Give Me an Hour and i will triple your ROI


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Over the last five years, i-nexus has invested in significant research, working with nearly 80 companies to further understand the challenges and opportunities which a deployment faces as it grows and matures. The results of this research form the Performance Improvement Maturity Model. In this paper Paul Docherty, i-nexus’ CEO, concentrates on the second stage of the model, particularly on tactics to drive a program’s Return on Investment.
In addition to the research, Paul draws on his own experience gained during 15 years as a practitioner and deployment leader in a global telecoms company.

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Give Me an Hour and i will triple your ROI

  1. 1. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Over the last five years, i-nexus has invested in significant research, working with nearly 80 companies to further understand the challenges and opportunities which a deployment faces as it grows and matures. The results of this research form the Performance Improvement Maturity Model. In this paper Paul Docherty, i-nexus’ CEO, concentrates on the second stage of the model, particularly on tactics to drive a program’s Return on Investment. In addition to the research, Paul draws on his own experience gained during 15 years as a practitioner and deployment leader in a global telecoms company. Introduction In the following pages, I’ll share some of the results from our research, which understands the maturity of deployment maturity in organizations and how that evolves over time. I’ll demonstrate how you can show your program is delivering Return on Investment, and introduce you to some practical actions you can take to drive a much greater return from the same resources. Decision to test water via piloting use of Lean Six Sigma Decision to commit to a company wide Lean Six Sigma Program Decision to progressively shift responsibility for on-going performance improvement to Operational Management Decision to align performance improvement activity with strategic goals on a company wide basis. Figure 1—The Lean Six Sigma Journey—the Performance Improvement Maturity Model (PIMM)
  2. 2. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Let me start by sharing some interesting data. The following table shows the mean and standard deviations of key measures associated with Return on Investment across all Performance Improvement programs surveyed during our research: Factor Mean Std Dev Operational definition ROI Multiple 2.5 1.5 Audited tangible financial benefits as a multiple of tangible costs. Project Cycle Time 8.7 Months 2.1 Months Time from Define tollgate approval to Control tollgate approval. Benefits/Project $137K $54K The annualised net project benefits which have been validated by the financial controller (one year from project close date) Concurrent Projects/Belt 0.6 0.3 The number of currently active projects divided by the number of trained belts (trained in last 24 months). % Successful 63% 26% The number of projects which pass a final tollgate review and for which net benefits are recorded in the following 12 months. Figure 2—Survey of 41 global deployments, at three year point This is based upon results from just over 40 global deployments, concentrating, in particular, on those companies at the three year point of their deployment, and so I would expect them to be starting to generate a significant return. Obviously there are some challenges in terms of comparing across different companies, but I have effectively factored out that variation to create a representative view of how companies are performing across the whole deployment. Some key observations Using the data as a benchmark of the real life performance of Lean and Six Sigma deployments today, the following points stand out: • The number of concurrent projects per Belt is much lower than you might otherwise expect. We are training a lot more people than actually get active and complete projects. From the point of view of getting more from the investment, this is a huge missed opportunity. • There is a significant Standard Deviation on the cycle time, but projects in the real world generally take a long time. Many people have talked about Green Belt projects lasting four months, and Black Belt projects taking six, but the data suggests that in fact it consistently takes much, much longer to execute a DMAIC project. • The level of benefit being generated per project is much lower than might be expected. In reality, this is because of a large number of trailing edge projects with low levels of return (i.e. projects that could and should have been stopped). Finally, it should be noted that there are some very interesting interaction effects between the variables. The longer you take to complete a project, the longer the cycle time and the lower the average benefits generated from that project. In turn, this is matched by a lower level of overall success. Drivers of ROI on Lean Six Sigma Programs As a Six Sigma practitioner and somebody who has been involved with cause-effect thinking for some time, I am a great believer in applying Six Sigma to Six Sigma, and the whole concept of “Y is a function of X”. The following diagram illustrates the key drivers of ROI on a Lean Six Sigma Program, using a simple equation to provide a complete description of the factors that drive Return on Investment.
