The Definition Phase

The objective of the first three phases of the DMAIC model (define, measure, and analyze) is to fully understand the problem and the underlying process, as well as the customers' requirements, before beginning to implement a solution. Although this extensive analysis effort without even a prototype system as a deliverable may seem unnecessary to organizations more used to the "you start coding; I will find out what they want" or the "ready, fire, aim" approaches to systems development, the success of Six Sigma companies attests to the value of careful planning and fact-based decisions.

The steps typically included in the definition phase are:

1. Define the problem.

3. Develop a project charter.

4. Develop a project plan.

5. Identify customers.

6. Identify and prioritize customer requirements.

Based on his conversation with the executive, the CIO drafted the following problem statement: "We need to implement an optical scanning front end to eliminate keypunch input to the payroll/HR system. The new system will reduce costs and improve quality." The CIO then convened a team consisting of a project leader and systems analyst from his organization, the manager of the department that had already implemented an imaging system, the marketing VP's assistant, and the manager of the keypunch effort.

When the team met for the first time, it began the process of developing a project charter. The purpose of this document is to ensure that everyone working on the project shares common expectations. Charters should include the following elements:

■ Problem statement

■ Goal statement, including measurable targets

■ Target completion date

■ List of team members and the percentage of time they are expected to devote to the project

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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