The motivation for writing this book was a disappointing realization over many years of training and mentoring Project Leaders that there are plenty of technical texts explaining the painful underlying statistics in Six Sigma and Lean Sigma, but there are hardly any books explaining what to do from a practical standpoint. There are proliferations of books explaining at a high level the overall concept of a project, but next to none that take the Project Leader through a project, step by step. There are a multitude of books explaining just enough on project tools to suck the reader into buying consulting time from the author to apply them, but none that leave the reader in a position of practical self-sufficiency. Most unfortunately of all, there are a whole host of books written by theorists who have never led a project to solve a business problem using the methodologies they espouse, but very few ever written by those who have actually applied this stuff.
The aim here is to be different. The hope is that I have provided a book that can be used practically day to day by Process Improvement Leaders (from any industry), Champions, and Consultants to guide them through how to solve as many different types of business problems as possible. It is certainly not meant to be a technical text to take the place of the statistical tomes that are readily available—I’ll reference as many of those as I can along the way. By analogy, this is how to drive the car, not how the car works. In a field as passionate as Lean Sigma, I’m sure there will be disagreement at times with the order of tools used, so please remember that this is a guide—not the definitive solution.
I also hasten to add at this point that I don’t favor Lean over Six Sigma or vice versa. Let’s face it—we need them both, and by the end of this book, I probably will have offended both camps equally. The text is most certainly not for purists; it’s just about an approach that works.