  3. 3. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Figure 3-Drivers of ROI on a Lean Six Sigma Program. Using this, it is very clear that if I can reduce my cycle time, I will increase my Return on Investment. Equally, if I increase the amount of benefits generated per project investment, I drive up my Return on Investment. In the following pages, I focus on each of these areas and the top two tactics - or “uncommon practices” - that you can implement to deliver the biggest leverage effect on Return on Investment, based upon on our research and the best practice we have observed working with different companies. Key driver 1- Project Cycle Time The following analysis takes the average project cycle time and breaks that into value versus non-value added time: Figure 4-Total cycle time split by value and non-value time, based on a sample of 500 projects taken from a population of 15,000 projects.
  4. 4. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” What this breakdown shows is that out of every eight months spent on a project, five are wasted. That time is being squandered for a variety of reasons, but the following are key: • a delay in the availability of data • following a line of enquiry that is not leading us to the root causes • allowing the project to be driven by the metronome of the availability of the senior executives who are sponsoring the program, rather than the actions that the project needs to take. The biggest bang for the buck is to be gained from focussing on reducing the non-value adding time. One of the tactics that we can take to reduce the amount of unproductive lines of enquiry, particularly Green and Black Belts in the early stages of activity, is to use on-the-job coaching, either by Master Black Belts or by external consultants. However, coaching is a well known and well practiced approach so—against this driver—I am going to focus on two other tactics which can make a huge difference. Right Tool. Right Job. For over 10 years, I was a deployment leader in a telecoms company, and let me be honest that during that time I made just about every mistake it is possible to make deploying Six Sigma. I guess this is the way to learn, but I want to share some of my learning to avoid you making the same mistakes. The first tactic is about choosing the right approach. Looking back, one of the worst errors I made was at the beginning of the deployment when I focussed almost exclusively on applying DMAIC, not realizing that in reality there are other approaches you could adopt: • reduce variation with the DMAIC approach; • cut down waste through simplification (essentially the Lean approach); • remove complexity (Business Process Redesign or Design For Six Sigma). Figure 5—Analysis of process capability vs. correct choice of approach Applying an optimization approach, when you have a project that inevitably is going to require data collection, is a very inefficient way of applying improvement. One thing I have learnt from looking at many hundreds of projects is that, whilst there may be abundant Y data, there is very little X, cause or variable data available. Variation Reduction projects are data heavy. When you have a process with a low frequency, there is inevitably a long lead time to collect meaningful data, which in turn leads to a delay in the project cycle. So, simply being smarter about what types of approach you choose can dramatically cut cycle time. Let me give you a real example here. If you focus on a project where essentially you know you have a process frequency of less than one or two a day, and the process is not stabilized or at a level where optimization is the target,
  5. 5. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” then Lean is very much the right approach to take. The beauty of Lean is that we are really only focussing on ‘voice of the process’, rather than ‘voice of the data’, and our data collection is usually limited to the cycle time output variable. My experience is that setting some very simple rules about what approach gets applied to what type of project dramatically reduces cycle time, because you are not spending time unnecessarily waiting for data when you could be driving improvement. Immediate and brutal transparency Many projects are elongated simply because of the Sponsor’s availability. There are a number of strategies you can take to address this, but the most successful is what I’ve called “Immediate and Brutal Transparency”. Let’s take the scenario where you have a project Sponsor, a project leader like a Black Belt, and an executive, with ultimate responsibility for a portfolio within his or her business. If you can deliver a personalized report, indicating the status of each of the projects to the Sponsor on a regular basis, you do not have to be governed by their calendar - it turns up in their inbox everyday. Ideally, - at the same time - you would deliver detailed information on the projects to the project leaders, and a summary view with drill down capabilities to the senior executive. What you create is a self-righting mechanism where the Sponsor knows what action they have to take to get things done, the team understands what they have to do to get things done but critically everybody knows that the boss can see whether it is being done. Figure 6 - Cascading reports deliver “immediate and brutal transparency” In my experience, this is one of the best ways to get movement in any organization, but it all comes down to immediacy. Leaving this kind of approach until later in the program will present difficulties for multiple political reasons, so it is very important to start off on the right footing from the very beginning of the program.
