How I use Lean Six Sigma and Agile together for Project Success -

How I use Lean Six Sigma and Agile together for Project Success

By Denise Larcade, CSM, LSSGB, Prosci

I recently had the opportunity to take the KAIP Academy’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification course with instructor (and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt) Ashley Christman.

As an organizational change management consultant with KAI Partners, my current project involves supporting the standing up and operationalizing of a Project Management Office for one of our public sector clients.

Going into the Green Belt course, I did have some knowledge of Lean Six Sigma. Several years ago, I was responsible for developing implementation and training to support operations of Lean Six Sigma projects. At the time, I was too busy to take a Lean Six Sigma course myself, so instead I learned what I could through whatever resources were available.

Knowing some of the principles of Lean Six Sigma from my previous work, I was excited to take the KAIP Academy’s Green Belt course and expand on my knowledge of the methodology.

I can’t give away the surprise because it’s too fun to ruin for those who might take the course, but one of the activities in the Lean Six Sigma course allowed us to work at a team, identify our problem, attempt to solve the problem, and refine our work! What you can learn from the activities make it totally relatable to solving problems in your work life as well as your personal life.

In my current role, I typically use the agile approach, but there are times when agile doesn’t do it all. Since taking the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course, I’ve found that sometimes one methodology is a better fit or provides a greater need over the other. I’ve even had opportunities to use both together to gain the best possible outcome on a project.

For example, the Lean Six Sigma’s DMAIC (Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control) approach is great for identifying a problem. The Lean Six Sigma training provided DMAIC knowledge and the skills needed to identify the root of the problem and help the stakeholder understand the big picture.

I have found that stakeholders are more likely to support a change if I can provide details that clearly identify the root cause of a problem. Once this is achieved, then I can leverage agile to facilitate the work breakdown structure and the timeframe by which to support the work effort, including meeting goals and objectives to solve the problem.

What I have found is that when the customer is in denial that a problem exists, DMAIC is a perfect solution to support the facts and details necessary to initiate a change. Framing DMAIC with agile and can help a project focus its goals and achieve a timely outcome.

I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to understand problem solving or make current processes more efficient. The course starts at a basic level and teaches skills along the way!

Interested in taking KAIP Academy’s next Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course? Sign up for our Lean Six Sigma (and ScrumMaster!) courses here.

About the Author: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to one of KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

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