For many small or medium sized organizations dedicated six sigma teams or business improvement staff are not readily available within existing personnel so often external six sigma consultants are bought in.

For many organizations this can be a double edged sword – while hiring in external resources can help immensely – many organizations simply just don’t know what to expect.

So what can an organization expect from a six sigma consultant in the first week?

Six Sigma has many different tools associated with it and projects may vary but broadly for improvement projects – six sigma professionals will follow the DMAIC methodology.

As such organizations should expect to follow the Define phase first. Expect the consultant to define the problem, producing plans around how the problem will be measured the steps that will be followed – expect within the first week to receive a high level plan. Defining the problem is a crucial step, it provides the foundation for everything that follows. However be wary that the define process doesn’t extend too long – be wary of scope creep!

Importantly don’t expect to solve all your problems within a week – ensure that you get your consultant to take the time to explain the process he’ll follow – make sure that it’s against a predefined methodology with effective gate reviews that will allow you both to ensure that each step is completed satisfactorily but that also that the route to potential benefits is understood and that the resources and inputs needed to make that happen are fully explained.

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