What are Six Sigma project types? – how to use them?

What kind of project types exists? When to use them? What tools, or process to be followed in each of them? Templates available for free for each Lean Six Sigma project type.

This article covers:

  • Six sigma projects
  • Continous improvement
  • Quick wins
  • Process improvement – DMAIC model
  • New Process design – DMADV model
  • Improving Value Stream – VST model
  • Infrastructure implementation
  • Six Sigma is easy

Hot news, folks. In order to help you as much as I can in your improvement efforts, I have launched non-binding consultation program. I would like to help you with:

  • Lean culture implementation in your organization
  • Six Sigma projects consultations
  • Lean Six Sigma trainings and certifications support
  • Project management theory turn into practical usage
  • Your career planning

First 30 minutes of consultation for free, every additional 1 hour 10 USD.

Six sigma projects

There are several project types available in lean six sigma methodology. Let´s review each method one by one. By the end of this article, you will understand when, and how to use each of these methods. Template with each section description is available under for each project type. Use it, share it.

Lean Six Sigma project types with brief description

You can download project types table on the link below.

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

22 six sigma green belt certification prices review – read here

Continous improvement

Continuous improvement is an approach to be a little better every day. It is Ceaseless and endless work on habits, processes, knowledge, or any human activity. We do incremental steps to reach desired excellence state.

Continuous improvement time elapse

The best continuous improvement tools – read here

You may ask, why we should be trying every day to reach excellence? Answer is: To make life or work environment easier, safer, faster and in the end, to earn more money with less effort.

The most important step in this method is involving as largest as possible part of organization on improvements. Larger group, more opportunities identified, more on hands. And faster progress to the desired state.

Great tool supporting continuous improvement in the organization, is continuous improvement board. It is a Kanban for improving ideas.

CI board function is Kanban for improving ideas.

People submits ideas via cards. The one who submits idea is called initiator. He ideally describes his solution vision. Important is that idea is reviewed with team affected by possible change. Idea is then assigned to owner. It can be engineer, maintenance person, production member, or initiator him self. Initiator and owner will agree on solution and estimates due date. And they follow up, until solution implementation. Solution can be presented to supervision to be recognized.

DMAIC example – fast food restaurant improvement – read here

5 six sigma projects ideas – not just for beginners

Download 8 wastes of lean

It is great to have waste types on paper with you during Gemba. Download it, use it, and share it.

8 deadly wastes of lean

And here is promised link:

Quick wins

Quick win is fast solution for easy problem. They are first changes to be implemented. It can show a commitment of the project team to improve. Idea behind this is – to work easier as fast as possible. It builds positive problem solving environment.

Quick wins requires no, or very limited investment. Small team involved, and implementation within few days, or weeks.

These fast changes are signs of lean culture being well implemented.

erik from six sigma mania

Let me share you some advices for lean culture implementation:

  • Build positive atmosphere for improvements.
  • Encourage team members often, to work on their processes.
  • Challenge people to deliver at least 2 to 3 ideas during a year.
  • Show commitment and generate your improving ideas.
  • Lead by example.
Quick wins helps with lean culture implementation

Quick wins ideas can be submitted verbally, but it is still good to have some tracking. CI board can be a good tool. I also use task lists, to track ideas during the project. Team identifies quick wins and address it as a highest priority.

Non-value added activities in the office? – read here

Green belt / Black belt project selection – calculator

I recommend you testing project idea on project calculator, I have developed based on my training experiences. It will help you to determine, how demanding leading project will be for you.

This is how my calculator looks like

Selection tool downolad

You can download selection tool on the link below:

Process improvement – DMAIC model

Process improvement is required if failing, or malfunctioning process. Signs of failing process can be:

  • Not satisfied customer, or following process step.
  • High quality escapes, growing discrepancy rate.
  • Late deliveries to committed date.
  • Slowly moving parts or information between work cells or departments.
  • Process accompanied by high costs.
  • Slow growth or stagnation.

Important is, that problem is unknown, as well as solution.

DMAIC model is a robust process improving method

Six sigma DMAIC method is a robust method used for process improvements.

