Applying Systems Thinking to the Practice of Six Sigma
To find the most valuable Six Sigma projects – ones with the highest system-level leverage – can require systems thinking and tools like the causal loop diagram, which supplies much more information than the usual cause-and-effect analysis.
Well-focused improvements done in the right place can lead to significant system-wide results for an organisation. In simple terms, it is a matter of choosing the right Six Sigma projects. But the problem is that it is not always easy to know which projects will produce the highest system-level leverage.
Often Green Belts and Black Belts are left to their own devices to find projects. Because the locus of high-leverage changes is normally not located in close proximity, either in time or space, to the symptoms of the problem, it is often not obvious to participants in the system. The result is: the “right” projects may not be selected.