Statistical Solutions, LLC



Six Sigma Project Team Handbook





*This document can also be downloaded in PDF or MSWord formats.

(PDF)...Six Sigma Project Team Handbook | (MSWord)...Six Sigma Project Team Handbook



This handbook provides guidance for establishing and selecting a Six Sigma project team. This handbook will step you through a few recommended processes and procedures of creating and motivating an improvement team. This guide is not designed to be all-inclusive and it would be expected that some deviations from this text would be necessary for each specific situation.


You have been selected to be part of an important group - a team focused on improving a process in our organization. We have identified you as someone with significant knowledge about the process and one who can contribute to our overall goal of improving customer satisfaction and improving our effectiveness and efficiency. Your involvement in this, and perhaps other teams, will be of extreme benefit to the organization. We look forward to using your knowledge of the process to carefully examine it and to make significant recommendations for improvement.

You will receive training on the DMAIC Process – the “roadmap” we use to engage in process improvement activities. Using this disciplined approach, we will collect and analyze information needed to suggest appropriate improvements in our processes. We are confident that your team will be able to achieve its goals and have dedicated significant resources to that end. Your Team Leader will provide more detailed information to you during the team’s first meeting. We appreciate your willingness to serve on the team.


1. Introductions - Introduce each member of the team to the group and provide a brief statement as to the roles of the individuals.

2. Review Agenda - Provide the team with a short summary of the overall agenda or focus for the team and project. This is not the project statement!


One person’s ideas and abilities may contribute a great deal to a company’s success, but the addition of other individuals’ unique knowledge and perspectives can help bridge important information gaps.

A group of people bring different approaches to a problem, which may open up areas of consideration that are outside the common realm of awareness. In addition, the network of support generated by the group structure, coupled with the team’s common desire to solve the problem, encourage members to keep going when the task becomes difficult.

The team can communicate alternatives with greater ease using documented facts, projections and perspectives that were considered. A comprehensive understanding of the problem and the increased sphere of influence that the team represents, result in a greater acceptance of the team’s solutions.  

Benefits of Teams

Lines of communication are opened through the sharing of knowledge.

• “We” and “they” feelings are eliminated as a team spirit develops in the workplace.

• Participative management is encouraged. Reduced waste and costs is a by- product of efficient group problem solving.

• Job satisfaction is improved as employees participate in decision-making.

• Team skills are carried back to the daily work environment.

Choosing Team Members

The degree to which the team succeeds depends on choosing the appropriate team players. Careful consideration of potential members ensures the team is comprised of a diverse group of individuals with complementary skills and talents. Each person’s expertise, experience, authority, interest and communication skills contribute to the nature of the team.

Ideally, all team members should:

• Represent the appropriate department or affected area.

• Have the authority to recommend and implement solutions.

• Have expertise in the subject of interest.

• Commit their time and resources to accomplish the task.

• Be willing and able to work with a diverse group of individuals.

Size of a Team

The size of a team is determined by many factors, and there is no “hard and fast” rule that must be adhered to in regards to size. However, an optimal size is usually six to eight members. Too many members may destroy the delicate balance between an enlarged perspective and productive group dynamics.

Use of Experts

From time to time, the team may have the need to invite “experts” to participate in selected team meetings or activities. These “experts” are individuals who have a particular skill or knowledge relating to the process or product being studied. Although the “experts” may not be full-time members of the team, it would be inappropriate to attempt to propose solutions without having gained the knowledge of their insight into the process. Team members seek them out and solicit their involvement when and where appropriate.


Black Belt or Master Black Belt

The Black Belt role is an important one in the implementation of Six Sigma. The primary role of the Black Belt is to assure the success of Improvement Project Teams. Black Belts develop and lead improvement projects and guide Green Belts who are leading improvement projects. Black Belt improvement projects are usually broad in scope and address major process and/or product improvements. Green Belt improvement projects are, on the other hand, normally narrowly focused; e.g. work center or process function improvements. In addition to leading Six Sigma improvement projects, there are three key areas of responsibility for Black Belts:

Guiding Green Belts - coaching and supporting Green Belts in the management of team activities, from initial efforts to the identification of recommended process improvements. Assist Green Belts in using the DMAIC Process, selecting appropriate improvement projects, developing data collection procedures, analysis of results, and making sound recommendations for lasting improvements.

Facilitate Effective Teamwork - supporting effective team member relationships, working with members to obtain consensus, effectively instilling in members the importance of using the DMAIC Process.

Provide Training and Internal Consulting - assisting Green Belts and individual members of the organization on the appropriate use of DMAIC tools and techniques through “Just-in-Time” training.

