Lean Six Sigma Tools - Downloadable Files with Instruction


Project Charter.  Use our project charter format to describe the scope, goals, team and timeframe of the problem you are targeting to solve through the use of the powerful DMAIC Lean Six Sigma methodology.  There are two formats of this file, one is in WORD and the other in POWERPOINT.

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Net Promoter Score. Use the net promoter score to determine your customers’ loyalty to your product/service.  Included in this short module is a description of what is Net Promoter Score along with how to use it to quantify and qualify Voice of Customer.

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SIPOC. Use this powerpoint template to document your high level process map on one page.

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Hoshin Deployment Matrix. The purpose of the Hoshin Kanri X Matrix Template for Lean Policy Deployment is to develop and implement plans that are strategic, tactical, and coordinated across people across the organization. The X-Matrix also ensures there is ownership at all levels and accountability, encourages organizational learning, faster course corrections, and cross departmental coordination. Hoshin means “Shining Metal Pointing Direction” in other words, it’s a compass that points to True North for your organization.  This template was developed by The Lean Methods Group and can also be found on their website.  https://www.leanmethods.com/

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Balanced Scorecard. The balanced scorecard is a top-down approach that establishes the organization’s vision and strategy using metrics that address each of these four areas to link objectives: Customer Perspective, Financial Measurements, Internal Business Operations, Learning and growth.

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Stakeholder Analysis. This excel template can be used to document the project’s stakeholders, their current level of support and the desired level of support required for the project’s success.

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CTQ or Cause & Effect Matrix. Use this matrix to relate your customers’ CTQ’s to your processes’ or potential solutions. The output is a rating which will help your team to prioritize where to start your improvement effort or to implement your solution.

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Project CTQ and Voice of the Customer Data Collection Requirements. Use this word-based template to work with a team to identify the customer and the data required in order to document the customers’ Voice, known as VOC.

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Selecting Y Checklist.  Selecting the proper Y (output) variable for your process is not necessarily simple. Use this template with your team to determine the best possible Y metric for your project, based upon key criteria which are outlined in the checklist.

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Sample Size Calculator.  Use this tool to determine the appropriate sample size based upon your data collection requirements.

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Data Collection Plan.  Every data collection effort should be accompanied by a data collection plan which you will use to think through the data required as well as the methods to collect the data.  Use this data collection plan to ensure you have documented the most important elements of this effort.  Additionally, use the template to work through your measurement system analysis requirements and document the results of your MSA Study.  The data collection plan checklist is a useful tool to ensure you have evaluated your plan against best practice methods to ensure you collect data which are reliable, and which properly reflect the process you are attempting to characterize.

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Six Sigma Calculator for Discrete Data.  Use this excel-based template to calculate Sigma Values to indicate how capable your process is of delivering defect-free products and/or services.

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Improvement goal.  Use this template to document your improvement goal which is the last deliverable in the measure phase.

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Data Plan Communication template.  Use this template to document a communication plan which can be used as you communicate any of the key Lean Six Sigma deliverables, project results or plans to collect data or implement solutions.

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Minitab Cheat Sheet.  This complete presentation gives an introduction to Minitab software so that users can build from no knowledge to grow their understanding of how to use this powerful tool.  Included are cheat sheets for each tool utilized in Minitab, cross referenced to relate to the Six Sigma data or tool requirement.

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Z Tables.  This file shows the Z tables and allows users to calculate their probability of a defect (P(d)), DPMO or Yield given different Z values.

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Control vs impact matrix.  This simple matrix, in powerpoint format, can be used by your team to determine and demonstrate which of all of the X’s (root causes) contribute the most to your Y (output) measurement and directly affect your customers’ Critical to Quality (CTQ) characteristics.

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Cause and Effect (fishbone) Diagram.  Use this easy-to-input template to create a powerpoint chart documenting your team discussion focused on the cause(s) for failure or defect.  Two templates are provided. The first is focused on the 6M’s (Man, Method,  Materials, Mother Nature, Measurement and Means) and the second on Waste (using the DOWNTIME acronym).

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Value Added/Cycle Time Analysis tool.  This excel-based tool enables the use of a Lean Technique designed to ascertain the percentage of your process which is Value-Adding, Value-Enabling, or Non-Value Adding.  Descriptions of each of these categories is included as are all calculations required to determine the appropriate percentages.

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FAILURE MODE & EFFECTS ANALYSIS (FMEA).  This excel-based template allows a team to document failure modes for potential or actual processes and services.  The team can use the tool to identify: What can Fail, How it Can Fail, Estimate Risk of Failure, Determine Effect of Failure, Evaluate Control Plans to Detect or Prevent Failure and Prioritize Actions to take.  The template also includes a section to document action taken and re-evaluate the risk of failure, known as the “Risk Priority Number or RPN”.

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TAKT time and Work Balance Load Chart.  Use this excel-based template to generate a work balance load chart to determine which process steps have greater or smaller cycle times than what is required by the customer demand rate reflected in your TAKT time.

