Day in the Life of a Process Manager and LSS MBB



Erica Farmer
12/02/2011

Have you ever want to know what it would be like to work in a different job or industry? PEX Network's twice monthly "A Day in the Life" series continues this week as Erica Farmer, a process manager and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt for a large service firm based in the United States, explains what she loves about her job.

In my role as a Master Black Belt, I engage in project management, leading Lean Six Sigma projects, developing and facilitating Lean Six Sigma training, and participating in analytical project work. As a project manager, I routinely engage in helping business partners think through the work that needs to be accomplished for various types of department project efforts. This involves employing project management principles such as developing scoping documents, project charters, project schedules, risk management plans, etc.

I also lead projects where I engage in the use of DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control), DMADV (Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify), kaizen events and Work-out. A favorite focus of mine is developing and facilitating Lean Six Sigma training events.

I particularly enjoy employing instructional design concepts to develop educational modules that have interactive sections to help students integrate key concepts. I also have developed a passion for analytic work, especially in the broader context of business intelligence. Many times, I find there is a need to educate and develop more effective methods for engaging in both guided and discovery analytic work. This is an exciting area and I find that it meshes quite well with my passion for Lean Six Sigma.

Erica Farmer, Process Manager and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

On a daily basis, I am engaged in leading multiple projects that require the ability to be flexible in order to manage on-demand project-related or non-project-related requests/issues. What I enjoy the most is helping people and seeing their awareness increase as they understand a new concept or experience a paradigm shift. Solving a problem for a business partner and meeting project deadlines are a few of the greatest rewards in my work day.

I have been working for eight years as a Lean Six Sigma and quality management professional. I started on this journey by joining the American Society for Quality, where I met other like-minded professionals. I immediately became involved in the association by helping the treasurer greet people and collect monies for the group’s monthly meeting. During the first meeting that I attended, I was very fortunate to be introduced to another quality professional, Grace Duffy, who would eventually become my mentor and friend.

Grace introduced me to the ASQ Community ‘Good Works’ program, with which she was actively involved. The initiative is aimed at stimulating the use of quality practices in the improvement of our communities. At the time, our section utilized the Good Works program to partner with a local government agency and the University of Florida Industrial Engineering program to engage in a collaborative Lean Six Sigma project. The project was very successful and resulted in a number of team members sitting for the ASQ Certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt exams.

The position that I am in today did not exist when I became involved in Lean Six Sigma work. While the formal position did not yet exist, I continued to employ my skills, which later placed me in a position to be able to take the initiative and develop a job description which evolved into the role I am in now. It has been a wonderful and exciting journey to be part of the creation of process improvement in a large, fast-paced organization.

Do you want to share your story with PEX Network? If you work in process improvement we'd love to hear what your day is like! "A Day in the Life" submissions should be between 700-1000 words and can be sent to us at info@pexnetwork.com. Please include a brief professional biography, and a jpeg photograph. Please note: submission does not guarantee publication.