Reflections: 2 months later (Part I)
On my very first day at the Six Sigma (SS) class, two months ago, I wrote my first post about what I thought this theory is all about. At that point, I perceived Six Sigma as a powerful tool that in a mysterious way transforms its inputs into the desirable outputs, like the Fourier theory. And I proved to be completely wrong.
The Six Sigma theory is about change. Changing the process, changing people's mindset, changing the common practises, changing the managerial approach to problems. There are those who love change,
but the vast majority of people is hostile to whatever modifies their routine. The changes that SS introduces don't happen because employees are bored, like Snoopy, and they really want to do something different.
So the first step, before even starting to implement any new methodology, is to ensure that people are happy with it and that they perceive it as a way to improve. Also, the adequate training should be provided to them, so that they keep up with the new situation and they don't feel lost, like Sally
To the contrary, they should feel happy and confident with it and realize that they have to change because
Now that everyone is happy and familiar with what SS is all about, the time has come for the DMAIC structure to be implemented. And that is the point where I got surprised with this whole theory. DMAIC is not an ingenious invention like the Fourier theory, however it is extremely powerful and effective. Its usefulness does not derive from the fact that some genius came up with the idea that time can be transformed into frequency (Yes, I love Fourier ), but from the fact that it tries to approach the problem in an organised way by using this five-stage strategy. It requires deep understanding, clear goals for the future, some technical skills in order to apply the statistical models and the Taguchi Design of Experiments, but mainly it requires cooperation, reflection and learning. Learning from the mistakes, learning from the processes, learning from your collegues, learning from the improvements.
To me the most important lesson that I was taught from this module is that you don't have to know everything in order to face a problem. You just have to be able to understand the existing situation, organise your approach to the solution, discuss with other people, be open to feedback and new ways of doing things and appreciate everyone's contribution. And that is why I am happy to have chosen a SS-centrered dissertation, because I think that this theory makes you cultivate a mindset that is useful in improving not only the performance of an organisation but also the quality of your everyday life!