E6S-004 Project or Just Do It - Part 1

In this episode number 4, we discuss the difference between a DMAIC project and a Just-do-it. We go through how they can be different, why true DMAIC projects are often difficult to select, and the ups and downs of this situation, and what it means for business.

Rapid Planning /DMA for JDI; Deep Planning/DMA for a (DMAIC, Lean, DFSS) project.

1.  Define “Just-do-it” (JDI) – Ground fruit. 

Big obvious problems that don’t require any analysis but need someone to manage the implementation.

Forrest Breyfogle refers to these things as Watermelons all over the ground. 


Low hanging or sweet fruit where the DMA has already been done.

(Example Pfizer: CI program is 2 departments.  Six Sigma Does DMA, and hands of recommendations to the Project Management Department who implement the recommendations).

Disclaimer: using DMAIC as a catch-all for all the methodologies that follow a phase-based approach.  DMA, refers to the Plan Phase of PDCA, and 0-4D of 8D... No matter what methodology is employed, the difference between the amount of planning and analysis is key to dealing with Just-do-its.

Disclaimer 2: “Just-do-it” terminology underestimates how the efforts and time it takes to implement the solution.  We’ve used the term “Achievable Now” so as not to overly simplify the effort.  Basically means, “we already know what we have to do.”

2.  Tree Analogy

  • Ground Fruit  
  • Low Hanging Fruit
  • Sweet Fruit

3.     Many or Most projects selected by a committee of managers or champions turn out to be JDI.  Reasons include:

  • Many companies are bleeding money, and the solutions actually are fairly obvious but overwhelming, hidden, or ignored
  • Project selection may be driven by metrics and incentives that don’t have a clear link to strategy, but become a delegated project to achieve some bonus level
  • Choosing real projects that aren't JDI is difficult due to some human nature.
  • Human Personality: Culture rewards those who have great ideas, network well, and pull the trigger on solutions.
  • From the DiSC model, this puts the High D High I often in the upper management  leadership position. 
  • This personality type is very contrary the High C High S approach to DMA, which is heavy in analysis and team approach
  • DI also comes with a huge ego. People willing to take risks and move quickly past mistakes... even savvy enough to evade responsibility for mistakes. 
  • If the managers cannot conceive of a solution at that moment, the project is ignored.
  • What comes out is an obvious JDI, or a JDI that is ill-defined.
  • Some projects may be chosen that are not as important, but are perceived as easier to implement.