Green Belt

Green Belts will lead improvement project functions. The scope of their projects are focused on work center or process function specific projects. Green Belts also may serve as team members on Black Belt improvement projects. As a team leader, Green Belts:

• Ensure improvement project team has the correct membership.

• Ensure team has well defined problem with appropriate boundaries established.

• Ensure team has defined a reasonable overall timeline for the project.

• Ensure team has meeting times scheduled with sufficient regularity to accomplish task.

• Ensure agendas are prepared and distributed prior to meetings.

• Lead or assist in improvement project team meetings.

• Facilitate good group dynamics; i.e. ensure all members participate.

• Ensure all members attend team meetings. Ensure minutes are kept and distributed to all team members.

• Provide sufficient follow up to ensure assigned tasks are completed on a timely basis.

• Report back to the Six Sigma Review Board if team is encountering problems; i.e. not enough time to meet, heavy workload when team members return to work.

• Provide regular reports of team progress to Black Belt.

• Solicits outside resources as needed; e.g. statistical assistance.

• Facilitate the development of detailed Action Plan(s) for implementation of recommended improvements.

• Lead presentation of Team’s Summary Report to the Six Sigma Review Board.

• Facilitate implementation of improvement recommendations, including training, if necessary.

Team Members

• Responsible for representing their department or area.

• Committed to and fully involved in project.

• Trained in identifying, analyzing and solving chronic system problems and identifying areas of improvement.

• Attend team meetings and activities.

• Participate equally in problem solving.

• Complete assignments between meetings.

• Participate in implementing recommended solutions.

• Monitor results of team solutions.


The initial meeting of the newly formed team is extremely important. Black Belts may conduct these first meetings. When possible, each new Six Sigma improvement project team meeting should be “kicked off” by a member of Senior Management. It is important to indicate that the team’s role is significant, that members have been selected because of their knowledge of the process, and that there is a commitment to providing resources for process improvement. The initial meeting has two components:

Part one of the meeting provides an orientation of new members to the DMAIC Process, the roles of the team members, the Green Belt(s), and the Black Belt(s). It is a time to set the stage for cooperation, motivation and a focus for the team’s mission.

The second part of the meeting is the more “formal” business meeting. In this part, the team begins its focus on the process. In most cases, a team is able to complete a first effort of the Process Map - the fundamental analysis of the process to be studied.


Six Sigma quality is achieved through the integration of the systematic application of the DMAIC Process (Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control) into the operations of an organization. DMAIC is a focused, data driven, results oriented process and product improvement methodology. It is one of the tactics necessary for achieving a transformation to a data driven, results oriented, customer focused enterprise; where continuous measurable improvement is a way of life. The DMAIC Process begins with the selection of a process for improvement, includes the systematic application of tools in the DMAIC Process and results in a controlled, continuously improving process. Although it has a logical flow, you can enter the process at various points depending on where you are in your problem solving and process improvement activities. Data from our customers or our processes identify needs for improvement. These needs are our potential projects. A project improvement selection justification is developed for each potential project. These are compared, prioritized and projects are selected. Projects are selected based on their impact on the “business” and customer satisfaction. The goal is to get the biggest results for our process improvement investment. After a project is selected, the project team is established and trained for the work ahead.

In the Define Phase we establish the scope of the project; develop a project plan, define who the customers are and what their requirements and expectations are, and define the product/ process to be improved.

During the Measure Phase, the improvement team collects data that will be analyzed and will provide insight into the performance of the product, service or process under investigation. The first step is to determine the process capability requirements. These requirements are established by customer requirements and our organizational needs. Methods and tools are then identified that will provide the necessary measurements of the critical process parameters to determine the actual process capability. The frequency and quality of measurement are also determined in this phase.

After these preparatory actions have been completed, the team is ready to collect data. Proper analysis of the collected data yields information about the process and problems under investigation.

In the Analyze Phase, we evaluate the data gathered in the Measure Phase to determine root causes of errors and defects and thereby, opportunities for improvement. This information is used to develop improvement strategies to achieve the desired goals. The suggested improvements from the analysis are evaluated and prioritized to select the most cost effective strategy for achieving the required improvements. This may include a series of process improvement actions, design of experiments, pilot studies, etc

In the Improve Phase, a plan of action is developed, scheduled and implemented. This improvement plan will include updating the process map, FMEA and process documentation

In the Control Phase, a system will need to be put in place to ensure the improvements are sustained. This phase will provide for continuing process monitoring, and then identification and implementation of needed corrective action. The control plan needs to identify who is responsible for the process and who is responsible for implementing the controls. Step-by-step action needs to be included for those occasions when an “out-of-control” condition occurs. In addition, the control plan needs to specify what training needs to be performed, and the improvement activities are transitioned to the day-to-day operations and process operators.