Define, measure, analyze, improve, and control are its phases. Each phase has set of tools. It is larger group effort to improve current state by understanding it. Improvements are targeted based on data analysis. It improves repeatability by reducing variations.

There is available tool list I have developed during years for DMAIC projects. Not all too are required to be used all the time.

DMAIC tool list (tollgate) – download for free

DMAIC in manufacturing example – read here

New Process design

DMADV, sometimes called DMEDI helps with developing new, not existing processes.

DMADV acronym stands for Define, measure, analyze, design or develop, verify or validate. DMEDI stands for Define, measure, explore, develop, implement. 5 main phases, two different acronyms, but the same method. DMADV acronym is globally more preferred, so I will use it too.

DMADV/ DMEDI is a robust process creating method

As the same as DMAIC, DMADV is a set of tools. You can develop any new process, design new feature, product, or build a new service. You do it by exploring each phase, by using tools one by one, in the order I will share in a minute.

DMADV project example in supply chain – read here

Each phase is very important to go through and finish it. But not all tools are necessary to be used all the time. DMADV should be a team effort. The structure of the project team is the same as on improving projects. There is a project leader, project sponsor, project team, stakeholders, process owner. Each team member has specific and important role.

There is available tool list I have developed during years for DMADV projects.

DMADV tool list

DMADV tool list (tollgate) – download for free

How to do brainstorming? – training video

Improving Value Stream

Value stream transformation , VST is a method that will help reach desired state faster.

Faster process excellence reaching by Value Stream Transformation

Key tool here is value stream mapping. Value stream is all the actions required to bring a product through all required processes.

  1. From raw material to customer in the case of products
  2. From concept to launch in the case of design

Value stream map helps to understand connections between value stream single processes, visualize material and information flow through those processes and how they are linked together.

To improve value stream function is not an easy task. It can take several months to pass through improvement steps.

To improve valuestream fast is a little challenging task, But it is doable

It requires good method to be followed, experienced project leader, dedicated team effort, and about 6 to 9 months of work. But the result it worth it. Value just flows through value stream.

This is the list / method I follow on my value stream transformation projects. Yes, it is little challenging, but, it is doable.

This is my Value Stream Improvement check list

How to do Value stream mapping? – read here

There are 4 phases. Stabilize, Flow, Pull, and Level. Each phase have several steps and tools used. Understanding of current and future state is developed In the stabilize phase. Flow phase is mainly about machine and manpower capacities and balancing them. Pull phase is about scheduling products through value stream. Level phase helps with improvements standardization.

VST tool list – download for free

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

I strongly recommend to have Learning to See book and Mixed model Valuestream for all managers, for all supervisors, engineers and leaders. You will be able to understand how valuestream should work, how to make value flow, and implement lean in any business, any process. It is really worth it.

Learning to See – Creating Mixed Model – Guru Books

If you would like to buy “Learning to see” book by Mike Rother click on this affiliate marketing link: https://amzn.to/3nrgHsJ

f you would like to buy “Creating Mixed Model VS” book by Kevin J Duggan click on this affiliate marketing link: https://amzn.to/3ZteKta

I may receive a commission if you sign up through this link. This is not affecting final product prices.

Infrastructure implementation

Infrastructure implementation s iabout implementing measuring of KPI´s and developing documentation describing process.

Me personally, I have not used this project type ever. There was always some process improvement required. There will be always deviations between two people in the process, If there is no described documentation or measures to be captured. So, use DMAIC tool list when running infrastructure improvement. Decide, which of those tools can help you. It can be process mapping, value stream mapping and so on. But I would start with operational definition first, to understand what should be real process deliverables.

Infrastructure implementation- process to be described.

How to use Fish bone diagram? (+template) – read here

Six sigma is easy

Do not be scared of using these tools wrong way. It can be part of your learning curve, which is ok. Improve your skills by repeating, and using each tool over and over again.

Remember, if you improve process during your first projects by 60%, 40%, or even by 20% it is worth it. You can repeat improving initiative, and improve process next time a litter better. Just keep to have a fun.

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. I am uploading Six Sigma, Lean and Project oriented videos regurarly. So, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely Erik.

Six sigma project types – training video

Related Post

One thought on “What are Six Sigma project types? – how to use them?

Comments are closed.