E6S-051 LSS Holiday Blues

Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, your source for expert training, coaching, consulting, and leadership in Lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement methods. In this episode number 51, our first E6S-Methods Holiday Special, “Beware the Lean Six Sigma Project Holiday Blues.” Here we go.

****Beware LSS Holiday Blues****           

Objection 1:  My project is too important for people to give up on; it will be there when I get back. 

Counter 1: The bigger the project, the bigger the risks.  More moving parts, more stakeholders to keep contained on your side, more people to keep momentum with.

Objection 2:  We don't get a lot of holidays/vacation so it's not an issue     

Counter 2: Holidays and vacation times off are only part of the equation; also at issue are end-of-year rushes, travel restrictions, holiday distractions.


I            The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years can present a significant Risk to projects                    

a.       Typical long holidays and vacations. 

b.      Added stresses & distractions from holiday shopping.

c.       Personal Experiences:

i.      Big Project 1: Interrupted by holidays and new prevailing internal priorities for short gains, over the larger scope project.  Project paused in November without proper closure, and team never reconvened. Several key action items were never implemented.

ii.      Big Project 2: Interrupted by holidays and end-of-year rush to get new equipment up and running.  Project closure required a significant rescoping of the goal.  Cut scope back by about 70%, and closed by delivering training so they could take over, which was politically difficult.

II         Even if it's not a holiday risk, End-of-Fiscal year risks also exist.   

a.       People rushing to finish up their end-of-year objectives. 

b.      Final sales blitzes.

c.       Travel restrictions & budget cuts, hiring freeze, cancelled capital expense, etc.                                                       

III      In addition to the Western Holidays, eating up November & December, Global projects also can be impacted by other external factors.  Different cultures have other times of year that present risks

a.       Golden Weeks - Chinese New Year Jan or Feb & National Day Oct;

b.      Brazilian Carnival – February

c.       Summer vacation seasons      


IV      What to do if...:

a.       You’ve got time to plan

i.      Pre-plan to avoid the holiday risks or other large external factors

1.      Choose resources that will be available without interruption

2.      Scope & budget appropriately

b.      It’s already too late, the holidays are approaching.

 i.      Keep the pressure on your team members and stake holders

ii.      Find a sensible pause point or shrink the scope

1.      if the project gets tabled or killed, all is not lost.

iii.      Enlist substitute resources who will be more available.  These may become the new permanent resources for your team.

                ****Beware LSS Holiday Blues****                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Outro: Thanks for listening to episode 51 of the E6S-Methods Podcast.  Stay tuned for episode number 52, a very special anniversary episode. We recap the last year and look forward to kicking off to an exciting new year.  If you would like to be a guest on the E6S-Methods Podcast, contact us through our website. Follow us on twitter @e6sindustries or join a discussion on LinkedIn.  Subscribe to past and future episodes on iTunes or stream us live on-demand with Stitcher Radio. Find outlines and graphics for all shows and more at www.E6S-Methods.com. “Journey Through Success”