Six Sigma Project Authorization Worksheet

The worksheet is an effective tool for developing a detailed business case for an improvement project. It is a “roadmap” for developing information convincing management of the need to focus organizational resources on a specific Six Sigma improvement project. The following page shows an example of the worksheet and can be downloaded from Statistical Solutions™ in the Free Downloads section under Six Sigma/Lean.


























Example: Six Sigma Project Authorization Worksheet


Everything is a process. Whether it is admitting a patient to a hospital, handling customers at a checkout counter, opening a new account for a bank’s customer, or packaging a product for shipment to a customer - all involve a series of activities that are interrelated and must be managed.

What is a Process?

A process is a series of activities or steps used to transform input(s) into output(s). An input or output may exist or occur in the form of data, information, raw material, partially finished units, purchased parts, product or service, or the environment. It is the steps used by an individual or a group to perform work or complete a task. It is sometimes referred to as a technique, method, or procedure. The absence of a clearly defined process makes any activity subject to an arbitrary mode of execution and its outcome or output subject to unpredictable performance. The ultimate goal of studying a process is improvement. In order to improve it, the process must be understood completely, and therefore, it must be documented or “mapped”. In order to document a process, it is necessary to know who is in charge of it; what other process(s) it interacts with, its objective, and its flow. To optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of your process, you must capitalize on the measurable factors of Quality, Cost and Schedule (Q$S). These controllable factors are the key to your success. To understand the impact of these factors, we must first have the ability to describe, quantify and analyze them as part of a process. The first step in controlling these factors and understanding the processes is to perform process mapping and collecting process data to identify improvement opportunities. The first step in understanding your process is to identify the process. A detailed understanding of your processes can only be provided by a structured process analysis. We must first understand the process, its elements, work activities, and measurable parameters before applying any other technical tool. Once we have performed process mapping, we can then use the Six Sigma technical tools to quantify, control, and improve the process. Achieving the Competitive Edge philosophy stresses continuous measurable improvement in Quality, Cost, and Schedule. A key factor in applying this philosophy is to understand the processes that affect these factors and customer satisfaction.

The three steps of process mapping are:

  • Process Identification
  • Process Definition
  • Process Mapping

Process Identification

Implementing a Six Sigma improvement project begins with identifying the process we are going to review for improvement opportunities. It is important to establish certain key aspects about the process you are going to review for process improvement. You must first determine what the process is and why you want to analyze it. In order to do this, the following items need to be defined:

Process Mapping

Name of the Process: What is the name used to identify or describe the process?

Process Owner: Who is the person that manages the process and has the authority to change the process? The person who has the responsibility to manage the process, irrespective of the organizational boundaries, is the process owner.

Goals and Objectives: Identify the goals and objectives of the process. What is the process trying to accomplish? What do you want to achieve by reviewing your processes?

Process Improvement Purpose and Scope: What type of improvements do you want to make and why? How would you like to accomplish these improvements?

Customer of the Process: Who does the process serve and who benefits? Who is the customer or customers of the process? What are the output requirements, by type, volume, quality, and schedule? How are the output requirements affected by the input requirements?

Products and Services: What are the products or services produced by the process? What material or information is required as input to produce the product or service? Who are the suppliers? What are all the elements of the required input? How do they affect the output?

Documentation: What are the documents, regulations, and procedures that govern the process? Review the process documentation.

Process Definition

There are three types of processes: industrial, administrative or service, and managerial. Each of these processes is equally critical to the success of your enterprise. A process is a transformation of inputs, such as: people, materials, machines, methods, and environment; into finished products or services, through a series of work activities. All processes have the same basic functions:

Process Definition – Inputs (5M’s) Transforming Outputs

•Methods •Materials •Machinery •Manpower •Mother Nature (Environment)

•Value Added Work •Non-Value Added •Business Value Added •Unnecessary Work •Not Working

•Products •Services

Three Types of Processes

Industrial processes are the processes we most think of as “production” processes. These processes produce things, the stuff of industry.

Industrial Processes

Raw Material, Data, Information, Durable Goods, Services, Decisions, Iron Ore, Rolled Steel, Silicon Chips, Cold Rolled Steel , Automobile Fenders, Computers, Worn Out Engines, Rebuilt Engines

Administrative (Service) and Management Processes

Administrative processes are the processes that typically cause the most trouble in the workplace. Management processes produce decisions. They are the most important processes we deal with on a daily basis. Using a well structured, fact based, decision making process is critical to business success.

