Lean Six Sigma for Project Management -

Lean Six Sigma for Project Management

By Jamie Spagner, PMP, CSM, LSSGB

As an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, I currently work as a Project Manager within a California public health care agency. As someone certified as Project Management Professional (PMP), I decided to take the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) course at the KAIP Academy because it is complementary to the role of a PMP. More importantly, it is complementary to Agile, which is used the organization I support.

In my career as a consultant, I am always looking for ways to add more business value to the customer, and I was very interested in learning how LSS could help me deliver that value in my day to day work. I signed up for the Lean Six Sigma course at The Academy because I had heard that it was well instructed and the curriculum easy to follow.

The instructor, Ashley Christman, a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, very effectively broke the course down into streamlined components where I could easily see where I was adding value to the business, not just what I was implementing. She had us participate in experiential activities, which has allowed me to take those learnings and start using them immediately in my work. A couple of examples included using beads to see how collaboration can increase customer satisfaction, and building paper airplanes, which taught us how to better measure quality.

Project Management gets you from start to finish–you’re driving to a finish line. But, when you incorporate LSS methodology, you start to focus on improvement, as well, and identifying how you can apply more business value to the customer as you move through the project. Specifically, Lean Six Sigma gives you the tools to help you identify where you can get value and show measurable progress and improvement showing quantitative data.

Experts tell us that it won’t be the product or service that will delight your customer and keep them coming back. It’s customer satisfaction—how the product or service makes them feel. LSS methodology allows you to spend more time identifying the voice of the customer and their true requirements because it is focused on driving out waste and gaining efficiency—in the end, giving you more time to spend with your customer.

One of my favorite learnings from the course is something very simple, but extremely effective—the “5 Whys” to show measurements of business value. This helps you identify the root cause of a defect or problem by repeating the question “Why?” Each answer forms the basis of the next question, until you get to that root cause. So simple, but delivers high dividends.

Four days in a room can seem like an eternity if you’re simply sitting and listening to lectures. Ashley’s Lean Six Sigma course at the KAIP Academy was engaging, thought provoking, highly enlightening, and fun too. I recommend this course to anyone who is looking for an effective (and fun) way to increase customer satisfaction, efficiency, and value to their business.

Interested in taking the KAIP Academy’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course? Check our Eventbrite page for a complete listing of our course roster. We hope to see you at the KAIP Academy soon!

About the Author: Jamie Spagner is an Executive Consultant for KAI Partners, where she works as a Project Manager for a public sector health care client. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with the Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies/Public Relation. She is a loving mother of a teenage son named Wyatt. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, spending time with family/close friends, and working out.

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