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DMAIC: 4 Steps of the Improve Phase vol. 1 【Review the 1st half of Project】(Lean Six Sigma)

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DMAIC: 4 Steps of the Improve Phase ...

The Improve Phase consists of 4 steps. The first 2 steps, which are “1. Review all deliverables that were made through the Analyze Phase.” and “2. Design a new business process that would achieve total optimization.”

(Duration: 5:07)

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4 Steps of the Improve Phase

Hi, this is Mike Negami Lean Sigma Black Belt.

Today, I’ll talk about the 4 steps of the Improve Phase. This Phase is the main part of a Lean Sigma project.  The 4 steps are:

  1. Review all deliverables that were made through the Analyze Phase.
  2. Design a new business process that would achieve total optimization.
  3. Make a transition plan to move to the new process smoothly.
  4. While rotating through the PDCA Cycle, complete the transition plan.

This has a lot of content, so I divided it into two videos.

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Frankly speaking, the first three Phases before were just preparation for the Improve Phase.  In fact, more than half of a project’s time is spent on the Improve Phase.

Until the Analyze Phase, project managers are expected to be expert analysts.  However, in the Improve Phase, they are expected to have strong creativity and communication skills.

1. “Review all deliverables that were made through the Analyze Phase.”

Let’s list up the major documents here. Related video links will be shown, so click them and watch those videos.

From the Define Phase, the first deliverable is a Project Charter. Check your project’s purpose and goal again.

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Also, in order to see the current situation and the Value-Added Analysis, review the target process’s Value Stream Map.

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Measure your CTQ (Critical To Quality) as you conduct your project to check your project’s progress.

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You may not be able to do this often in projects for service operations, but at least make the CTQ Tree and convert your customers’ requirements to CTQ’s.

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Review vital-few issues from the current situation’s analysis data. A typical tool for this is a Pareto Chart.

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By reviewing the root cause analysis from the Ishikawa Diagram conducted in the Analyze Phase, solutions will come up naturally.

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After reviewing all deliverables, what should you do next?

2. “Design a new business process that would achieve total optimization.”

At this stage, although you may want to look for an IT system from outside vendors, it’s not too late to design a new ideal business process first.  You may finish the project faster and cheaper that way in the long run.  Otherwise, you would apply an IT system to an insufficient process and your project might fail.

So, how can we design a new business process?  You can use the SIPOC Analysis and Value Stream Map here too.  Please watch the related videos for that. These videos are targeting an existing process, but they can be applied to designing a new process.

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I use Value Stream Mapping quite often, but this tool has one weak point:  It’s difficult to describe the concept of “decision” on the map.  You can add it on the map, but that would lose the original purpose of “seeing the big picture”.

After finalizing the new high-level business process on the Value Stream Map with your stakeholders, you can use Flowcharts to design detailed processes.  They can contain the “decision” concept. I have a Flowchart template, so I’ll make a video about that soon.

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My videos until now have emphasized Six Sigma topics such as DMAIC and Data Analyses, but you can use many of the concepts and tools of Lean, which is the Toyota Production System, in designing a new business process.  The major examples for that are Kanban, Pull System, Poka Yoke, which is Mistake Proofing, 5S etc. I’ll introduce them in my future videos.

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Today I explained the first 2 steps of the Improve Phase.

Thank you very much for viewing. Please click the ‘Subscribe’ button. Also click and watch my other related videos. Thanks.

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