STEP #4 - IMPROVE SOLUTIONS & IMPLEMENTATION
THE QUALITY WEB
© The Quality Web, authored by Frank E. Armstrong, Making Sense Chronicles - 2003 - 2016

PHASE 4 - IMPROVE

Welcome to Phase 4, IMPROVE where you should now be ready to develop, implement and evaluate the solutions you targeted at your verified cause. The goal should be to demonstrate (with data) that your solutions solve the problem and lead to improvement. The tools that are most commonly used in the Improve phase are: 1. Brainstorming 2. Consensus 3. Creativity Techniques 4. Data Collection 5. Design of Experiments 6. Flow Diagrams 7. FMEA 8. Hypothesis Tests 9. Planning Tools 10. Stakeholder Analysis Generating Solutions To accomplish this, you need to review what you know about the process and the verified cause; brainstorm solutions, ideas and creative techniques; and combine these ideas into viable solutions. Evaluate ideas - in doing so to achieve a better solution, you should: · Generate criteria · Put a weight or emphasis factor to each category · Evaluate the Idea Cost/Benefit Analysis Up to this point, your team has invested a lot of emotional energy and hard work into the project, however, the benefits or merits of their solution may not be obvious to anyone outside of the team. The team may have selected a solution that does not meet the requirements of the business. To have the greatest impact, a formal cost/benefit analysis can express in financial terms, the implications of your solution and assist to mobilize commitment and create buy-in. You need to check with your facility on their methodology for performing a cost/benefit analysis. Assessing Risks and Piloting A Solution If there is an obvious winner from the evaluation step, go with that selected choice. However, if there is no clear choice, use decision making tactics by consensus or majority vote. Consensus is NOT: · An unanimous vote. · Having everyone completely satisfied with the outcome. · Necessarily anyone's first or most popular choice. · Everyone getting everything they want. · Everyone finally coming around to the "right" opinion. Consensus IS, however: · A search for the best decision through the exploration of the best of everyone's           thinking. · Everyone understands the decision and can explain why it is the best choice. · Everyone has had a opportunity to be heard. When to use Consensus: · The decision is high impact. · The decision is high consequence. · The decision is emotionally charged · The decision is full of controversy. · The decision lends a wide diversity of opinion A better decision will be made if you are able to get everyone's opinions and thoughts conveyed, if you can get buy-in from all of the team, and if you have a structured process that helps your team listen to each other. Tips for Consensus: · Use a facilitator · Take good notes · Balance power · Make sure there is enough time · Search for alternatives that meet the goals of the team · Encourage · Listen carefully and check for understanding · Be open to new ideas, but don't change your mind simply to avoid conflict or           speed up the decision. · Don't just argue your point of view. · Seek out some differences in opinion, play the devil's advocate. Reducing or eliminating risks is commonly approached by using the FMEA - consider the options. CONDUCTING A PILOT RUN Why have a pilot? · To improve the solution · To understand the risks · To validate the expected results · To smooth out implementation · To facilitate buy-in · To identify previously unknown performance problems. When to pilot? · To confirm expected results and practicality of the solution. · To reduce the risk of failure · The scope of change is large, and reversing the change would be difficult. · Implementing the change would be costly. · Changes would have far-reaching, unforeseen consequences. The Steps for a Pilot Program 1. Select steering committees. 2. Brief the participants. 3. Plan the Pilot. 4. Inform associates. 5. Train employees. 6. Conduct the pilot. 7. Evaluate the results. 8. Increase the scope. PLANNING TOOLS First, there is the TREE DIAGRAM (which we covered in the Analyze phase). Secondly, there is also what is known as a GANTT Chart. The Gantt chart allows you to see the relationship between different tasks such as relative sequence, duration, timing, and so forth. They can get complex quickly when there are many overlapping tasks. There are many computer software programs that can automatically create a Ganntt chart for you which usually allows to look at resource allocation as well as the tasks. Below is a sample Gantt Chart for your review; as you can see each step is identified and the time it is anticipated that it will take to complete the overall task. How to create a Gantt Chart: 1. Identify the outcome you wish to achieve. What is the last step in the process? 2. Identify the deadline for achieving this expected outcome? 3. Identify the first step or starting point. 4. Brainstorm all the steps are in between. 5. Put them in a logical progression. 6. Assign a length of time to each step. 7. Identify the nature of the relationship between steps and adjust the timing if           needed. 8. Label a page with the appropriate time increments across the tope and chart the           steps. PLANNING GRID A planning grid helps to identify the resources and outcomes for each step in the process. How to create a Planning Grid: 1. Specify the final outcome expected. 2. Identify the start and stop points. 3. Brainstorm the list of steps that should take place, and place them between the           start/stop points. 4. Create the grid (see sample below). In addition to the above tools, the team will need to complete budget and resource planning as well as the stakeholder planning. Once you have your plan in order, you should be ready to put the plan in motion and improve upon the action set out to conquer. COMPLETION CHECKLIST By the completion of this Phase, you should be able to demonstrate: · What factors you considered to decide about the strategy · What solutions you identified · What criteria you used to select a solution, including how the solution was linked            to the verified cause(s) identified in the ANALYZE phase. · How the various alternatives scored against those criteria. · The results of any small-scale tests of the solutions. · Plans for detailed implementation · How the planned changes align with management systems, policies, and            procedures. THIS IS THE END OF THE IMPROVE PHASE - GO BACK TO SIX SIGMA PAGE AND START CONTROL PHASE TO COMPLETE LEARNING ABOUT SIX SIGMA
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STEP #4 - IMPROVE SOLUTIONS & IMPLEMENTATION
The Quality Web
© The Quality Web, authored by Frank E. Armstrong, Making Sense Chronicles - 2003 - 2016

