Business Analysis applied to lean six sigma Projects selections

Currently, professionals have been certified in various methodologies, and professional organizations work hardly promoting those standards and methodologies in order to establish them as a reference for the market.

In the other hand, organizations have been debating about which approach to use and which ones of multiple tools to apply in order to choose and execute projects, that at the end of the day must add value to their businesses, and at the same time to let them to growth without so much bureaucracy.

In this paper I will focus in the consolidation of some best practices and synergies areas of two different methodologies in order to select Lean Six Sigma Projects based on elements defined by the PMI in the guide of “Business Analysis for Practitioners”.

First it is important to keep in mind the following definitions:

  • Lean Six Sigma Project: it is a Project focus in the voice of the customer, and that look for wastes elimination, processes cycle time reduction, and processes statistic control.

  • Business Analysis: (based on PMI proposal): approach which main objective is to quickly and efficiently add value with the effective administration of the available information.

DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control), integrate a series of steps and tools to identify improvement opportunities in the business based on “voice of the customer”, that is all of the key elements

that are relevant to the clients and at the end must add value to the business.

In the other hand, BA approach proposed by the PMI is based on the following phases:

a. Needs assessment: assessment of organization needs in terms of the problem or the improvement opportunity.

b. Planning: of all activities required for project analysis.

c. Requirements definitions and analysis: all activities required for continuous requirements assessment throughout the entire project.

d. Traceability and monitoring: all activities for requirements administration throughout the entire project.

e. Solution evaluation: all activities required for evaluation of the implemented solution of the solution to be implemented.

For the objective of this paper, only the “Needs Assessment” phase will be developed and integrated with specific tools that were selected from DMAIC methodology.

a. Needs assessment: initiates with problem or opportunity identification: evaluation of key stakeholders (there are excellent tools to perform this analysis at the PMBok), analyze and investigate the problem or opportunity, and obtain key stakeholder approval.

b. Analysis of Organization current situation: initiates with the clear understanding of Company goals and objectives, to develop SWOT analysis, evaluation or root cause analysis of the problem or opportunity, to evaluate current capacities and the gap between these and desire capacities.

c. Recommendations to satisfy business needs: high level proposal to close gaps in the current capacities, and the whole viability analysis of them.

d. Business case development: consolidation of all key elements to prioritize the improvements initiatives, and the business case could be used as a control tool in the implementation activities, and at the end to evaluate possible lessons learned.

In order to obtain all information needed and to complete these analysis tool, it is required to first perform all business assessment activities, clearly identify organization goals and objectives, and to be completed all key activities to identified customers critical to quality elements (using any of the approaches or tools proposed in Define or Measure DMAIC phases).

For the next steps more investigation will be needed. The solution will be more effective when a benchmarking with key players have been performed specially in those areas where improvement is required. For this exercise the tool that I strongly recommend is the house of quality as a complete analysis in order to organize the whole business improvement effort.

To complete this tool with all information that is needed all of the steps for assessment of current situation must be develop: SWOT analysis, root cause analysis, fishbone diagram, opportunities analysis; and the main tools for the Measure phase of DMAIC methodology, in order to get most of the data and information about how current processes, related with the problem or opportunity, are performing.

For this proposed approach, this tool is the main key to clearly identified the set of actions to be developed, and that start from the analysis of the whole organization based on the voice of the customer.

Finally, proposed improvements actions will be defined and prioritized. But before performing this exercise the evaluation scale for costs and other quantitative variable must be defined based on which elements are relevant to the organization (that is, if the measure scales that are going to be used will be related with expenses, net income or revenues, or any other quantitative indicator). Based on these variables the level of the impact (high, medium or low) will be determined.


The purpose of this paper only were detailed a proposal for the selection of improvements opportunities, and this is only one element of the Business Analysis approach, which has more phases and tools that can be integrated with the development of any kind of projects, as a complementary approach.

that are relevant to the clients and at the end must add value to the business.

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