  6. 6. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Key driver 2 - Net benefits per project The following illustrates how we normally think about a DMAIC project:• • • a set of possible root causes are explored, analysis is applied to identify a possible solution, the solution is implemented and ultimately leveraged. Figure 7 - Points of maximum influence on net benefits per project However, what this really conveys is the three points in a DMAIC project cycle where you have a significant amount of leverage on the results that the project will deliver. The first, selecting a high impact defect, is pretty well institutionalized in most large organizations. Picking a project where the impact of the defect is significant will clearly give a better return than if you deliver against a lower impact defect. Instead, I will focus on two other areas where I see organizations struggling to realize tangible benefits: • Taking the action to realize tangible benefits - sponsor follow-through • Ensuring follow-through on leverage opportunities - pro-active replication
  7. 7. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Sponsor follow-through This is a visual representation of the difference between delivering a project, which is usually the responsibility of the Black Belt, and delivering benefits which is ultimately the responsibility of the Sponsor in the project. Figure 8-The difference between delivering the project, and delivering its benefits Let’s take a classic example: a labor productivity saving is made by reducing the use of another resource - less rework, for example. The bottom-line is that this will deliver some potential up-side in terms of the opportunity value of that additional labor, but it will have no financial effect - no real ROI effect - until an action is either taken to remove those resources from the organization or redeploy them. My experience is that a lot of programs go through the experience of making project improvements and seeing capability improvements, but do not see the benefits in the financial sense because few projects have a direct and immediate working capital impact. Unless it’s as simple as, for example, reducing scrap on the shopfloor, realizing real benefit requires some secondary action. So how can you ensure this happens? One of the tactics used by a number of the companies we have worked with and researched is to extend the concept of chartering from an executive to a team, i.e. chartering between a CEO and the Sponsor that says, “If we commit to doing that project your personal income reward is going to be dependant upon realizing the benefits.” Pro-active replication It would seem fairly obvious that if you make an improvement, that that solution strategy should be replicable any similar business units or departments that have the same or similar processes. In many of the companies that we work with, for example global companies with 10’s if not 100’s of subsidiaries and operating units, there is a huge multiplication opportunity available for most projects, but the reality is that it rarely happens. Now the question is “why?” Put simply, it doesn’t happen because nothing drives it to happen. In most organizations, whilst there may be a Master Black Belt network, there is very little motivation to make replication happen, nor is there an easy process or supporting infrastructure. At its simplest, applying systematic replication requires two tactics: • At the point a project is started, look for similar examples, not just in terms of searching for project titles and key word matches, but search right into the documentation against every project to pull up as
  8. 8. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” many relevant opportunities to see if there is a solution there. • Provide the Master Black Belt, or the process owners in other functions around the organization with notifications that tell them if a project has been completed or a significant event has occurred relating to something which has interest to them. Figure 9— Facilitating pro-active replication Modern IT Infrastructures to support this are available today. If your current infrastructure cannot do this, it is preventing you from fully realizing Return on Investment from your program. Of course, nothing is as simple as just IT or technology or infrastructure; everything has a human aspect to it. What I have found is than companies that are driving Return on Investment through better replication have created an incentive program much like licensing intellectual. Their policies allow individual business units to licence the solutions that they come up with and earn income from the benefits gained by other business units - if you like a notional cross-charging approach. That might seem like an effort to implement but, with the right infrastructure, the approach can lead to a significant desire and drive to follow-through on the replication. Without it, new benefits brought to a particular business unit tend to begin and end right there.
