The initial setps of the six sigma problem solving methodology is the Define step. The adage of properly defining the problem is the most important part of solving the problem is central to six sigma or any project solving or project management system.
THE PROJECT CHARTER
A critical element in the establishment of an improvement team is the development and acceptance of a project charter. A charter is a written document that defines the team’s msision, scope of operation, objectives, time frames, and consequences. Charters can be developed by top management or teams can prepare them and present them to management. In either case, it is critical to gain buy in from management and from the teams and employees.
The teams need direction, support and the autorization to spend time and money on the project. Management needs to have the enthusiastic involvement from the employees to make the project successful.
HOW LONG OR COMPLEX DOES A CHARTER NEED TO BE?
This depends upon the size, complexity and importance of the project. For simple projects the charter can be simpler. For large, complex and important projects and ones that involve many areas or departments a more rigerous and detailed charter will be called for. A short project charter is just as valuable as a long and complex one.
WHAT SHOULD A CHARTER CONTAIN?
Any project charter should contain the following elements.
Business case-the financial impact of doing or not doing.
Problem statement-what is the core issue or problem to solve.
Project scope-what are the boundaries, what is not included in the project can be as important as what is included.
Goal statement-how you know you are successful or not.
Milestones-critical steps along the way.
Deliverables-what are the specific end products of the project.
Resources required-what do you need to be successful.
The charter begins with a purpose statement. This is a simple, one or two line statement explaining why the team or project is being formed. The statement should align with and support the organization’s vision and mission.
DEFINING THE OBJECTIVES
The charter should also identify the objectives the team is to acheive. The objectives should be stated in measurable terms and the operations scope should be clarified. A good charter can help the team to:
Be aware of the project goals and boundaries.
Help the team stay focused on the original goals.
Help the team work on projects that align with the organization’s goals.
Allow the team champion to suppor the team goals and effots.
WHAT A GOOD CHARTER DOES
Defines the boudaries.
Indetifies areas which should not be addressed.
Identifies the deliverable product.
Provides a basis for team goal sharing.
Authorizes the team to collect relevant data.
Provides access to necessary resources.
Approves time for team members to address problems.