I recently came across an article published in the MIT Sloan business Review entitled "Where Process-Improvement Projects Go Wrong" and I was thrilled to see that this article - an academic study based on data gleaned through investigation and survey - basically confirms the information noted in the book.
The article makes a number of recommendations which I believe are absolutely spot on in terms of my experience. Amongst them are two that I want to bring to your attention:
- Performance appraisals need to be tied to successful implementation of improvement projects.
- Executives need to directly participate in improvement projects, not just “support” them.
These two particular recommendations link into the recommendations I make in the book about assigning someone to be responsible for the process ownership and having senior management buy-in. The article actually goes a step further than I do regarding 'buy-in' by recommending that the executives not only need to support this across the organisation but need to physically be involved in the project itself - another recommendation I fully endorse.
The article itself is well worth a read as it discusses the concept of a project being like a spring:
". . when confronted with increasing stress over time, these programs react in much the same way a metal spring does when it is pulled with increasing force—that is, they progress though “stretching” and “yielding” phases before failing entirely. In engineering, this is known as the “stress-strain curve,” and the length of each stage varies widely by material."
They also quote some statistics which are frightening in themselves but not really surprising: "Recent studies, for example, suggest that nearly 60% of all corporate Six Sigma initiatives fail to yield the desire results." This is worrying considering the amount of money and effort that large corporations are 'wasting' on these Six Sigma efforts.
I fully recommend reading this article - even if for no other reason than to understand that Six Sigma is merely a tool to help solve problems rather than a solution in itself
Let me know if it throws up any blinding 'Ah ha's for you. If you would like a copy of the book then please click the link below.
Any process blogger who would like a free copy of the book for a published review on their blog please contact me to discuss or leave a comment
Reminder: 'The Perfect Process Project Second Edition' is now available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you.
Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.
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