Lean Six Sigma Tools and Templates

Here is a list of most of the tools and templates you may need for process improvement projects and events. You can also look at our many free templates for download.

If you need help with any of these approaches, or would like some training on these tools and methods, check out our Lean Six Sigma coaching program.

Whether you’re conducting a formal Six Sigma project or Lean event, let’s start with some common types of improvements that we see.

Common Improvement Ideas

Six Sigma Project

Projects are ideal for improving quality, reducing defects, variation reduction, transfer functions and prediction modeling, conducting experiments, and solving more complex problems. In addition, with completion of training and an improvement project, you can earn a Green Belt or Black Belt certification (why do Black Belts get paid so much?)

We recommend using the DMAIC roadmap for your improvement project (“What is DMAIC?” video | “What is DMAIC?” podcast)

Preparation (selecting a potential project)

Define (defining a problem to improve and launching a project)

  • DMAIC Project Checklist (template)
  • Voice of Customer (VOC)
  • Project Charter (template | podcast)
  • Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) (training slides | podcast)
  • Calculate baseline sigma level (optional) (article)
  • Criteria for good Six Sigma projects
    • Good sample sizes to be able to measure the process before and after any changes
    • Management support of the problem (impactful to the business with an aggressive goal)
    • Openness to follow the data (no solutions determined or finalized yet)
    • The right team members available to help on the project
    • Proper scope (not “boiling the ocean”)
    • Time commitment given by your management for you to support the project
    • Influence to be able to make changes to the process (helping another department or a supplier can be challenging)

Measure (reviewing the current process, observing, interviewing employees and validating data)

Analyze (getting to the root cause or quantifying the primary variation sources)

Improve (implementing changes to the process and validating with data)

Control (ensuring long term results and data monitoring plan)

Report (quantifying hard and soft financial impacts and customer results)

Kaizen Burst or Rapid Improvement Event

Lean events are ideal for quickly moving through a project, but getting the right people in a room (or virtually) who are dedicated and empowered to resolving a well-defined problem.

Which lean event type should I do first, Value Stream Mapping or Kaizen Burst?

There are two primary kaizen or rapid improvement events (kaizen and kaikaku defined):

Decide if you want to have a planning event or working event (podcast)

  • Planning Event
    • Process Mapping – lower level process
    • Value Stream Mapping – from customer request to customer receipt
    • Outcome is a list of actions items to be completed AFTER the event
  • Working Event

To begin planning an event, the first decision is to decide what type of event to conduct. If you are looking for immediate results and have clear problems you want to resolve, select the kaizen blitz event.

If you want to evaluate the process to determine where improvements need to be made, then a planning event should be conducted. There are other benefits of a lean event besides the improvements >>>

Here is the general process for conducting an event:

Lean Transformation

Ideal for selecting a product or service family, determing the goals and objectives to improve performance, and using value stream mapping to understand the entire system, capture current, ideal and future state maps, then apply process improvement tools through a series of kaizen blitz events.

What is a Value Stream Map (VSM)?

  • Define the product or service family you’d like to focus on
    • Not sure? Consider creating a Product Family Matrix
  • Create a SIPOC diagram
  • Create a VSM Event Charter
  • Schedule a VSM event
  • Prepare for the VSM
  • Conduct the VSM event (video)
    • Current State Map
    • Ideal State Map/Principles (article | podcast)
    • Identify wastes and opportunities
    • Prioritize opportunities
    • Future State Map
    • Implementation Plan
      • Define and execute Kaizen Blitz events
      • See common improvement ideas above…
    • 30/60/90 Day Reviews
  • Capture results after 6-12 months
  • Repeat, or identify another product or service

If you need help with any of these approaches, or would like some training on these tools and methods, check out our Lean Six Sigma coaching program.

We also offer many free templates for download >>>


Want to learn more about Lean and Six Sigma tools, and apply them to an improvement projects? Check out these low-cost online courses and certification programs



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