Transforming to a Lean Six Sigma for service organization requires a team effort to define and develop alternative process solutions. Putting together an effective team, however, is not a simple matter of assembling people in a room. Any team must possess the skills to adequately assess sources of waste and possible solutions, as well as the ability to function as a unified entity. Important issues to consider when assembling a team include its structure, composition, member selection process and size.
Considering Team Structure
A team’s structure should extend beyond the members focused on defining a Lean Six Sigma solution. In order for the team to be positioned for success, resources must be available to them that can make their solutions workable. New process solutions, for example, may require special funding or administrative approval. For this reason, the team must have access to relevant business leaders within the organization who can provide guidance and remove any bureaucratic road blocks. Further, the team may require the input of subject-matter experts within the organization. These experts should be available to supplement the team’s knowledge on an as-needed basis.
An effective team should include a mixture of skills representing any departments with a vested interest in or knowledge of a particular process. In this way, the team possesses the resources to develop more realistic solutions that meet an organization’s needs.
Ideally, a team should include a cross-section of the organization so that a variety of perspectives are brought to the table. Team composition should include:
- employees directly involved with and knowledgeable of the existing process.
- employees that use the process but also interact closely with customers
- employees with technical expertise or specialized knowledge
- objective employees or consultants not directly involved with the process
- customers or suppliers affected by the process
- employees completely unfamiliar with the process.
Team Member Selection
Even if all of the previously listed criteria for an ideal team composition are met, it is critical that all team members possess the ability to work and contribute to the group. Teams whose members lack this ability are destined for delays and discord before even getting started.
The most attractive candidates for a team should be:
- creative thinkers
- open to different perspectives and approaches
- strong interpersonal skills
- established rapport with peers