Process Improvement or Tracking? Six Sigma vs. Project Management

Project Management

When it comes to optimizing business operations, companies use the Six Sigma and Project Management methods to improve their bottom lines. The end goal of both techniques is to reduce expenses and improve product quality.

However, these two methods shouldn’t be confused with each other. Project teams that interchange them may miss the opportunity to measure the progress of a task or quantify the value added by a process change. KPI Fire suggests that businesses consider which would benefit them more before applying them.

Defining Six Sigma

Six Sigma is the ideal optimization technique for minimizing variance and reducing the number of defects in a process. Using statistical analysis to identify the root cause of problems, companies can identify weak areas in their system and make changes. Given the data-driven and highly structured nature of Six Sigma, teams are able to test the solution immediately after implementation.

Teams utilizing Six Sigma require a long-term commitment to the process. This starts with everyone working together to define the goals and objectives of a project. Then, milestones are set to monitor the team’s progress. Lastly, the team will write a detailed report explaining how people can continue to improve the process.

Defining Project Management

Rather than improving the overall performance of an existing project, the project management strategy emphasizes the successful implementation of a new process. This requires the team to check the project progress by component. To ensure that each project is completed promptly and efficiently, it uses an approach called the Critical Path method.

The Six Sigma and Project Management methods have their strengths as a business optimization tool. When teams are working on a project, they need to determine whether it needs the short-term guidance provided by project management or the long-term guidance given by Six Sigma.