Looking Back: Blogs from 2023

Looking Back: Blogs from 2023

To start the New Year off right we’d like to take a look at blogs written by TMAC staff in 2023. You may have missed reading some of them. Or may just want to give some of them a second read as you get started on your LSS activities for 2024.

We started off one year ago when I wrote about Starting from Zero. This blog discussed how to successfully launch a new Lean Six Sigma Program. It was inspired by a planning session in which we did just that with a new customer. We used a kaizen approach for this session and worked from a very detailed checklist of deliverables. Rather than provide answers the blog lays out the key questions to be answered. Every LSS Program is different. The important thing is to develop a program which is appropriate and effective for your company.

In February we addressed one of the most common questions we get from GBs and BBs: How do I get buy-in? Mike Boyte shared his insight on this question in Thoughts on Influencing Leadership. He discussed the idea of operating as a ‘Lone Wolf’ in which he was the only person at a company with knowledge of Continuous Improvement methods. As you would guess, this made for a stressful and frustrating situation. Then he talked about the importance of effective communication. He ended with three key insights from an executive friend on how to get management support.

In March I teamed up with Alberto Yanez on 10 Lean Six Sigma Red Flags. This blog came about after Alberto had coaching sessions with a group of Green Belts. He called to share some of the issues they were experiencing and I commented ‘Sounds like a lot of red flags’.  Thus was hatched the idea for the blog. We defined a ‘red flag’ as anything which can negatively impact a LSS project. Then we provided a list of the most commons issues which was based on coaching hundreds of belts. We also recommended countermeasures to each red flag.

In April and May Satya Kudapa wrote an informative two-part series on The Art of Process Mapping. In Part 1 he shared the benefits of a well-done process map, then provided brief examples and explanations of 11 different types of maps. These ranged from those commonly used by LSS practitioners (e.g., SIPOC, Swim Lane, Value Stream Map) to those rarely used (IDEF0, Customer Journey Map). He also included a link to a comparison chart which listed the benefits of each type of map.

In Part 2 of the blog he shared best practices in facilitating a successful mapping session. Here is the link to Process Mapping Part 2.

In June we added Part 2 on the Red Flags blog from back in March. It was simply called More Red Flags. How is this blog different from Part 1? We focused on issues which impact success of a LSS Program (as opposed to those which impact LSS Projects, covered in Part 1). We identified 12 different issues which could cause major headaches with a LSS Program. If you are a LSS Program Champion we recommend you read this blog.

Another of our MBBs, Chris Meeks, wrote about Effective Team Facilitation for the month of July. He talked about getting the right mix of people for a successful team and included a brief mention of Dr. Meredith Belbin’s Team Role Theory. Then Chris shared two practical, easy-to-follow checklists. The first was for Meeting Facilitation. The second was for Between Meeting Facilitation activities. Whether you are a new or experienced belt these checklists are good references.

In August we celebrated 20 Years of LSS at TMAC. In this blog I looked back at the past two decades of our LSS Program, from its origins in 2003 to today. It gave me the opportunity to reminisce about the many different instructors we’ve had over the years, plus some of our most noteworthy customers. Included are many photos from those early years up to our TMAC Celebrates Event held this month.

For September and October we had another 2-part blog, this time written by Wiff Dedrick about his experience managing a small manufacturing company. In A Lean Journey: One Leader’s Story he describes how the company made changes based on a consultant’s recommendations which actually resulted in more waste. Later his company began working with TMAC. In Part 2 of the blog he shared how former TMAC Director Mark Sessumes facilitated some Lean Best Practices which resulted in dramatic improvements in the company’s bottom line.

Chris Meeks wrote our November blog on Effective Project Management. He discussed the biggest challenges to managing projects, then shared his insight as to what can be done to achieve project success. It was not surprising that timely, consistent, and regular communication was top of his list of best practices. He also highly recommended tools including Risk Analysis, Stakeholder Analysis, RACI Chart, and Multi-Generation Project Planning.

Finally, I wrapped up the year in December with a look back at the LSS Team’s activities in our annual 2023 Year in Review. It gave me the opportunity to brag about my coworkers who are a highly skilled group, to say the least.

We look forward to providing new and interesting blogs on Lean Six Sigma topics each month this year.