Six Sigma Team Dynamics

A surprising number of projects begin without considering the human resource aspect in mind. If a Six Sigma project were to be initiated without a project charter or without an explicit data collection plan, it would be considered lunatic behaviour. However, the same cannot be said about the Six Sigma team. Countless Project leads have been under the impression that they can make a Six Sigma team work without any special efforts. However, this is as far away from the truth as it can get.

Of late, there has been widespread consensus the Project Leads that pay more attention to the softer communication aspects of the Six Sigma Team are capable of achieving much more than their counterparts.

Achieving Buy-In From the Team

Six Sigma projects are largely human dependant. Ironical, as it may sound, Six Sigma projects depend on the expertise of a small group of individuals to make the organization process oriented. As it can be seen from most of the tools like root cause analysis, FMEA etc, the participants decide the quality of the solution.

The participants also have to work over and above their normal routine to make this project a success. It is therefore essential for a Project Lead to achieve buy in with their team. Only when every member of the Project Team are committed to achieve the outcome, will they outperform the targets set for them.

Achieve Buy In From the Stakeholders

Many Project Leads have the myopic tendency to look at Project Teams as the members that are directly involved in the project. While this is true formally, but the reality is that the team requires co-operation and input from a wide variety of outside stakeholders to succeed.

Project Leads that have a track record of success are known to list down every possible stakeholder, analyse their bargaining power and create a buy in from them as well.

Avoid Politicising: A Project Lead must understand that the fact that a Six Sigma project is being initiated on a particular process can make the process owner insecure. They might be afraid of being perceived as inadequate or incompetent. It is for this reason that politics appears on the scene. There have been incidences where people from within the team have sabotaged the Six Sigma efforts.

As a Project Lead, the solution to this can be communication. The Project lead must ensure that the people that ran the process earlier made active contributions to the improvement project and that their contributions are publically recognized. This will help overcome the insecurity and move towards the goal as a cohesive team.

Reward Every Success: Till the Six Sigma objectives are achieved, there are no major monetary rewards for the team involved. The Project Lead must however ensure that the team has high morale. They must therefore negotiate with the Project Champion and higher management to get rewards and recognitions for their team for every milestone that is achieved in the process.


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