Applying Lean Six Sigma in Your Job

Thanks for your input on my blog post about how to apply Lean and Six Sigma methodology in your daily job.

Based on the first-in-first-serve, I will go through the list and for each of the jobs I’m going to give you my approach on how You should use Lean and Six Sigma.

Today, we will start with…

Business Analyst

I used to be a Business Analyst myself at ExxonMobil so if I knew LSS at that time I would have done like this:

#1. Have a meeting with my supervisor and ask him/her about the main objectives of the department for the coming 12 month.

#2. Then I would discuss the objectives and expectations he/she has for me. I would probably hear things like:

  • Meeting the weekly, monthly and yearly reporting deadlines
  • Providing in-depth analysis
  • Understanding the business
  • Having constructive and positive relationships with the business lines
  • Developing efficient reporting systems
  • Etc.

#3. I would ask then about the most important expectations – a top 3-5 list – and getting it very clear for both of us

In case the most important objective for me as a Business Analyst is to deliver my reports on time (see 2.a) then I want to know the exact deadlines for each report. To who I have to deliver it, in which form, at what date and time of the day.

#4. If I am already working there for some time, I would like to know on which area’s I should need improvements.

Personally, when I started as Business Analyst, I had problems with meeting the weekly reporting deadline. I was too late in some cases. So my boss told me I should improve my performance.

#5. Taking this example, I would start monitoring my performance each time I have to prepare my report. I would prepare a simple worksheet where I record the total number of reports for a certain period and the number of time I was too late.

#6. Each time I’m late, I would make note of the reason why I was late and the kind of report that I could not finish on time.

#7. Based on this information, I would try to find causes so that I can avoid running late with my work. I would discuss it with my supervisor, showing him/her my records of percentage-one-time reports, and I would ask his/her opinion how to improve the situation.

#8. You may find out from your records and from the discussion with your supervisor or colleague that you don’t get the required information from a certain department on time, therefore you start late with preparation.

#9. If this is the major cause to your problem of late reporting, you should discuss it with the department/colleagues causing you this problem. Explain clearly your objective, that you would like to improve the quality of your work in terms of on-time-reporting and that you need their support to get this performance better.

Ask them if they need any support to get their part of  the job done in time so you won’t get the info late.

They will probably say “that’s OK, we can deliver the required info on-time”.

Most of such problems are due to communication issues; people just don’t tell each other exactly what they need and when. They suppose the other person knows it.

#10. After the improvement, keep track of your reporting performance for 3 – 6 month to make sure it stays on the improved level: 100% on time  🙂

#11. Discuss the results with your supervisor – or most probably he/she has noticed your improvements already. Well done!

So what is Lean Six Sigma here?

1. Customer focus: asking your supervisor about his/her requirements.

Remember: customer satisfaction has always to do with QUALITY, DELIVERY and COSTS. Since all of us are customers and suppliers (receiving and delivering information/product/service) we have to be aware of the quality of our work, the timeliness of our delivery and the costs/efforts required by the receiver to use our output.

You can always find room for improvements in your work if you look at you performance from these 3 aspects.

2. The DMAIC roadmap of problem solving

In our example we defined that we had a problem with the timeliness of our reporting.
We measured our current performance to be able to quantify the problem.
We analysed the data to find out the main causes: we identified that certain information were received too late, therefore we could not adhere to our planning.
We agreed how to improve the situation.
We have implemented the change.
We monitored the performance to sustain improvements.

3. We improved the quality of our work – Six Sigma project

Since the number of times we were delivering our reports after the deadline was reduced, which is in-line with customer requirements (eg. Our boss requesting us to meet the reporting deadline), therefore the defect rate is reduced.

You don’t need any complicated, theoretical method but a few, tested, proven, easy-to-use problem-solving tools in order to improve your work, get better jobs, reduce time and costs and delight your customers.

Get these basics right here:

Next time I will look at how to apply Lean Six Sigma principles as IT Business Process Consultant.

Warm regards,


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