Champions play a vital role in any Lean Six Sigma project. From start to finish the Champion is responsible for aligning improvement with the wider business goals and smoothing the way to ensure everything goes to plan.
However, it is a widely misunderstood role, and Champions themselves can be unaware of just how integral their input is. Failure to understand this means that Belts can lack the support or guidance they need and projects may not be completed as quickly as they could be.
So what can you do to be a better Champion?
Get an understanding of LSS
Although the trained Belts may have the expertise, Champions still need to have a good working knowledge of Lean Six Sigma and how it can benefit their business objectives. We think it’s so important that we offer specialist Champion training to complement Green and Black Belt training.
Understanding the basics mean you are better placed to select the right projects. This means projects are closely aligned with the wider company objectives and will have a meaningful impact. The projects should be large enough that they need the expertise of a Green or Black Belt is as necessary, but not so complex that it prevents a timely conclusion.
Taking on the extra responsibility of championing a Lean Six Sigma project can add additional time pressures to an already tight schedule. Unlike Belts, Champions and Process Owners are not always given specific time to dedicate to managing the project.
However, it is important to provide the Belts with the support they need. This means insisting on regular meetings with the Process Owners and Belts to ensure progress is being made. At the very least it is essential to hold gate reviews with all interested parties.
Smooth the way
There are sometimes occasions with Lean Six Sigma projects when it is difficult to get the support of personnel or other company functions. The Champion’s responsibility in this situation is to literally champion the cause. Well-chosen projects will advance the company goals, so the organisation – and everyone in it – should see the benefits.
Champions are well placed to use their influence within the company to convince sceptics about the benefits of adopting a Lean Six Sigma solution, and illustrate why the DMAIC methodology works to identify the best way forward.
Being a Champion is an often under-valued position, but with the right training and recognition, they can play a vital role in improving the success of Lean Six Sigma projects.
If you would like to discuss the role of a Champion, or any aspect of managing Lean Six Sigma projects in more detail, then please get in touch.