Key Components of a Six Sigma Deployment

Abhash Chandra
Posted: 05/27/2010


Six Sigma deployments can be one of the most daunting but exciting initiatives ever undertaken by an organization. A well thought-out Six Sigma deployment initiative can reenergize the entire organization and help achieve breakthrough results. On the other hand, an inefficient Six Sigma deployment can have a demoralizing effect on key stakeholders across the entire organization.

Some of the key concerns sounded about Six Sigma deployments are:

  • Where to start and end the Six Sigma deployment
  • Whether to opt for a big-bang or phased approach for the Six Sigma deployment
  • How to track the progress of a Six Sigma program
  • How to track the financial benefits of the Six Sigma program
  • How to achieve customer centricity in key processes through Six Sigma deployment
  • How to achieve world class results and continuously improve them
  • How to cut operational costs of Six Sigma deployment to enable greater acceptance

The key to a successful deployment of Six Sigma is to identify key components of the successful deployment framework. The key components identified should:

  • Link organizational goals to Six Sigma deployment results
  • Be customizable to suit the needs of different businesses and groups
  • Focus on sustenance of Six Sigma in the organization
  • Provide tailoring facility to suit diverse needs and provide multiple channels of delivery
  • Speak a common language and create competencies across the organization

Key Components

Described below are some of the key components of a Six Sigma deployment that can help create the right infrastructure and environment for success.

Strategy and Planning: A sound Six Sigma strategy and planning helps align Six Sigma program goals to organizational mission and vision. Devising a sound Six Sigma strategy and planning also enables the creation of a deployment plan, setting up of infrastructure for the Six Sigma deployment, and the creation of a mechanism for ensuring management oversight and course correction, if required.

Listed below are the key benefits of devising a sound strategy and planning:

  • Involvement of key stakeholders and senior management support
  • Tailoring of the Six Sigma initiative to meet organizational goals and objectives
  • Identification of the actions required to achieve short-term and long-term Six Sigma benefits
  • Creation of a structured approach to enable organizational transformation
  • Effective and efficient management of the Six Sigma initiative

Learning and Development: Learning and development helps the organization to educate their associates on the Six Sigma philosophy and improve the Six Sigma DNA within the organization. Six Sigma is a way of life and it requires continuous nurturing and support to retain the enthusiasm for implementing such a way of life within the organization. Learning and development also helps sustain and sharpen Six Sigma application.

Listed below are the key benefits of Six Sigma-centric learning and development measures:

  • Increase in the depth of Six Sigma knowledge
  • Enhanced awareness of Six Sigma within the leadership teams
  • Creation of a learning culture within the organization
  • Enhanced ability for comprehension and analytical levels of the work force

Project Assessment and Selection: Project assessment and selection activities constitute two of the most significant components of any Six Sigma deployment program. These activities help identify and prioritize Six Sigma projects based on an organization’s long-term and short-term goals. Selecting the wrong project for Six Sigma application is a recipe for disaster and can cause a derailment of the entire Six Sigma program. Project assessment and selection should ensure that the selected Six Sigma project is aligned to business, financial, customer, and process improvement goals.

Key benefits of an accurate project assessment and selection are listed below:

  • Ensures that the right projects are selected as per organizational needs
  • Realizes successful project closure
  • Affords better progress of Six Sigma projects
  • Ensures enhanced support from key stakeholders

Project Execution and Coaching Support: Project execution and coaching support lend the necessary support to the Green Belts and Black Belts executing Six Sigma projects and enables the execution of process improvement projects of strategic importance to the organization. Key activities include the review of Six Sigma project deliverables, sign-off on project tollgates, and the achievement of breakthrough improvement in key business processes of the organization. Coaching support is one of the most critical components of a Six Sigma deployment program and it helps achieve a timely implementation and closure of the Six Sigma project. Many Six Sigma programs are often plagued by project delays; an effective coaching support will help overcome such hindrances in the Six Sigma project life cycle.

Key benefits of project execution and coaching support are listed below:

  • Improved ability to assess the voice of customers, voice of the business, and voice of the process
  • Improved project closure rate and motivated work force
  • Reduced cycle time to achieve process improvements
  • Achieve best in class process improvements

Information Management: Information management establishes a structure for project governance, reporting, timely information dissemination, and knowledge management. Key activities include tracking, monitoring, and reporting of Six Sigma deployment progress, and facilitating review meetings between senior executives and Six Sigma program champions to track the progress of the deployment and knowledge management. Efficient information management enables organizations to obtain real-time data on the status of the Six Sigma initiative and aids in the timely incorporation of mid-course correction in the Six Sigma deployment strategy and plan. Many organizations fail to lend sufficient importance to the information management aspect and struggle to track the status of the overall progress of the Six Sigma deployment.

Key benefits of information management are listed below:

  • Improved tracking, monitoring, and reporting of Six Sigma progress in the organization
  • Quick accessibility to information
  • Efficient knowledge management
  • Improved reuse of best practices in the organization

Digitization and Enablers: Digitization and enablers represent the digitization of key Six Sigma-related processes, products, and groups to enable an efficient and smooth Six Sigma deployment within the organization. Classroom training and certifications may involve prohibitive costs and can pose logistical difficulties, especially when implemented in large organizations. This problem is only aggravated when dealing with global organizations. Granting online access to Six Sigma training helps train people on a large scale and can enable an uncomplicated tracking mechanism for the program. Six Sigma information portals enable information and knowledge dissemination in an extremely cost-effective manner. Digitization of the Six Sigma project workflow helps realize real-time tracking of the progress of Six Sigma projects, in addition to ensuring timely implementation of corrective action. Further, process mapping and data analysis tools can also contribute significantly in enabling Green and Black Belts to acquire new skills and facilitating quick closure of projects.

Key benefits of digitization and enablers are listed below:

  • Improves the speed of deployment
  • Lowers the cost of training and certification
  • Advances the learning experience of users
  • Improves the tracking and monitoring of Six Sigma projects


According due attention to the key components described assumes considerable significance in ensuring the success of a Six Sigma deployment. By ensuring support from senior management and lending attention to detail while addressing these components, the Six Sigma deployment team will yield successful results and guarantee a smooth Six Sigma journey.

Abhash Chandra
Posted: 05/27/2010


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