Natural Selection

Abstract:To be effective, Six Sigma must evolve much as a biological species does. An example can be found in an airline manufacturing company that acquired two divisions with very different levels of experience with improvement. In the division with no improvement experience, the improvement expert took up slack where the improvement team’s skills could not perform necessary quality tasks; when the expert moved on to another project, the inexperienced team struggled to implement the expert’s initial strategy and did not change it as the situation deteriorated. In the division with previous lean experience, an improvement team already existed, the improvement expert remained available for consultation, and multiple improvement teams continued to implement change as time progressed. Team dynamics, the level of ongoing input from the improvement expert, and the mix of tools used all have an impact on the sustainability of a Six Sigma …

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It is worth noting that the examples of evolution provided here are ones where there is no new information provided, and it is also worth noting that in an ordinary organization, the "species" only advances through intelligent design--if the process is left to itself, it inevitably declines.

And as quality engineers, we rely on this for our jobs--if organizations could truly "evolve" to be better, we'd all be getting our pink slips today.
--Robert Perry, 09-22-2015


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