Tools and Templates

Below you'll find a range of project management templates, sample documents, and other resources to help you navigate and manage a Six Sigma process. Simply click on a topic area to reveal the available items.

Project Charter

A project charter describes the purpose, goals, and boundaries of the process improvement initiative. It is a tool that helps create focus on the work that needs to be performed and is used as a resource when there is disagreement about what the course of direction should be for the project.

Project Plan

A project plan typically includes a sequential list of activities that need to be completed and the resources needed to accomplish those activities. Planning of the tasks and related resources will result in an overall timeline or schedule for the project. The tools and techniques involved in creating a project plan will vary depending on the needs of the project.

Meeting Management

Following are several template documents to assist with organizing and managing team meetings.

Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis is the rigorous and systematic search for the underlying or “root” cause of problems or solutions (when the process operates much better than normal). There are a number of tools that can be used to identify root causes -- a few samples and templates are provided here.

Voice of Customer

An important element of problem solving or design is understanding your customer. This is called Voice of the Customer (VOC). VOC analysis is a structured technique used to capture customer needs that are critical to quality (CTQ).

 

Process Flow - High Level

This is generally a 5-7 step visual representation of the process to be improved or redesigned. The high-level view helps to control the scope of your project, clearly defining the beginning and end points for your analysis. It will also help to build a shared understanding among team members of how the process flows.

Process Flow - Detail Level

The detailed process flow illustrates the process at greater depth than the high-level flow and is typically used to gain a better understanding of a specific aspect. Examples include areas of responsibility, key inputs/outputs, process handoffs or critical decision points.

Change Management

 Identifying the risks and the benefits of the project for each stakeholder group will assist your team in preparing appropriate, targeted messages to drive acceptance. The templates will help guide you through this important exercise.

Risk Assessment

Team members are encouraged to complete a risk assessment for every project, whether it be large or small. A variety of methods and tools are available to help teams work through this exercise. Some methods and tools require a significant investment of time and effort, while others can be completed during a single meeting. Selecting the appropriate tool for risk assessment is determined by factors such as the scope of the project’s impact (e.g., department, division, or the entire campus) and the perceived likelihood and severity of risks identified.

 

Decision Making Tools

Teams and project sponsors will need to make decisions at various points throughout the project. The value of the decision to the project outcomes will often drive the choice of tool for structuring the conversation -- some being much more complex than others. A few commonly used methods are included here.

Communications Plan

Every project, regardless of scale, will have an impact on multiple stakeholder groups -- from those involved in the process, to the customers served, to the project sponsors. The following templates are offered as two ways to organize your plans to communicate before, during and after the project. The "simple" approach may be best for smaller project with fewer interested audiences. The more "complex" template will help manage longer projects with multiple touches to the various stakeholder groups.

Data Collection Plan

The core of a scientific approach is collecting and using data to guide your thinking. A Data Collection Plan organizes and documents the what, who and how around the team's activities in this area, ensuring that accurate, reliable and complete data is captured.

A basic data collection plan may be used to capture data for the team's use early in a process, whereas a control data collection plan is intended to hold the business owner responsible for ongoing measurement.

 

Implementation Plan

An implementation plan outlines the sequence of activities and the resources needed to implement improvements and changes. The development of an implementation plan identifies what those activities and resources are, who will be doing them and what changes will occur.

An implementation plan identifies how those changes will affect stakeholders and customers and how changes will be communicated to those affected. The plan also specifies the schedule and timeline of those activities, as well as milestones for measuring progress during implementation and successful completion of the implementation.

Control Plan

The control plan is a tool that is generally used at the end of a process improvement project to ensure that the system stays within expected limits. Included in the control plan are several metrics that are used to monitor the process over time such as speed of delivery, customer satisfaction, cost and quality of a good or service.

When a process is performing outside specified limits, a control plan calls out what if any action should be taken to bring the process back into acceptable range.

Final Report

The Final Report summarizes and documents the work of the team, as well as the conclusions and recommendations presented to the project sponsors. It may also include critical decisions and approvals made during the project.

Templates for a Final Report and Executive Summary are included below. For Final Report samples, please refer to any of the completed APR projects.