMADV and DMAIC—require a variety of QA tools to be used for each individual stage of the process. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have project managers get certified in Six Sigma.

Six Sigma certification is measure using the belt system: white, yellow, green, black, and master black. White (which is not an official certification) and yellow are beginning levels. For project managers, experts suggest that they have at least a green belt certification before they can sufficiently lead Six Sigma projects.

Common QA tools

Value Stream Mapping—a process that maps all the steps involved in making a product. It reveals where waste occurs.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)—A calculation formula for assessing how productive a facility is on a day to day basis.

CTQ tree—Critical-to-quality trees are figures that help companies translate customer needs into actionable production specifications.

5 Whys—Usually used in the Analyze phase of Six Sigma, this strategy of asking “Why?” five times helps get to the root cause of production problems.

Axiomatic design—this design concept posits a systematic approach for the design of products for better uniformity and consistency.

Process Mapping—a tool that visually communicates the flow of work in a facility/production process.


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