Tag Archives: Lean


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This Excel Pareto Chart for IT Operations has a single tab to input the data and separate tab for the chart, which updates automatically based on the data entered.

Pareto charts contain a bar graph with a line where individual values are represented by the bars, and the cumulative total is represented by the line. The left Y axis is the frequency each instance occurs or another unit of measure. The right Y axis is the cumulative percentage of the total number of occurrences or another unit of measure. The values are always displayed in descending order.

Pareto charts are used to indicate the most important item among a large set of factors. This is sometimes referred to as the “80/20 Rule”. In the 80/20 Rule, 80% of the occurrences are caused by 20% of the possible factors.


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This FMEA Template (Failure mode and effects analysis) is built in Excel and automatically calculates the RPN score for you.  The FMEA is intended to help mitigate risk with a process, product or project. 

To begin using the FMEA template, identify all of the process steps or functions associated with your process or project.  Enter all of these into Column B of the template.  Next, identify potential failures (or problems) that can occur at each of these steps and enter them into Column C.  Also, identify the effects or impacts of each failure occurring and enter that into Column D.  Try to identify causes of the potential failures and enter them into Column F.  In Column H, enter any existing controls that are in place to address each of the potential failures you have identified. 

To complete the blue section of the FMEA template, you will need to assign Severity (Column E), Probability (Column G) and Detectability (Column I) scores for each potential failure.  Use a scale from 1-10 for each of these scores.  For Severity, 1 is not at all severe and 10 is extremely severe.  For Probability, 1 indicates not at all likely to occur, and 10 indicates certainty that it will occur.  For Detectability, 1 indicates it is very easy to detect and 10 indicates it is very difficult to detect (note this one may be opposite of what you expect). 

Once you enter all of these scores, the Risk Priority Number (RPN) will be calculated for you.  The RPN is calculated by multiplying the Severity times the Probability times the Detectability.  Items with the highest RPN should be addressed first.

To complete the green section, enter recommended actions to address the cause of the potential failure and assign an Owner to carry them out.  Once the actions are completed, enter them into Column M.  After actions have been completed, enter the new Severity, Probability and Detectability into Columns N, O and P.  A New RPN score will be calculated for you in Column Q. If you have properly addressed the cause of the potential failure, the New RPN should be much lower than the original RPN.


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This one page project charter is built in Powerpoint.  Project charters are typically very lengthy documents describing the background of the project, different options considered, detailed scope statements, etc.  The One Page Project Charter is meant to be a summary of the most important components of the charter in a single page.  For large projects, it is used in addition to a full project charter.  For small projects, it’s used in place of it.

The template includes sections to document:

  • Project Name
  • Project Description
  • Target Date
  • Costs
  • Gains
  • Project Team
  • Key Milestones

The One Page project Charter is also useful for communicating with an executive audience that is not interested in all of the minute details


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This SIPOC Template MS Word can help you and your team members to define a complex project that might otherwise be intractable or difficult to scope out.  A SIPOC diagram is used to identify all the essential elements of a process before work begins to improve it.

A SIPOC diagram is a high level overview of a process, and is not a detailed version of the process flow.  The SIPOC should be built before the detailed process flow.  The SIPOC Template MS Word is a good format to manage the documentation where all parties can view the document, versus proprietary process flow mapping software.


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This is a document for 5W2H problem analysis.  The 5W2H is often used in lean and six sigma process improvement initiatives to help bring clarity to the problems and concerns with the current process.  It is also used in Problem Statement definition as a way to get alignment across stakeholders on the current situation.

5W2H stands for:

  • Who – Who is impacted?  Which people, groups, departments are involved?
  • What – What is issue/concern/problem is occurring?
  • When – What is the timeframe for which the issue has been occurring? When did it begin?
  • Where – Where is the issue/concern occurring?  Is it isolated to certain areas?
  • Why – Why is it a problem?  Why do we care about it?
  • How – How is this done today?  How do we know it is a problem?
  • How Many – How frequently does the issue occur?  Hourly?  Weekly?  Yearly?

The 5W2H is typically used at the beginning of a project. It should be completed before root cause analysis. The exercise of going through each item in the analysis is typically more valuable than the completed document. Often times, the result of the 5W2H analysis is a problem statement that can be used in the “head” of a fishbone diagram during root cause analysis.


