Six Sigma Project Charter

The creation of the project charter is one of the first steps in a Six Sigma project.  It takes place in the Define stage of the DMAIC process.  A properly formatted project charter is critical to the success of any project.  This is because the charter lays out all of the important project variables.  This includes everything from who is participating in the project, to the project goals.  Let’s take a few minutes to discuss each piece of the project charter.

The first thing you need to decide when creating a project charter in the name of the project.  While this may not seem particularly important, the project name should reflect what it is the project is looking to fix.  The projects name works almost like a street sign, it keeps everyone moving in the same direction and focused on the project goal.

Next you’ll define your Six Sigma team.  Your team will consist of the project leaders like the Black Belt, Master Black belt, and Champion.  It will also list the project participants at the Green & Yellow belt level.  It may also list important stakeholders and even vendors that may be important to the project.

A clearly defined project schedule should be the next step in the project charter.  You should have a clear picture of how long each section of the DMAIC method should take.  This will also include the project start & end dates.

You’ll now move on to the problem statement.  The problem statement addresses the problem or major challenge your project is aiming to fix.  In this section you’ll discuss details of the problem, what are the critical-to-quality elements, and where does this perceived problem exist.

The project Goal statement will discuss the anticipated results of the project.  You’ll want to set challenging yet realistic goals in this section.
Next you’ll need to define the projects scope.  This sets the boundaries for the project.  This is where you’ll define the clear project objective, the financial limits of the project, and define the outside influences of the project.

You’ll now move on to the Deliverables and critical success factors of the project charter.  Here you’ll determine if the team has been given the sufficient time and resources to complete the project.  You’ll set clear deliverables for each stage of the project as well as for key individuals.  You’ll clearly define who is responsible for clearing project roadblocks and what internal or external resources can be used during the project.

Finally, you’ll determine who the key stakeholders are for the project.  Remember, stakeholders can be both internal and external to the company.  You’ll need to make sure you understand their expectations for project communication, team member involvement, and the project outcome.

The section of the project charter that I just discussed are just the minimum charter requirements.  Depending on the size and scope of a project, your charter could be much larger.  Remember, a thorough and detailed charter is a critical first step in ensuring the success of your Six Sigma project.