How can I implement a Six Sigma project in my new organization?

Greetings All,

I recently joined a new organization as a service assurance engineer and I noticed that across various units that provides services to my unit their processes are too ambiguous which leads to rework and delays across the department as a whole and they need to implement six sigma in the department to effectively reduce waste and rework.
Please, I will need experience from senior colleagues in ASQ as to where do I start from and how do I get the management involve to show why this will be beneficial to everyone.

Thank you all as I await feedback.

@Trish Borzon kindly assist as you always do.

12 Replies
Trish Borzon
1161 Posts

Happy to help….identify members who might be able to help 😀

@Michael Nichols , @Joseph Basala , @Duke Okes , @Grace Duffy , @Andre Kleyner, @Richard Maclin - can you provide your insights?

thank you!


Duke Okes
196 Posts

This is a question for which there are many possible questions and/or answers. I'll list a few from my perspective:

  • Are you the only person in the organization who sees/believes this? If so, why, and what could be done to expand the understanding (which might lead to wider interest in doing something about it).
  • How well does your own department/function/process work? It's always easier to identify flaws in areas other than our own. Should you consider looking internally first, and perhaps doing a ss project to improve it, providing a way to demonstrate the value?
  • How does the organization currently measure and improve performance? Do they not know how “poorly” some areas are, or do know but have different priorities? Is there a current methodology used for process improvement, and could you use it to gain the improvements you feel are needed (e.g., ss is just a label; same tools/techniques can be done without the baggage of a new bandwagon)?

Hi Solomon,

One item to first establish is if a project is needed. Does standard work just need to be established in the upstream departments? This may greatly resolve the issue. If not the issue, are the causes of the rework known? Do we need the technical skills of a Belt?

Once the need of a Six Sigma project is determined….

What is the impact to your department and to your customers? Quantifying this will support (or refute) the need for a project.

Joe Basala

Hi Solomon,

Since you're new to your org, I'm going to make the assumption that six sigma is not currently practiced. You might be tempted to ‘go it alone’ in your strive for change, but I've found that the single biggest factor in the success or failure of a Lean or Six Sigma implementation is management support. Not in a way that they give you permission to pursue the initiative, but they are an active evangelist of the implementation.

One of my biggest challenges is that many quality initiatives tend to run counter-intuitive to prevailing management methods, ensuring quality through the rigor of inspections being a big one. Having a manager to provide air support will smooth the road for you.

Another thing to consider is to enlist the help of interested parties around you. Often new folks with vision are seen as a threat to an established organization, as they threaten to upset the balance of the status quo. Avoid the temptation to be heavy-handed or forceful in your approach to Continuous Improvement.

If you have such a manager in mind, start with a specific, and small scale case. Solicit feedback from the front line workers, find out where the bureaucracy breaks down to the point that it impacts the ability to get work done (process workaround and hand-carrying are prime candidates). Collect data that quantifies the impact (we lose X minutes in conducting this specific NVA activity, ie the company is paying people to produce poor quality). Fixing this problem saves the company money, increases productivity, and makes people happy.

Start by solving these small problems and you will gain allies and credibility as you strive to deliver systemic impact.


First you need to identify the source of problems whether originating from internally or externally which causes ambiguity and delay .Think about what way to improve there are diverse ways for improvement

then you can present the case to management for further support

All you need a team

Good Morning Solomon and expert Contributors,

Here are my 2 cents.

I will suggest a two-prong strategy for the situation being faced here by Solomon.

Phase 1

  • First, perform the P-D-C-A (Plan Do Check Act) in conjunction by referring to reference books such as “Quality Tool Box” by Nancy R. Tague.
  • The book maps 148 Tools, requiring proper selection to your on-the-ground situation.
  • The idiom “walk the talk” for the benchmarking of Quality practices needs to be realized by mapping the present state of lean six sigma implementation, if any in the company.
  • This will help your Process Improvement Team to catch the low-hanging fruit.

Phase 2

  • List the possible 6 Ꝺ projects with your Process Improvement Team(s).
  • Estimate the bottom-line improvements.
  • Present to the Management for their approval and blessings.
  • Then use D-M-A-I-C (Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control).
  • Hit the ground running with the Process Improvement Team(s).

This is a proven approach I have practiced since 1997 in many companies such as General Motors/ Delphi Corporation plants in India, South Korea, Japan.

Wish you all the best Solomon.


Best Regards,
Girish Trehan

QMS Lead Auditor-independent contractor

Adjunct Professor, LSS and Quality

ASQ Education Chair Section 0402

If your focus is to reduce waste and rework. You should implement the use of Lean tools. these will be more effective than six sigma because it is used to reduce process variation. Learn use of lean tools from any book and start using this.

Jay Arthur
5 Posts

When to Use Lean and When to Use Six Sigma

If you have problems with sluggish delivery, use Value Stream Mapping or Spaghetti diagramming to identify preventable delays. Eliminate the delays.

If you have too many defects, mistakes and errors, do you have data about those defects? If so, use control charts, Pareto Charts and fishbones to pinpoint and fix the root causes. Otherwise, start collecting a checksheet of defects by date. Use that data to create the improvement project.

If you have too much variation, use control charts, histograms and fishbones to fix the root causes.

You don't need a big Six Sigma implementation, just start solving problems. Management will notice and a wider application will be an easier sell.

If you don't know how to use these tools, take my free Lean Six Sigma Yellowbelt training at

Hi Solomon,

Starting six Sigma in an organization would require some change management tools - ADKAR can be a useful one to apply in implementing six Sigma however I will start with the small kaizen approach where small teams are put together to identify simple solutions to existing problems and are rewarded and recognized, when the employees begin to see quick wins and results they become more inclined to taking a broader approach such as Six Sigma in this case. Also I find that basic trainings such as 8 wastes, 5S, standard work, leadership Gemba walks etc help drive the cultural transformatio that supports six Sigma implementation.

Hoping this helps.


Koyinsola O

Hi @Solomon Pueke ,

I'm may be late but, I'd like to share with you my insight:

  • My understanding is that you are new in the organization, thus get the support and the commitment of your manager/N+1 before implementing your project because the result depend on the quality of the solution and the acceptation of the organization/department. R = Q x A. I've already experimented this kind of situation and it's exhausting.
  • Then, you could describe the process by using the SIPOC diagram, identify the output and collect the voice of customer and the voice of business. What kind of variation did you observe about your output?
  • If there is an Availability gap: I recommend to use the LEAN approach and for any quality variation you can use the six sigma approach.

I hope that it could help you in your project.

With regards,


  1. First Remember to drop the jargon.
  2. Then do the project like you would if you were presenting to your previous MBB, then save that document for you. Or you can use it in the appendix of your deck. Present the story you have to tell not the tools.
  3. Remember that each phase has a purpose and what you need to present is the results of that purpose not the tool itself. For example the Pareto chart may tell you the most significant defects to focus on, or a hypothesis test may show a significant difference between two root causes. Put that in your appendix! Management wants to know the results you discovered. They don’t want someone teaching them about a P value.
  4. Once they see the success of your project they will want to know more and then you can show them how you got there.
  5. and remember to lose the jargon!

I echo all my friends comments here. One thing that I will chime in on is that change is a challenge. I also recommend spending time focusing on change management. As and Org psych guy I offer that you will need to look at what motivates the people you are trying to influence. If you have that then showing them the reasoning/rationale behind the need and outcomes will become a goal/vision vs. "another program "

Feel free to call on me if I can be of service