Project plans show the why and how of a project, while the Gantt chart shows the relationships among project tasks. A proper project plan is a key factor in the success of any Six Sigma project.
What a Plan Includes
The dictionary meaning of project is a plan, proposal or an undertaking. A plan is defined as a scheme or a program or a systematic arrangement of important tasks. A project brings the plan into actual implementation; It is the bridge between planning and doing.
The plan will generally include a goal statement, a timeline for completion of various tasks and the description of various resources required for the project. It also includes the measures of evaluation for the study of the effectiveness of the proposal.
The goals of a Six Sigma project plan are to establish estimates for the overall project as well as the smaller constituents. It is a model of the project that is being proposed. This helps in bringing about timely changes in the project if any drawbacks are identified. Therefore, it helps in understanding how the various components of the project fit in place and the coordination of the various activities to achieve the project objectives.
Six Sigma project plans also detail the roles and responsibilities of the participants involved directly or indirectly in the different processes and stages of the project. In case of any deviations, the plan can be referred to for reference, so that the project does not continue to go off track.
If anything needs to be changed which can bring other things under the scope of the project, the project plan can be reviewed and appropriate changes made for any further changes that may be required.
A good project plan for any Six Sigma project will cover the entire why and how of the project. It will not only have the goal statement, but will also detail the cost- benefit analysis. A cost-benefit analysis is important in a project plan as it proves the profitability of the project being undertaken.
An overall feasibility study, if included, provides support to the claims of practicability of the project. This helps in making a good case for the need of the project with the concerned stakeholders, such as top management and the shareholders.
A timetable for the various steps sees to it that the project remains on the right track and does not take too long to complete. If any task is lagging behind the schedule, steps can be taken to provide additional resources for its timely completion. A timely completed project will ensure that the participants do not lose interest in it.
In short, a project plan defines the entire Six Sigma project life cycle. It establishes a budget for the costs and resources. In some cases, if the pan has been made with due care and research, it can help identify risks of the project and eliminate them.
On obtaining a commitment for the project plan from the top management, Six Sigma team leaders can undertake the project activities that have been developed based on it.