Why Don’t we Ever Finish Our Six Sigma Projects?


Most people are familiar with the phrase “the Cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

Sometimes you get so caught up in teaching the Lean and Six Sigma methodology that you forget that the methodology can improve the outcome of what you teach.

It is no myth that the most difficult “output” of any Lean and Six Sigma Implementation is actual consistent project closure.

We tend to get the train going when training new Green Belts, Black Belts, and Champions and then let them loose to slay their own dragons, often times with weapons that they don’t know how to use.

As MBB’s, we teach the methodology and help to implement; but we often fall into the trap that many college professors fall into. WE have an intimate knowledge of what we are teaching and we expect (often subconsciously) our budding belts to fill in the blanks.

We expect the potential belts to ask questions, but they often get so much information that they don’t even know how to formulate the questions.

This “input” leads to students that go back to work and either consistently communicate with a MBB to “fill in the blanks” to complete their projects. Either that or they go back to work, revert back to their “reactive” modes and the project is pushed off indefinitely. Thus, project closure becomes an issue.

Being a Lean and Six Sigma practitioner, I have developed an informal Six Sigma project from this “opportunity.” My “Y” is Project Closure Rate. My “X’s” include many aspects of each belt curriculum, tools, and project structure information.

What I have found so far is really a no-brainer. Belt students want education but still need structure.

I took the Voice of the Customer, and they said “we need help getting started.”

We provide that structure to our student in the form of the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Project Roadmap.

The roadmap includes:

  • Six Sigma Green Belt Project Tollgates (a detailed tollgate review for each of the stages of the DMAIC)
  • DMAIC Green Belt Project Flowchart that shows the basic flow of a Six Sigma Green Belt project
  • A PowerPoint Presentation explains in detail our (SSDSI’s) Six Sigma Green Belt Requirements
  • A PowerPoint Six Sigma Green Belt Project Template that can be used as a benchmark

With these tools, we have seen that our Project Closure Rate has increased significantly.

What does your organization have in place to increase Project Closure Rates?