  9. 9. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Key driver 3 - Number of projects per Belt The third area of opportunity is around driving a greater number of projects per Belt. To help us get a greater understanding of this issue, the following data illustrates research carried out with the same companies but focusing specifically on time taken for each activity within the project. Figure 10- Analysis of time spent by Belts during a two month period Taking a sample of the Green and Black Belts, my research looked at how they spent their time over a two month period, breaking it down into hourly chunks. Whilst 2 – 4 weeks were spent training and coaching people in using the skills of Six Sigma, Green and Black Belts were spending less than 6% of their time actually applying those hard skills in project situations. Now that is a little one-dimensional, because obviously there are the other aspects of planning and delegating work, and coaching and facilitating the application of tools. However, the most important lesson here, and potentially the opportunity to increase the amount of projects that an individual can do, lies in the vast amount of their time lost in two key areas: • Managing stakeholder expectations - building consensus within stakeholders and developing those relationships • Driving data collection and implementing measurement systems - doing process characterization through mapping and data collection. If we want to drive up the number of projects implemented per Belt, we need to reduce the time spent on the softer skill issues and push towards a greater degree of productivity from our resources. Belt-business alignment The first tactic addresses the amount of time spent communicating with stakeholders, by increasing the alignment between the full and part-time resources that have been dedicated to Lean Six Sigma within the organization. This means not just aligning the Master Black Belts with specific business units or functions, but actually driving down and aligning individual Black Belts with the individual functions. Although this might seem to be highly inefficient from an economy of scale perspective (an individual Black Belt cannot handle projects from multiple parts of the organization), the real efficiency of scale is the reduction in the amount of communication required and the ability to concurrently manage more than one project in a particular business area.
  10. 10. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” What we have seen is that this way of aligning the organization seeds more of the responsibility for project definition and others back down to the operational leaders. In addition, it leads to a higher degree of buy-in and a stronger belief that the project is owned by the functions themselves. Self-service measurement system automation Figure 11—Investment in relationships can be leveraged to minimize unnecessary communication, and maximize projects/Belt A second tactic looks at the inordinate amount of time Belts spend collecting data. Although this issue may be less obvious, it is responsible for causing considerable delays to projects. Many organizations have data collection or measurement systems, but too often they are used for reporting, rather than improvement. As a result, a project leader may have a great deal of Y data immediately available, but lack the X data needed for qualitative analysis, or drilling further into the numbers. Clearly, the other factor that complicates or compounds the delay is the availability of IT resources. As an ex-IT Director in a large corporate organization, it has never been my intention to slow down Six Sigma and Lean type activity, but I can tell you that the scarcity of IT resources to specifically develop measurement systems can have significant effects on the project cycle time and productivity of Green and Black Belts. At the end of the day, people are resourceful so they build measurement systems using personal productivity tools, MS Excel for example, which allows them to collect data during the project life-cycle. However, it they adopt this approach, the data have to be analyzed in another tool and, more importantly, the ongoing measurement system is not sustainable. It is then not possible to leave in place a measurement system that allows the process owner to maintain that project process control once they take over the project solution. The ability to continually maintain the process capability and drive improvement on an ongoing basis is lost. So the question is how do you combat that? As a company we have invested in developing the kind of solutions which allow organizations to use the same infrastructure that they use to track program benefits and project savings to define and build the measurement plan associated with each project. End users are therefore able to: • • • • • Define a measurement plan (Y and X variables) Convert this into an manual or automated data collection system Create and publish web-based data collection forms to ease data entry Automatically chart this data using appropriate control charts Enable process owners to apply simple data analysis tools I believe that these tactics are critical to driving greater productivity in terms of individual Belts. Of course, there are other things that can be done: give Belts the soft skills they need to be more productive; ensure that the quality of Belts is not diluted in anyway. But these are more common practices. What I have described here are some of the uncommon practices which give the best leverage so that instead of seeing half a project per Belt you can achieve almost four times that level of productivity from the same resources.