PHASE 4 - IMPROVE

Welcome to Phase 4, IMPROVE where you should now be ready to develop, implement and evaluate the solutions you targeted at your verified cause. The goal should be to demonstrate (with data) that your solutions solve the problem and lead to improvement. The tools that are most commonly used in the Improve phase are: 1. Brainstorming 2. Consensus 3. Creativity Techniques 4. Data Collection 5. Design of Experiments 6. Flow Diagrams 7. FMEA 8. Hypothesis Tests 9. Planning Tools 10. Stakeholder Analysis Generating Solutions To accomplish this, you need to review what you know about the process and the verified cause; brainstorm solutions, ideas and creative techniques; and combine these ideas into viable solutions. Evaluate ideas - in doing so to achieve a better solution, you should: · Generate criteria · Put a weight or emphasis factor to each category · Evaluate the Idea Cost/Benefit Analysis Up to this point, your team has invested a lot of emotional energy and hard work into the project, however, the benefits or merits of their solution may not be obvious to anyone outside of the team. The team may have selected a solution that does not meet the requirements of the business. To have the greatest impact, a formal cost/benefit analysis can express in financial terms, the implications of your solution and assist to mobilize commitment and create buy-in. You need to check with your facility on their methodology for performing a cost/benefit analysis. Assessing Risks and Piloting A Solution If there is an obvious winner from the evaluation step, go with that selected choice. However, if there is no clear choice, use decision making tactics by consensus or majority vote. Consensus is NOT: · An unanimous vote. · Having everyone completely satisfied with the outcome. · Necessarily anyone's first or most popular choice. · Everyone getting everything they want. · Everyone finally coming around to the "right" opinion. Consensus IS, however: · A search for the best decision through the exploration of the best of everyone's           thinking. · Everyone understands the decision and can explain why it is the best choice. · Everyone has had a opportunity to be heard. When to use Consensus: · The decision is high impact. · The decision is high consequence. · The decision is emotionally charged · The decision is full of controversy. · The decision lends a wide diversity of opinion A better decision will be made if you are able to get everyone's opinions and thoughts conveyed, if you can get buy-in from all of the team, and if you have a structured process that helps your team listen to each other. Tips for Consensus: · Use a facilitator · Take good notes · Balance power · Make sure there is enough time · Search for alternatives that meet the goals of the team · Encourage · Listen carefully and check for understanding · Be open to new ideas, but don't change your mind simply to avoid conflict or           speed up the decision. · Don't just argue your point of view. · Seek out some differences in opinion, play the devil's advocate. Reducing or eliminating risks is commonly approached by using the FMEA - consider the options. CONDUCTING A PILOT RUN Why have a pilot? · To improve the solution · To understand the risks · To validate the expected results · To smooth out implementation · To facilitate buy-in · To identify previously unknown performance problems. When to pilot? · To confirm expected results and practicality of the solution. · To reduce the risk of failure · The scope of change is large, and reversing the change would be difficult. · Implementing the change would be costly. · Changes would have far-reaching, unforeseen consequences. The Steps for a Pilot Program 1. Select steering committees. 2. Brief the participants. 3. Plan the Pilot. 4. Inform associates. 5. Train employees. 6. Conduct the pilot. 7. Evaluate the results. 8. Increase the scope. PLANNING TOOLS First, there is the TREE DIAGRAM (which we covered in the Analyze phase). Secondly, there is also what is known as a GANTT Chart. The Gantt chart allows you to see the relationship between different tasks such as relative sequence, duration, timing, and so forth. They can get complex quickly when there are many overlapping tasks. There are many computer software programs that can automatically create a Ganntt chart for you which usually allows to look at resource allocation as well as the tasks. Below is a sample Gantt Chart for your review; as you can see each step is identified and the time it is anticipated that it will take to complete the overall task. How to create a Gantt Chart: 1. Identify the outcome you wish to achieve. What is the last step in the process? 2. Identify the deadline for achieving this expected outcome? 3. Identify the first step or starting point. 4. Brainstorm all the steps are in between. 5. Put them in a logical progression. 6. Assign a length of time to each step. 7. Identify the nature of the relationship between steps and adjust the timing if           needed. 8. Label a page with the appropriate time increments across the tope and chart the           steps. PLANNING GRID A planning grid helps to identify the resources and outcomes for each step in the process. How to create a Planning Grid: 1. Specify the final outcome expected. 2. Identify the start and stop points. 3. Brainstorm the list of steps that should take place, and place them between the           start/stop points. 4. Create the grid (see sample below). In addition to the above tools, the team will need to complete budget and resource planning as well as the stakeholder planning. Once you have your plan in order, you should be ready to put the plan in motion and improve upon the action set out to conquer. COMPLETION CHECKLIST By the completion of this Phase, you should be able to demonstrate: · What factors you considered to decide about the strategy · What solutions you identified · What criteria you used to select a solution, including how the solution was linked            to the verified cause(s) identified in the ANALYZE phase. · How the various alternatives scored against those criteria. · The results of any small-scale tests of the solutions. · Plans for detailed implementation · How the planned changes align with management systems, policies, and            procedures. THIS IS THE END OF THE IMPROVE PHASE - GO BACK TO SIX SIGMA PAGE AND START CONTROL PHASE TO COMPLETE LEARNING ABOUT SIX SIGMA
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