In this article, Ronda Roberts explores three primary ways project managers can implement Six Sigma tracking techniques – utilizing a balanced scorecard, setting benchmarks, and project management software equipped with Six Sigma tracking.
The balanced scorecard monitors four key areas:
- financial performance
- customer knowledge
- internal business processes
- learning and growth
When used with Six Sigma, it can be a powerful tool for tracking the metrics of a project – both present performance and future, projected performance. Each employee will have his own scorecard with personal objectives that link to corporate strategy. Key parts of the balanced scorecard approach to Six Sigma tracking include:
- Carefully designed metrics
- Keeping in mind what is important to the customer
- Looking for opportunities
- and clearly defining success
By focusing on one single, measurable metric at a time, project managers can help rein in their goals utilizing this system.
Benchmarking tracks data to show what can be achieved. In order to utilize benchmarking to its fullest, an understanding of where the company stands and where it can be is necessary. This system focuses upon how and how much in tracking, rather than setting goals from the get-go.
Benchmarking requires some research as the best practice performance is measured. Once goals have been set and the company’s standing has been recognized, then a search for the best practices that yield the best results can be conducted. The emphasis with benchmarking is the process of application.
A company must first have clear objectives and scope. Naturally, those using Six Sigma will not find this part difficult because Six Sigma requires clear goal setting. Next, identify support, approach and partners. Third, research is conducted and distilled to the team. This research finds out what the best practices are and how to implement them. Finally, the ideas are selected, planned, and implemented.
Using Tracking Software
Many software programs are designed to assist project managers tracking needs.Three of these programs can work especially well with Six Sigma tracking techniques.MS Project has an interface that will work well with teams utilizing Six Sigma.The other two programs were built specifically for use with Six Sigma.The first of these two is TRACtion.This program allows a simplified over view and has one-page summaries.It has functions that will automatically assign Project Ideas to appropriate champions, log project events, and more.This program is an on-demand, web-based system.The second program specifically designed for Six Sigma is SixNet Intelligence System.This program is also web-based.It provides reporting based upon critical metrics, has clear roadmaps for projects, captures best practices, and links team members.