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  • Joe Wichowski 9:59 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 1: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Project Vision & ROI 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    At Traction Consulting Group, we have created our own custom process to improve sales and operations processes, while ahering to the Six Sigma toolset.  These series of posts will not only walk you through it, but also give you a good background in StreamWork and how you may be able to apply it within your own process improvement initiatives.

    Create a new StreamWork template

    Log into StreamWork.  Once there, click on the “Activities” tab.

    Once there, click on “My Templates”, then click on the “New Template” button.   This will initiate the creation of a new blank template in StreamWork.

    Once you have the New Template screen, give it a name and a description.

    You should then be taken into a blank “work canvas”.

    Here, we want to add our first Tool, the “Decision”.  To do this, click on the “Add Tool” button, and you should see it directly in the list:

    Once the Decision tool is added, you need to change the description, and add the “template” text to define the Problem Statement.  To do so, click on the title of the tool “Decision”, and it should automatically turn into a Edit box.  Here you can see I changed the name of my box to “Problem Statement”.  Next, you need to define “what” needs to be decided.  Here, I have added some default text to frame the problem statement – essentially I want to make sure that for every project we are defining the problem, as well as tie it to some form of ROI.

    Once done, click on the “Save” button to save the Problem Statement section.

    Now that we have our Problem Statement section created, we need to make sure it has “action”.  You see, in StreamWork, the primary Activity is just a placeholder – maybe someone comes here and fills it out, maybe they don’t.  Instead, each Tool within StreamWork can have “Action Items”.  These serve as the To Dos of the system.

    So, in this case, I am going to make a two Action Items – one noting that we need to define this problem statement and the ROI, and a second assigned to the management team to “approve” or decide on this project.  To do this, I need to click on the Action Items tab next to the Problem Statement, and click on the “New Action Item” button.

    For the first action item, I am simply going to ask a set of users to finish this section, and mark it “complete”.  However, since this is a template, I do not want to assign it right now – so I will make an “unassigned” task.  (When I kick off a live project later in this series, you will see how the “assignments” come into play).

    Next, I will create a second Action Item which will later be assigned to the manager to approve this project scope and projected ROI.  (For this task, note how I left the “To be completed by” person.  This is due to to the fact that I approve all of the scope and ROI statements before sending to the customer.  So, no need to do additional assigning work later – we can take care of this now in the template).

    Once this is done, you should then be able to see both tasks in the Action Items list of the Tool.

    The final step is to give your Tool some detailed instructions.  This is mostly helpful in providing “self service” instructions to your users.  We can do this on the “About” tab of the tool.

    That’s it!  Your Template is now under way – you have the first section done.  Next we will add a way to document the 4m for this project.  Stay tuned!

  • Joe Wichowski 9:13 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    SAP StreamWork & Six Sigma – the TCG Process 

    We have been working with SAP StreamWork for a few weeks now.  One way in which we are starting to leverage it is in our Six Sigma efforts.

    At Traction, we apply Six Sigma methods to sales and operations problem solving.  It helps us visualize a clear picture, and ensures we are targeting the most cost-effective path to resolving the problem.

    As such, I will be documenting how we have StreamWork set up to do this.  In the process, I feel you will then get a good understanding of the tool, and how it might be useful for other processes like decision management and project management.

    Intro to SAP StreamWork

    I won’t waste too much time describing StreamWork in this series of posts, except to explain the “idea” of StreamWork, and what its core focus is.  If you wish to dive deeper, you can do so on the StreamWork  web site to watch the demo:  About StreamWork

    StreamWork is an ad-hock “decision support” tool.  It has a bunch of widgets that you can essentially assemble together to form a documented stream of discussions/ideas/topics.  For example, you may want to track strategic initiatives within your company.  You can create a new “activity” in StreamWork that contains a collection of tools like a SWOT analysis, a decision matrix, agendas, pros/cons tables, and more.  The activity stream holds these tools together to allow you to document the process, and track “where” exactly an initiative is in its life-cycle.

    Each tool within the activity can have a set of “action items”.  These become the “tasks” of the system.  So, I may have a tool (as above) where we identify the pros and cons of health care packages for my company.  Within this tool, there may be several tasks.  In this case, I make a single task for my executive team to review the packages, and list out all available pros and cons.  I give them a deadline of the 15th.

    The task is then trackable within the Activity itself, as well as on the overall Activity Dashboard.  (They also get reminder via email, and there is an Outlook connector to sync the task into Outlook).

    To us, this presents the case for tracking our Traction Six Sigma (TSS) project efforts for our customers in a more collaborative format.  Since our TSS processes require a lot of decision and analysis points, we can capture these within StreamWork, as well as keep track of what activity relating to the key decision points is still open.  StreamWork also allows us to extend visibility to the customer using its built-in security functions.

    About This Series

    I have decided to create this post as a “series” of posts over time.  There will be a lot to document.  Each week I will add a link or two to the series, so bookmark the page and check back often.  (Also, each new page will link back to this page, so you can always get back to the “table of contents” if need be).

    Finally, if you have some projects coming up soon, and can’t wait for the whole write-up, feel free to shoot me a call, and I will do my best to help you out.

    Part 1: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Project Vision & ROI 

    Part 2: Creating Your Six Sigma template – 4m

    Part 3: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Affinity Diagram

    Part 4: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Relationship Diagram

    Part 5: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Brainstorming Drivers & Assigning Priority

    Part 6: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Defining Smart Goals

    Part 7: Setting Up Worklists for Smart Goals

    Part 8: Example “First Six Sigma Project” (coming soon)

  • Joe Wichowski 8:09 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Office365 – 2 months in… 

    So far so good.  We are 2 months in.  We had 1 outage for about 3 hours – but only really affected us during the last hour of the work-day.  Other than that, it is working as expected.

    It is essentially what you expect it to be:  Calendar/Email/Scheduling without the associated hardware.

    We have used Sharepoint a little – but since the “drive space” is limited in the Online version, we have used our internal Sharepoint more.  So that really isn’t on our radar right now.  We tend to hog a lot of space with code, documentation, pictures/graphics, and “backups”.

    Lynx is kinda a waste for us – everyone in the office is fairly accessible to each other.  They can essentially just “turn around” and talk to one another.

    A couple of “downers” – a lot of the extended Exchange features require Powershell to set up.  So you will probably need an Admin/Techie if you want to setup a shared email box, or “delegate” reading/writing access to your calendar.  Also, Web Outlook works very well, but cannot “convert an email into a calendar item”.  Instead you have to copy/paste.  Pretty frustrating – this is easily do-able inside the Outlook client.

    We are still a heavy Lotus Notes user for our operations.  The good news is its a seemless switch to Outlook/Exchange.  The doclinks all work as expected – so our “alerts” and newsletters for our support and operations systems come in through Outlook, and we can link directly back into Lotus Notes like we were using Notes email before.


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