Why Lean Six Sigma Projects Miss Schedule and Budget

By John Morgan, Martin Brenig-Jones

One of the keys to success is about how well you work with the people affected by or involved in the programme or project. You need to get them on board with what you’re aiming to do. They may well be at very different levels within the organisation, but their level of acceptance of the initiative, approach, or proposed solution will ultimately determine its success. George Eckes’ formula expresses this well:

  • E = Q x A

    E is the effectiveness of the implementation that depends on the quality of the solution and the level of acceptance.

    Q is the quality of the solution, but its effectiveness will depend on how well it is accepted.

    A is the level of acceptance of the solution and it has a multiplication effect on the overall success of the implementation.

But, too often, change isn’t managed well. The ineffective management of people during change is a major contributing factor in causing projects to either fail completely or to not realise their full potential. There are some real risks when change is not managed effectively, or, indeed, at all. These include the following:

  • Projects going over budget or taking too long to complete.

  • Projects failing to achieve their stated goals.

  • Resistance to the change emerges and increases.

  • Employees fail to commit, either by finding workarounds, or simply slipping back to the old way. In some cases, this will be the result of poor communication or training.

  • Organisations building a history of failed change initiatives, which in turn builds cynicism when new programmes or projects are announced.

  • Employee satisfaction and morale deteriorates with a series of knock-on effects that impact on the customer and ultimately on market share.

When change management is done well, people feel engaged in the change process and work collectively toward a common objective, realising benefits and delivering results. The ‘A Factor’ in Eckes’ formula increases and is in line with the ‘Q’. The effect can be significant.