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Six Sigma & Business Process Management
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What is Differences Between Six Sigma and Business Process Management? SiteMap

Having started my career as a quality consultant and then moving on to reengineering, activity based management, lean, and process management, I notices that many of these techniques had very similar concepts but used different words.

For example, the folks who promote lean talk about a value stream. However, when I asked them to explain the different between a value stream and a business process they were hard pressed. Finally they concluded that although there may be some differences between a business process and a value stream, they are both very similar.

Six Sigma is a subset of Total Quality Management. Six sigma simplified quality for many organizations and thus made it more attractive to implement. Six sigma was started at Motorola and made popular by some former employees.

If you read the literature on Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Black Belts, Kaizen, and Malcolm Baldrige, you will find great similarities between these techniques.  You will also find great similarities between these techniques and Business Process Management. It just depends on what consultant you speak with and what their implementation philosophy is.

My former boss worked with both Juran and Deming and knew Phil Crosby. These were the big 3 in the quality movement. When asked which approach to quality a company should employee, my boss would say:

  • If you have a bunch of engineers, you might want to take the Deming approach which is more mathematical and statistical than the others.
  • If you have a bunch of sales people, you might want to take the Phil Crosby approach which was the least statistical of the 3.
  • If you were somewhere in the middle, you might want to take the Juran approach who was in the middle of Deming and Crosby in his approach to quality.

Total Quality Management and Six Sigma focuses on defining, managing, and improving processes.

Business Process Management also focuses on defining, managing, and improving processes.

Because of the culture and commitment of different organizations some will find six sigma using black belts works for them. I have worked with other organizations where I was called in because a six sigma program had failed. It could have been the consultant, the dedication to six sigma, the statistics used, or something else, but neither six sigma nor business process management always works.

Do if you are a disciple on one technique, just realize each technique can work in any organizations. However, neither technique always works. So try the one that makes the most sense for your organization or the one where you have a very enthusiastic manager. If it works fine,  However, if one technique does not work, then be open to the other technique.

Call John Antos, Jim Brimson or Pat Dowdle at 972-980-7407 to find out how Process Management can improve results.

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