  11. 11. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Key driver 4 - Percentage successful projects Moving on, let’s look at the next driver of ROI - the question of success. If you look at any Lean Six Sigma project there are multiple ways to “screw that project up”. Figure 12 - Factors contributing to project failure Poor selection Ultimately, the selection of the project is the first point where you can make a mistake. Classically, the project scope is too big - you are just trying to “boil the ocean” - or the project is actually not a project solving an unknown or difficult to characterize problem. All too often, it is somebody promoting their favorite solution and characterizing it as a Lean Six Sigma project just to make sure it gets done. In my experience, selection is something you can address relatively easily by formalizing selection processes, enforcing clarity in terms of the defect that has actually been identified and making sure that you do not tick off projects before you have a meaningful defect that is worth fixing. Poor analysis Belt coaching and training can overcome the problem of poor analysis, but actually often it is not the Belt that is the issue, it is the Sponsor. Poor sponsorship The biggest issue that people face in terms of project success is that often the influence of the sponsor leads to inappropriate action being taken. Either the sponsor’s belief system leads them to want to press the accelerator, when really the right behavior is to focus on gathering data, or they are pushing through to get action because their instincts have been trained over 10 – 15 years to make quick decisions based upon gut feel as opposed to making rational decisions based upon collection of data. There are however a couple of tactics you can take to address the sponsor side of ensuring project success:
  12. 12. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” A) Sponsor coaching The first thing to consider is Sponsor coaching. Typically, senior executives in an organization have a two-day sheep dip experience involving some degree of executive orientation. They are poorly equipped and poorly prepared for their role, and in no position to guide their projects through to execution. What we need is an alternative strategy which balances the investment made in training and coaching Belts. Admittedly, increasing the amount of training offered to Sponsors is difficult, because getting a day or two days out of their diaries is extremely challenging. However, providing on-the-job coaching at critical points in the project’s execution, for example gate reviews, ensures the Sponsor understands their role, the critical questions they need to be asking, and when to slow down or speed up the project. This kind of coaching can help move from the “Ready, fire, aim” approach to “Ready, aim, fire”. In reality the problem is it’s not “Ready, fire, aim”, it ends up as ‘Ready, fire, aim okay— re-aim, fire, re-aim, fire”. Multiple attempts to solve the problem could have been eliminated by getting straight to the root cause simply by being more thoughtful about the project solution and the project analysis. Consequently, sponsor coaching is critical to getting a higher degree of Return on Investment from your program. Phase Key Question Define What is the defect and what is the business impact of the defect? Measure What is the process capability? Analyze What are the root causes and what evidence to we have to support our conclusions? Improve Do we know that the selected solution will generate a statistically significant improvement in process capability? Control (i) Have we achieved our planned capability improvement? Control (ii) Have the process owners taken full responsibility for on-going management of the process? Control (iii) Have we locked in the gains by fully standardizing the process? Control (iv) Have we summarized the learning and communicated and celebrated the success? Transfer Have we identified all logical opportunities for leverage of the project solution? Figure 13—Example questions for Gate Reviews
  13. 13. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” B) Common (simple) MAAR format for the project story I’ve been to many, many different project reviews, and what I usually see is a very long and complex story being told, with most people disengaging, or loosing the thread. A better alternative is that you use your tool experts your Master Black Belts - to validate the application of the tools, and use the project reviews to simply tell the story of the project, the opportunities that lie behind it, and to drive ownership of the ongoing improvements. Figure 14 - Using a MAAR chart format to simply tell the project’s story The MAAR chart format illustrated above is a simple but effective way of doing this. It gives a clear view of the life of the project as a control chart from the point the Y measure was implemented, shows the progress of actions that have been taken, highlights the biggest areas of opportunity and illustrates the impact on the root cause over time. Using this format can lead to a much tighter focus on what the project is about and less wasted energy and time working on projects that ultimately have no clear impact on the Y measure. When actions are taken you can clearly see if there is a consequential improvement in the process capability. In addition, this kind of approach leads to a greater degree of buy-in by the executives because they understand they are trying to move the dial and how that is connected to the actions that are being taken. So in terms of driving project completion, it may sound counter-intuitive but coaching Sponsors and telling the project’s story in a simpler and more direct way effectively ensures projects do not go on for ever, successful projects are given the support they need, and those that are less likely to be successful are killed at the earliest possible point in the process.
