Using Lean Six Sigma and The Belbin Model to Build Better Project Teams


Lean Six Sigma and The Belbin Model

Lean Six Sigma is a popular methodology used by large organisations (such as Xerox, Merrill Lynch, GlaxoSmithKline, Suncorp etc). It is designed to improve and streamline processes, eliminate waste and increase efficiency.

The approach is grounded in a belief that project teams can more effectively define problems, measure the impact of problems and analyse possible solutions that might be used to improve things.

Once implemented, measures are put into place to track such improvements and to ensure that progress is maintained.

The Belbin Team Role Model, which shares the same philosophy of helping teams and organisations to improve, can be used to great effect by streamlining the human interactions at work.

The Model offers a common language to measure and work with behaviours within the team and to enable strengths to be better leveraged, and weaknesses to be offset and / or minimized in project teams. Easy to administer via online reporting, profiles and reports can be generated for project teams to reveal what really makes it tick.

When Belbin is used in conjunction with Lean Six Sigma it offers a powerful combination for transforming business performance.

Belbin uses evidence of real-world behaviours to identify talent and match individual strengths to the required stages of a project team’s needs.

Key amongst the “8 Wastes” identified by Lean is “Non Utilised Talent”.

A failure to use people’s experience, talents, ideas, skills, knowledge and creativity to best effect is a common fault with many teams operating under pressure.

Poor communication, poorly defined roles, ineffective teamwork and inability to find collaborative approaches to problem solving all contribute to negative outcomes for projects and organisations.

When Belbin and Lean methodologies are used in support of one-another greater flexibility can be achieved to allow teams to make maximum use of every available resource to improve business performance.

Leaders can become better enabled to allow people play to their strengths and reduce the impacts of their associated weaknesses with daily planning and execution.

Six Sigma methodology also uses the stages of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) within project teams. Belbin can be used to map where each team member’s natural stengths and contributions will best assist along these stages.

Each Team Role style will have a positive contribution to make to the stages of DMAIC according to the unique strengths and weaknesses that will manifest with each person’s profile.

There will also be associated weaknesses within each profile to be aware of, that if allowed to occur at inopportune times during the life of a project can lead to problems for even the most effective teams.

Being aware of each person’s strengths and weaknesses upfront, and as a project unfolds, will enable leaders and teams to design and operate within far more effective and well-balanced project teams.

Designing project teams with Lean Six Sigma and Belbin creates greater awareness from the outset about what each person brings to the team, and how they can be best utilized throughout.

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