Any Six Sigma Project starts with a Project Charter and it plays an important part in getting an overview of the Project being undertaken. A Project Charter is a document that gives information on all aspects of the Project – right from simple information such as the Project Title to detailed information on the Cost Benefit Analysis of the Project.
The Project Charter carries all aspects of the Project in a crisp format that can be easily understood, reviewed and approved by the stakeholders. Let’s discuss a Project Charter for a Project undertaken for manufacturing of a Smartphone.
A set of points should always be available in the Project Charter – let’s discuss them.
Project Charter Structure
- Project Title: A one line title that is represents the Project. For e.g., Improving Cycle Time of producing outer case of a Smartphone.
- Process Name (Sub Process if applicable): Smartphone Manufacturing Unit (Sub Process: Smartphone Outer Case Production Unit).
- Project Leader: The person who will be leading the Six Sigma Project in the Process. He has to mandatorily be a trained/certified Six Sigma Green Belt (GB in case the Project is a GB Project) and a Black Belt or Master Black Belt (BB/MBB if the Project is a Black Belt Project).
- Process Owner: Name of the person who owns the production unit (Process or Sub Process head) and is directly responsible for implementing all the strategies identified during the Project Life Cycle. The Process Owner has to take the hand over from the Project Leader once the Project is completed and sustain the improvement.
- Project Sponsor: The person who can review, coach, sponsor and be a representative of the Top Management. A Project Sponsor is responsible for getting approval from all the stakeholders.
- Project Champion (Process Owner, Sponsor & Champion can be the same person depending on the organization’s hierarchy)
- Business Case: A short paragraph on the Business the organization is handling followed by a paragraph on the business requirement to undertake the Project.
- Problem Statement: This should clearly give information on the problem being faced where the Improvement Project is suggested with a gist of historical data summary (at least 3 months) showing the performance of the problematic metric.
- Goal Statement: A Goal statement should ideally be one liner for ease of understanding. It should state the improvement of the metric from current state to a target state by a specified date. For E.g., Improving the Cycle Time for producing the outer case of a Smartphone from 4 minutes to 2 minutes by 28-Dec-2013. The Goal Statement should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.
- Project In-Scope: This should capture the details of the process or sub processes that are In Scope for improving as a part of the Project. This will ensure a clear path to be followed and avoid any discrepancy at a later stage.
- Project Out-of-Scope: A list of Out-of-Scope processes, sub-processes or steps should be clearly defined to avoid any clashes during Project progression.
- Project Stage Timeline: This should capture the Planned Date for completing each Stage/Phase of the Project (Define, Measure, Analysis, Improve, Control in case of DMAIC; Define, Measure, Analysis, Design and Verify in case of DMADV; Ideate, Design, Optimize and Verify in case of IDOV. DMADV and IDOV are part of Design for Six Sigma – DFSS). Against each Planned Date there should be a column for Actual Date to track the progress of the Project against the Actual Plan.
- Team Members: The list of Team Members who would be working on the Project should be available. Their Roles should be stated along with the number of hours they would be engaged in the Improvement Project (hours engaged each day or per week depending on the Project requirement). This will help in efficient utilization of the resources efficiently. These details will help the Team Members to plan and prioritize their activities without impacting their regular work or Project related work.
- Cost Benefit Analysis: This should give an estimate of the cost that would be incurred for the Project and the Benefits that would be achieved after the Project. A final amount will be available after analyzing the Costs and Benefits which will be of interest to the stakeholders and Top Management in order to give a go ahead for any Project.
- Signature of Stakeholders: Signature of the Stakeholders (Project Coach, Project Sponsor and Project Champion) should be taken which will flag it as an officially approved Project to be kick started.
The above list gives a fair idea on the need of having a Project Charter for a Project, let it be a Six Sigma Project or any other Project related to Transition or in Project Management (in which case the list may be modified as per the requirement). Hence, a strong Project Charter will help the stakeholders in taking a faster positive decision. It also helps in planning and laying clear goals to be achieved by Team Members to complete the Project successfully.