  14. 14. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Key driver 5 - Reducing the cost of the program This is an analysis of 12 organizations, showing the cumulative average cost of their program over the last three years. Figure 15—Tangible costs for typical LSS deployment in $1Bn SBU: 100 projects per year; 20 Black Belts; 80 Green Belts. My research team also looked at what had been spent in tangible “above the water” iceberg expenses vs. the intangible ’lost opportunity’ costs sitting below the water line. Figure 16—Tangible costs vs hidden costs
  15. 15. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” One key finding right up front was that the investments made to get the right people, or to track and drive the reporting out of the program to create transparency and engagement were a very small fraction of the total three-year investment. Of course, there were costs that were more difficult to account for, so that there is a degree of subjectivity here. However, it is clear the majority of the cost was invested in paying salaries and funding the training program of the full time people. Above and before all else, it is this investment that must pay back. This leads to the following simple piece of advice: recognize that the primary issue lies in making sure that you do not waste your training investment. You have to avoid the perception that getting on to Six Sigma training is an easy thing or that the deployment organization is crying out for Black Belts. Maximize training investment - introduce the “3 strikes rule” My research showed that the companies that had done the best at making training effective had introduced a version of what we call the ‘three strikes rule’: Strike 1: First Warning Poor/non-existent Charter before first module of Belt training Strike 2: Second Warning No updated Charter within one week of completing first module Strike 3: You’re Out Define tollgate review not completed before the second module of Belt training Figure 17— The Three Strikes Rule Whilst it won’t help the “Number of Belts trained” KPI, adopting this approach will drive Sponsor and Belt behavior. Introduce the importance of engagement and performance right from the start by saying that actually getting on to a training course, or being sponsored on to DMAIC or other Lean training courses, requires you to come with a fully thought through project charter. Failure to deliver at the early stages of the cycle, results in a warning - a first strike. If within a week of getting back from the first module of Black or Green Belt training, you have not produced an updated Charter that the project sponsor is signed into, that’s strike two. This leaves only one more chance and that is to make sure you have completed the Define gate tollgate before the second week of training. With the right infrastructure it is very easy to be able to generate a report on any training courses that are taking place, to see who is falling foul of these three-strike rules. What we have found is that by rigorously enforcing these, you reach a much higher level of productivity because the Belts you train actually deliver and are encouraged to continue to deliver through the period they may actually be in rotation as Green or Black Belts. Not only that, you also get a reduction in training costs because you do not waste energy on poorly formed and inappropriately scoped projects or people who are not buying in. Automated reporting from “one set of numbers” Let me characterize for you what I believe to be the situation that exists in many, many different organizations today in terms of how Six Sigma is being reported and managed as a program. The reality of this is not unfamiliar to me because this is exactly how I felt in the mid- to late-90s when I was running a large scale program myself. What you have is a situation where Belts are communicating with the Master Black Belts on progress. They are communicating with Sponsors. The corporate deployment lead is trying to pull a picture together from different business groups to present a picture to the executives and the CEO. And everyone is storing information in multiple different places, whether that is shared drives or local drives, so that in fact you have several different versions of the truth and every one is different. At any point in time every organization is struggling to answer the question “What is the benefit that I have delivered from this Six Sigma Program - what is my ROI?”
  16. 16. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Figure 18—“Many views of the truth”: Inconsistent operational definitions, significant lag—and significant cost With this kind of lag and this kind of inconsistency in operational definitions, most organizations loose faith, with the financial controllers in particular doubting whether the numbers are meaningful. In addition, people loose commitment because there is such a big difference between the time when the target is set and the point when it is realized. Clearly there is an alternative - one common set of operational definitions of how things are recorded, a single repository and, more critically, technology pushing out reporting on a personalized basis, so that information is delivered in real-time as it is updated.
