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Lean and Six Sigma can be powerful tools for a company when implemented strategically. The potential benefits are exciting, but there are real pitfalls along the way that can significantly undermine your efforts.

In this 7-part series, Rick Phelps outlines the seven most common mistakes companies make with their Lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement initiatives.

Here is the complete list with links to the original blog posts.

  1. Failure to integrate the continuous improvement processes into the fabric of the business.
  2. Leadership abdicate to support staff their responsibility for leading and directing where (and why) the improvement of the business’ systems and processes should be focused.
  3. Continuous improvement projects are launched to improve systems and processes that are not built on consistent standard work, making them inherently unstable.
  4. Focusing on the improvement event rather than fundamental needs of the work process.
  5. Misleading (soft) estimates of the benefits of improvement projects are created and disseminated.
  6. Staff support positions elevated to special status with over-emphasis on certification.
  7. Use of terms and language that create division.

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