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Using this SIPOC Visio Diagram, you can create a more visually appealing SIPOC.  Instead of using simple boxes to represent Suppliers and Customers, you can use people shapes that visually depict the work they do. This SIPOC Visio Diagram highlights a handful of different Visio shapes you can use.  To find additional people shapes to represent the Suppliers and Customers, use the “Departments” Visio stencil found under the Flowchart category.

Other shapes can be found by searching in Visio using the search Shapes box or by navigating through the “More Shapes” menu.

SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers. The Visio SIPOC Diagram can be used in Lean and Six Sigma process improvement projects to:

  • Define the stakeholders of a process (suppliers and customers)
  • Define the scope and boundaries of the process
  • Provide a high level overview of the process
  • Understand how process outputs serve the end customer
    • This template was built using Visio 2010, but will likely work in versions as early as 2007.



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This is an example Cross Functional Flow Chart Diagram built in Visio.  Note that not all Microsoft Office installations come with Visio.

The flow chart includes the following shapes:

  • Rectangle for a process step
  • Diamond for a decision
  • Tube for start and end shapes
  • Annotation for comments
  • Rectangle with a curve for a Document
  • Rectangle with two vertical stripes for a pre-defined process (sub process)
  • Separator (vertical line) to distinguish phases of the process
  • A cloud shape to indicate unclear or uncertain steps in the process

This example is of an IT system release process and has three swim lanes. Additional lanes can be added as needed from the “Cross Functional Flowchart Shapes” stencil. Coloring has been added to the separators to help visually indicate when you are moving from one phase of the process to the next. Additional coloring suggestions include red for process steps that require attention, and yellow for the creation or update of a document.  


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Most PICK Chart templates require you to manually place the idea onto the chart.  This template uses the Scatter Chart functionality in Excel to automatically place the ideas on the chart for you based on the the values you enter for Impact and Effort.  0 is the minimum value (low) and 3 is the maximum value (high)

The PICK Chart is a Lean/Six Sigma tool used to help prioritize ideas.  The X axis represents the Effort to implement an idea while the Y axis represents the expected Impact.  

Four quadrants are displayed in the PICK Chart:

  • Possible – ideas that are considered "low hanging fruit". The effort to implement is low, but the impact is also low.  These should only be implemented after everything in the "Implement" quadrant.
  • Implement – ideas that should be implemented as they will have a high impact and requrie low effort
  • Challenge – ideas that should be considered for implementation after everything in the "Implement" column.  The impact is high, but the effort is also high. 
  • Kill – ideas that should be "killed" or not implemented.  The effort to do so is high and the impact is low.  

A PICK Chart is typically used in a Lean/Six Sigma project after Problem Identification Waste Analysis and Root Cause Analysis.  


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This is a template for a simple Cross Functional Flow Chart Diagram (also known as a Cross Functional Process Flow Diagram). Note that it is built in Microsoft Visio, VSD format.  Visio does not come with most Microsoft Office installations.

Cross Functional Flow Chart Diagrams are used to illustrate processes that are performed by two or more parties.  The process steps are separated by “swim lanes” designating which party performs which step.

This template uses the basic flow chart diagram symbols:

  •     Rectangle for a Process Step
  •     Diamond for a Decision Step
  •     Tube for the Start and End Steps
  •     Annotation for Comments

To make the chart larger, drag the edges to extend the working space to the amount needed.

An example of this template in use can be found here.


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Flow Chart Diagrams can be used to illustrate business processes, system processes, and much more.  They are frequently used in process improvement initiatives and IT projects to show the as-is and to-be states of the process.

This is a template for a very simple Flow Chart Diagram (also known as a Process Flow Diagram). Note that it is built in Microsoft Visio, VSD format.  Visio does not come with most Microsoft Office installations.

This template only uses the basic flow chart diagram symbols:

  • Rectangle for a Process Step
  • Diamond for a Decision Step
  • Tube for the Start and End Steps
  • Annotation for Comments

For a flow chart with Swim Lanes, refer to a Cross Functional Flow Chart Diagram.  To make the chart larger, drag the edges to extend the working space to the amount needed.