  17. 17. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” Adopting this approach drives the pull on the Black Belts, Green Belts and team members to maintain the information that is a by-product of implementing their project. It also drives the pull on executives because they know their boss can see what is happening. Finally, it drives the pull on being able to do financial validation and tool validation within the same repository, so that there is tracking of whether things are actually being validated and agreed in real-time. In short, it gives you what is essentially a common operating system for your program and creates a much greater focus on cost. In Conclusion In the previous pages, we have outlined some of the key tactics which can drive ROI. In the few remaining pages, I will give you some idea of the potential impact of moving just one of the main ROI drivers. Let’s consider the benefits from reducing cycle-time. The following illustrates an organization performing at a typical level, perhaps a US$1Bn strategic business unit of a large global company or even a US$1Bn operating business itself. In a typical scenario, we would expect that company at a three year point to have deployed around 100 active Belts (20% Black Belt, 80% Green Belt) with around 0.6 projects per Belt. In terms of benefits, it would be generating $127K per project, based on an 8.7 month cycle time. That amounts to around $11.3M of benefits per year, or, as an ROI multiple, around about 1:2 – 3:1 as a normal ROI multiple. However, just cutting cycle time by two months can drive significantly higher benefits per year. Using the typical deployment described above, the program returns $15M rather than $11M, effectively adding a further third of the benefits again for implementing some of the simple tactics outlined in this paper. Keeping a laser focus - the LSS Program Dashboard Much of this relies on having the ability to pull information together, and drive it out at the appropriate time, and in an accessible format. With the right infrastructure, you can simply implement a Lean Six Sigma ROI Program Dashboard. This will plug straight into your project infrastructure so that it automatically reports on, for example net savings per project, and more importantly enables you to tell the story of your own improvement. Figure 20—An example LSS Program Dashboard, driven by i-nexus’ software Given the potential impact of reducing project cycle time by as little as two months, it is clearly worth shifting some resources to focus on this task. A program dashboard or scorecard will help to keep the program office focused on their mission, to scale and replicate their program and drive up ROI.
  18. 18. “Give me an hour… and I will triple your ROI!” About the Author Paul Docherty is the CEO of i-nexus, the leading provider of enterprise software to enable strategy execution. Paul started his career in Marconi, the telecoms equipment provider, where he held a wide range of management roles covering manufacturing, IT, sales, product development, project management, Six Sigma and corporate strategy as well as having P&L responsibility for the growth of a regional services business. Paul holds a MEng in Computer Systems and Software Engineering from the University of York and an MBA from the University of Warwick. His understanding of the challenges of embedding Six Sigma and other performance improvement methodologies into the fabric of organizations comes from his experience coaching senior management teams in many Global 500 companies and from leading the deployment of Six Sigma at Marconi. Paul was a co-founder of i-solutions Global in 2001, and has spearheaded its rapid expansion into the preferred global deployment partner for Lean Six Sigma and Strategy Execution programs. He can be contacted on or by telephone on +44 (0)7985 117784 (mobile), +44 (0)24 7660 8865 (desk). About i-nexus i-nexus is the leading provider of web-based software for formulating, aligning and executing performance improvement in Global 500 leaders worldwide. Client companies include organizations such as Pfizer, BT, Royal Bank of Scotland, ALSTOM, AREVA, Staples, Hager, Vodafone, Carl Zeiss, CIBA Vision, Network Rail and Xchanging. i-nexus provides a tailored range of solutions. Beginning with simple deployment and training support, and expanding out beyond the project tracking needs of Lean and Six Sigma improvement programs, i-nexus can provide the infrastructure that enables strategy mapping, cascaded scorecards, corporate objective alignment and strategy execution. i-nexus solutions are underpinned by powerful business intelligence capabilities which deliver executive and senior management reports on demand, in real-time or on a scheduled basis. i-nexus is headquartered in Coventry, UK, with regional offices in Europe, North America and Asia. To find out more about how i-nexus can help you to reduce project cycle times, increase project success rates and cut the cost of managing your portfolio: • Email: • Call European office: +44 (0)845 607 0063 • Call Americas office: +1 (617) 267 9595 • Visit: