What is the definition of a Six Sigma Project?

Six Sigma is a method for reducing variation in manufacturing, service or other business processes. Six Sigma projects measure the cost benefit of improving processes that are producing substandard products or services. Whether in manufacturing or service industries, such projects quantify the effect of process changes on delays or rework. The goal of each successful Six Sigma project is to produce statistically significant improvements in a process: Over time, multiple Six Sigma projects produce virtually defect-free performance.

The Six Sigma Black Belt project is one that uses appropriate tools within a Six Sigma approach to produce breakthrough performance and real financial benefit to an operating business or company.

The tools are generic. It is the structure of the project and the associated process (improvement model) that distinguish a Black Belt project from other similar quality improvement projects. Financial impact as an outcome is also a requirement within a Black Belt project when compared to other projects.

The following examples are not all-inclusive, but will provide examples of acceptable and unacceptable projects.

Examples of projects that qualify:

  • Manufacturing product defect reduction.
  • Human resources recruitment cycle time reduction.
  • Reduced accounts payable invoice processing costs.
  • Reduced Manufacturing machine setup time.

Projects that do not qualify:

  • Prepackaged or classroom exercise that are mock, or simulated projects that were previously completed and/or that do not include actual “hands on” work.
  • No real organization or business unit; no current problem or cost benefit.
  • Basic product improvement projects not associated with process improvements.
  • Software maintenance or remediation without detailed process measurements.
  • Any project without measured before-and-after cost benefits.