E6S-051RB LSS Holiday Blues

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Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, your weekly dose of tips and tricks to achieve excellent performance in your business and career.  Join us as we explore deeper into the practical worlds of Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management and Design Thinking.  In this episode number 51, our first E6S-Methods Holiday Special, “Beware the Lean Six Sigma Project Holiday Blues.” If you're just tuning in for the first time, find all our back episodes on our podcast table of contents at e6s-methods.com. If you like this episode, be sure to click the "like" link in the show notes.  It's easy.  Just tap our logo, click and you're done. Tap-click-done!  Here we go. http://bit.ly/E6S-051RB Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes

****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 051RB of the E6S-Methods podcast.  Don't forget to click "like" or "dislike" for this episode in the show notes. Tap-click-done!  If you have a question, comment or advice, leave a note in the comments section or contact us directly. Feel free to email me "Aaron," aaron@e6s-methods.com, or on our website, we reply to all messages.  If you heard something you like, then share us with a friend or leave a review.  Didn't like what you heard? Join our LinkedIn Group, and tell us why.  Don't forget you can find notes and graphics for all shows and more at www.E6S-Methods.com. "Journey Through Success. If you're not climbing up, you're falling down."    Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes

Like / Dislike  **We'd Appreciate Your Opinion**