The Five Kinds of Six Sigma Projects: Process Design

Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Consulting, Practitioner, Professional, Project, Process Design

Among the thousands of certified Six Sigma professionals currently practicing in industry, many have experience within multiple projects. These projects, as a result, determine how well-versed, experienced, and competent a professional is. How they choose to manage a Six Sigma project, how they meet deadlines, and how they review processes can greatly impact their chances of promotions in the future. However, more importantly, is the type of project a Six Sigma professional works on. Some projects require a simple resolution to the problem. Others may need a more thorough analysis of the issue at hand. Whereas, remaining projects may request completely new processes. In industry, we refer to these types of projects as Process Design. In today’s article, we will look at Process Design projects, what they are, and why you should be working on one now! 

What is ‘Process Design’?

Simply put, a Process Design project requires the creation of an entirely new process. The previous project types of Quick Win and Process Improvement that work to resolve errors within specific processes. Whereas, with Process Design projects, team members will build a completely new channel altogether. The motive behind creating a new process can vary and typically will answer a multitude of defects. Likewise, Process Design projects are also commonly referred to as DFSS, or Design For Six Sigma. Where other projects utilize the DMAIC methodology, DFSS uses DMADV. In more detail, this acronym stands for ‘Define’, ‘Measure’, ‘Analyze’, ‘Design’, and ‘Verify’. Although a slight modification from DMAIC, DMADV uses similar criteria to create a new process that not only reduces the chances of errors but also focuses on the needs of the clients and customers.

Why Use a Process Design Project?

Why corporations and employers choose to implement a Process Design project greatly depends on their needs. Reasons may include creating a new business process, replacing an existing one, or improving production and manufacturing of products. Additionally, consulting firms may assist in Process Design projects for things such as software rollouts, corporate culture change, or other deployments. However, one of the best reasons to use a Process Design project is to resolve an issue current processes cannot. Because these processes have not yet been created, employers have the opportunity to build from the ground-up, answering the needs of their employees, customers, and others involved.

Another key reason for using Process Design projects is the ability to simulate the new process before using it. While a project manager may have an idea for a new process, its exact performance can be difficult to assess without adequate information. With DFSS projects, new business processes can be simulated and compared to existing infrastructure. This helps determine the need for modified or revamped processes. 

Who Works on Process Design Projects?

Although most Six Sigma projects follow guidelines for who works on and manage certain projects, Process Designs can vary. Since these projects tend to the specific needs of employers and companies, who manages them and ensures their success may differ across the board. However, we recommend that project managers are at least Six Sigma Black Belt certified before partaking in a Process Design project. The reason behind this is the need for organization and due diligence for designing and implementing an entirely new process. Less experienced Six Sigma professionals may not understand the risks involved with creating a process from the ground up.