Expense Vouchers, Purchase Requests, Claims, Reimbursement Checks, New Equipment, Payment of Claims, Providers, Telephone Calls, Published Reports, Expense Vouchers, Revenue Estimates, Goals & Objectives, Implement Training Programs, Short Term Business Plans, Facilities and Expansion, Changing Markets, Diversify Product Lines and Facilities

Within the overall process, what will the elements of the process be?

• Identify the work activity or work center that begins the process.

• Identify the work activity or work center that ends the process.

• Identify any work groups or work cells within the process.

• Are these elements themselves processes, each with several work activities?

• Define the element or work activity that begins and ends each process element.

• List the sub-processes or elements of the overall process.

• List all the products and services produced by the process elements.

• List all internal and external customers of the process.

• List all inputs that the process receives both concrete and noise.

• List all the suppliers, internal and external.

• Identify each work activity and sub-process.

• Start at the initial element receiving process input and continue through the final step in the process that produces the product or service. Within the overall process, what are the boundaries and groups? How can this process be broken down into natural subgroups?

• Receipt and data entry.

• Review and approval.

• Payment.

• Correction and rework.

Who are the customers and what are the outputs of the process?

• Who are the customers of the overall process?

• What are the outputs of the overall process?

• Who are the internal customers of the overall process?

• What are the outputs of each process work center or activity for internal customers?

• Who are the suppliers and what are the inputs of the process?

• Who are the suppliers for the overall process?

• What are the inputs for the overall process?

• Who are the internal suppliers for the overall process?

• What are the inputs for each process work center or activity for internal customers?

Creating Process Maps

Process mapping is a graphical method to illustrate details of a process.

What will the tool identify/show?

All process steps, value added & non-value added, etc.

• Input parameters (critical, noise, controllable, uncontrollable)

• End product parameters

• In-process parameters

• Characterization of all parameters

• Defect/data collection points

• Steps needing FMEA’s

When do you apply this tool?

• Always: to fully understand process & process flow

• Find where/when/how defects are being created

• Define elements of cycle time

What results can you expect?

• List of Factors for DOE’s or other hypothesis tests

• Find the hidden factory

• Opportunities for process step elimination (i.e. Flow improvement)

• Ways to re-layout the process


• Major activities/tasks

• Sub-processes

• Process boundaries

• Inputs (including noise)

• Outputs

• Customers & Suppliers

• Process owners

Review Frequently

• Document how the process actually operates, not how it should operate.

A wide variety of flowchart symbols are available. Many are symbols specifically for electronic flowcharting, mechanical process flowcharting, and computer program flowcharts among others. Attempting to incorporate these symbols into process analysis can be very complex and confusing, and may also be unnecessary. In performing flowcharting for process analysis, we will use the basic symbols for simplicity.

Level one is the functional level of the process work centers.

• At this level, we are defining the process work centers of the overall process.

• Each work center is numbered; these numbers are then carried over to the lower level flowcharts.

• This is also what is described as the management view of the process.

• Here you will define several functions and the management metric you will use to manage the process.

• Process control and control metric will come at a lower level.

Basic Symbols

Start or End …………….....
Activity ………………..........
Decision ………………......
Direction Arrows ................
Data Input …………….......
Document Input ……….....
Manual Input ………….......


Basic Process Map













• Process footnotes are used at every level of process flowcharts.

• These footnotes will tell you what the process requirements, system requirements, stakeholders and management metrics are.

At the second level, there will be a mixture of functional elements and work activities. The measures at this level will be process control metrics for the work activities.

At the third level, all process elements are work activities. This level contains only control metrics.

Flowcharts can be drawn at various levels in the process. Each level of system complexity adds an analytical burden in the amount and type of data taken at the various points in the process. Remember, the purpose of the flowchart is to describe the process properly so it can be quantified and analyzed.

Worksheet for Process Mapping

It is necessary to walkthrough each process in detail. This is critical to the success and accuracy of a process map. The following worksheet(s) are aids to assist in gathering data during the process walkthrough enabling an individual or the team to create a complete process map at a later time. The following documents can be downloaded from Statistical Solutions™ in the Free Downloads section under Statistical Process Control & Quality Planning.

























Example Worksheet: Flow 1


























Example Worksheet: Flow 2




















Example Worksheet: Flow 3

About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Copyright © 2018 Statistical Solutions, LLC All rights reserved.