Interrelationship Digraph: PART TWO

In this part of “Interrelationship Digraph: Demystifying Complex Relationships” video I explain how we can use the Interrelationship Matrix to reflect results of the Interrelationship Digraph. I also show how we can construct this matrix using Microsoft Office Excel through Conditional Formatting and the COUNTIF function.

Interrelationship Digraph: PART ONE

Interrelationship Digraph or Relations Diagram is one of the seven Management and Planning Tools that helps us analyze the cause-and-effect relationships among different issues in a complex situation. It also helps us focus on vital few issues with highest priorities which makes this tool echo Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule in concept.

In this part of “Interrelationship Digraph: Demystifying Complex Relationships” video I explain the tool, its uses, and how to construct it using Microsoft Office Visio.

Prioritization Matrix: Objectivity in Decision Making

Prioritization Matrix is a decision making tool and is one of the seven management and planning tools used in Six Sigma and Quality Management in general. It is used to determine the best option to select amongst several ones based on specific criteria using numerical values.

Watch this video to know how to create the Prioritization Matrix with Microsoft Office Excel.

Creating Pareto Chart in Microsoft Office Excel

During the Define step of a Six Sigma project the project team needs to identify the problem or the opportunity that the project is intended to solve. Usually, there would be more than one potential problem that can be addressed in a Six Sigma project; however, not all of them would have significant improvement. So, the project team needs to filter out those problems that if resolved will result in huge improvement and positive impact on the bottom line, and this is what Pareto analysis is used for. 

Watch this video to know more about using Microsoft Office Excel to create a Pareto chart in a Six Sigma project.

Organizational Culture: a Six Sigma success driver

Joyce Wycoff in his book “Transformation Thinking” says:

‘When an organization commits to creating an environment which stimulates the growth of everyone in the organization, amazing things start to happen: ideas pop up everywhere, people start to work together instead of “playing politics”; new opportunities appear; customers begin to notice service and attitude improvements; collections of individuals begin to coalesce into teams’.

It is a prevalent practice in organizations that start Six Sigma initiatives to employ specialist Black Belts (BB) and Green Belts (GB) to manage the improvement process of the organization’s operations. While it is a good practice to adopt, it is not the most efficient and effective. Outside BB and GB individuals are expensive and will yield shorter-term benefits than if Six Sigma culture is instilled in the workforce itself responsible for the process under improvement.

The optimum approach to nurture Six Sigma in an organization is to consider all employees as potential Green Belts then select few to receive advanced training and become Black Belts. Most of employees are capable to be Green Belts. The goal should be to train them in three main areas: problem-solving techniques, continuous improvement models, and interpersonal and team building skills. Black Belts then can be selected and trained on further advanced statistical tools and techniques with more emphasis on team building, conflict resolution, coaching and mentoring skills so that they can guide the rest of employees to achieve their optimum performance.

Motorola proved this concept when it discovered that most of cost savings, process improvement, and higher customer satisfaction came from the direct labor working on the process. Those people are the best to know the process and its areas to improve. They know what impedes achieving excellence, and only by training them on problem-solving and improvement techniques they excel in achieving breakthrough yields and highly capable processes.

Employee involvement is essential in any successful Six Sigma project. Sense of responsibility and accountability by an employee is magnified when he/she is involved in defining the problem, measuring the process, analyzing root causes, and contributing to the selection of best solution to implement. By this the organization will get the one-million-dollar worth jewel of ‘employee Buy-In’.

As Alan Larson mentions in his book ‘Demystifying Six Sigma’, “something magical happens when employees become more experienced and effective with Six Sigma tools and the results come rolling in…you can feel human energy, like static electricity, in the air”.

By infusing six sigma skills throughout the entire organization you will develop a continuous improvement culture in which all employees are involved towards achieving customer satisfaction within the frame of collaborative focus led by the organization executives; this is the concept behind Total Quality Management (TQM). So, if you are thinking to improve your organizational performance, and I am sure everybody is, start by thinking out your strategy to instill the culture of continuous improvement among employees by training and by allowing those savior specialists to emerge from your company instead of paying thousands to acquire external professionals who are ‘foreigners’ to your processes and to your workforce which in turn may reduce the likelihood of your projects’ success. At the end of the day you are optimizing performance on employee as well as process levels and you increase the morale amongst your people.

NB Idea of this blog was inspired by Alan Larson book “Demystifying Six Sigma, A Company-Wide Approach to Continuous Improvement”