Six Sigma Project Charter

The Six Sigma Project Charter is the most basic Six Sigma tool. It outlines your whole project on one piece of paper. The business problem, the scope of project, the metrics involved, the benefits expected, and the project team are all identified in the project charter.

A picture of a sample six sigma project charter is shown below.

Six Sigma Project Charter

Please click here to download the charter in MS Word format.

Although simple, the project charter is a very useful tool and should not be overlooked. This is the main tool that is used in the Define phase of the Six Sigma methodology. Once you have completed all the fields in the project charter with precise detail, this usually signifies the end of the Define phase.

If you find yourself unable to fill in all the fields of the charter properly, it means that you either need to rethink your project or you need to find more data on it to justify starting the project.

The six sigma project charter template differs between different companies and individuals. The basics, however, remain the same. Some of the most important fields in the charter are the "project scope" and "project objectives".

The project scope needs to be defined before you embark on a Six Sigma project. Many projects fail because the scope was not defined properly in the define phase. Most of these failures happen because the scope of the project is too wide. It is the typical "boil the ocean" scenario where the project owners think that they will solve all the big company problems in one shot. Do not set yourself up for failure! Keep the scope tight. Of course, too narrow a scope does not make a good project either. When in doubt, lean towards a tighter scope. The starting point and ending point of the project should be known before you move out of the Define phase - and these points should be clearly stated in the project scope on the charter.

The project objectives pretty much define the outputs that you are looking to optimize in your project. Many projects will have only one objective. Other projects may have multiple objectives. List all of them down on the charter. All the project objectives should be measurable. If the objective currently is not measurable, you need to create a measurement system for it in the Measure phase. If you cannot measure the output, you will never know if you have improved the process or by how much.

The baseline, entitlement, and target for each objective should be entered into the project charter. The baseline is simply the current measurement of the output. It tells us "How is the process behaving currently?" The entitlement is what the output's measurement would be in an ideal world. It would tell us, "How would this process behave if everything was absolutely perfect?" And finally, a target needs to be entered for what you want the measurement of the output to be by the time you are done with the project. All of these fields should follow the SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

The six sigma project charter does not have to be set in stone once it is finished. Most project charters change a bit as the project progresses through the different phases. As you learn new information about your process, you may realize that some assumptions made in the charter were not accurate or that the project scope may require tweaking. This is perfectly normal. After all, one of the reasons you conduct a six sigma project is to learn more about your process. If you learnt something along the way that proved previous thinking wrong, that is already a huge win.

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