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GEMBA ‘Waste Walk’ worksheet.  Use this template to document waste in your GEMBA walks.  There are two files to consider.  One in PowerPoint and the other in excel format.

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Time observation tool. Use this template to collect data regarding process step cycle time.  The excel-based template provides columns for each process step in your value stream as well as ones dedicated to waiting or delay steps.  It also includes enough rows to ensure a minimum samples size of 10 units, each of which is observed as it travels through the value stream.

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KANBAN calculation.  Use this template to determine advisable KANBAN quantities per container as well as the number of containers/cards required for your process to ensure proper flow without building excess inventory.

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Beta Risk Calculator. Use this excel template to calculate alpha and beta risk given a certain sample size, mean, standard deviation and delta difference you are looking to detect.


Conducting a Kaizen Lean Event.  Use this excel-based template to prepare for your Kaizen Lean Event.  Included are each of the 3 phases of an event: Preparation, Event Facilitation and Post-Event Follow-up

  • Preparation: Pre-kaizen checklist
  • Facilitating the Event: Recommended agenda
  • Follow-up: Kaizen newspaper

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Risk Assessment.  Use this excel-based tool to plan ahead for the implementation of a pilot, new product/service or improvement plan.  The tool documents a team’s discussion regarding risks that could negatively affect the project.  The template allows for the identification, prioritization and documentation of proposed abatement actions.

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Pilot Checklist.  Use the pilot checklist to think through how you will implement your pilot ahead of time in order to ensure you maximize your team’s energy and effort as they implement a piloted solution.

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Sustained Solution and Pilot evaluation.  Use this evaluation form to document the results of your pilot, including both solution performance results as well as an evaluation of the pilot itself more broadly and of the learning achieved.

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Developing the proposed solution.  This word document is designed to walk you through the ‘proposed solution’ deliverable.  It will help you think through your approach to the Improve phase, given the types of X’s you’ve identified, as well as provide a checklist to ensure the team properly evaluates solutions by using “Musts” and “Wants” criteria.

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Control Plan.   Every Lean Six Sigma project must have a control plan to ensure that improvement is sustained and that there is accountability for ongoing continuous improvement efforts.  Ideally, the ‘process owner’ will own the control plan and ensure its recommended measurement and response plans are followed and reported to the value stream manager responsible to update leadership team(s) as well as the customer.

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Sustain improvement checklist.  This checklist is used to document the final results of the project’s sustained solution.  It is used after the control plan has been implemented and the final solution has been implemented.

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Project documentation checklist.  This checklist can be used to ensure the team gathers and communicates the required documentation to ensure future teams learn from the current project experience.

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Radar Diagram.  The radar diagram is used to display several metrics at once for a particular (or multiple) value stream(s).  It can be used to assess what the next priorities should be for improvement effort.

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  • dmaic-300x256


    14 Required Deliverable Tollgates

Define Phase - Deliverables

Define 1: Project CTQ’s – Critical To Quality Characteristics.  The first deliverable starts the project off with a focus on the customer as the team uses Voice of the Customer techniques to document the customers’ CTQ’s.


Define 2: Approved Charter.  Next the team must identify all project stakeholders to develop a project charter which will determine the project’s focus, timing, goals, business case, core and extended team members and sponsoring leadership.

Define 3: Process Map.  Early in the project’s life, the team will document a high level view of the process which details the series of steps required to execute the process.  The map will also include the process’: customers, suppliers, inputs required and output(s) delivered to the customer.


Measure Phase - Deliverables

Measure 4:  Project Y & Performance Standards.  The measure phase commences with a selection of the metric(s) that most directly reflects the customers’ CTQ(s).   This metric is known as the Y variable.  Customers and key stakeholders will be consulted to determine acceptable performance standards for the Y metric.   This performance standard will enable the team to determine what is a ‘defect’.

Measure 5:  Data Collection Plan & Validated Measurement System.  The key output of the measurement phase is a baseline of the current process’ performance.  Teams must document their approach to data collection and validate that their measurement system does not introduce significant variability simply in the way the data are being gathered.  With this required deliverable complete, the team can be assured that their measurement baseline accurately reflects the actual process.

Measure 6:  Data for Project Y.  The team gathers the data to baseline their process’ current performance.

Measure 7:  Process Capability for Project Y.  This deliverable is a statistical calculation based upon the data gathered in deliverable six.  It is a measurement of how many defects are generated in their current process out of the total opportunities to create a defect.  Process capability provides the baseline measurement against which future improvement efforts will be assessed. 

Measure 8:  Improvement Goal for Project Y.  The last deliverable of the measure phase ensures that the team sets a goal that reflects the project charter and is also based upon current performance. 

looking for defects

Analyze Phase - Deliverables

Analyze 9: Prioritized List of All X’s.  As the team begins the analyze phase, they will gather all information from the Define and Measure phases and will also utilize additional tools to identify a complete list of root causes which are driving performance in the Y metric.  These root causes are termed “X”’s in Six Sigma terminology.

Fishbone diagram - many uses in the manufacturing industry.

Analyze 10: List of the Vital Few X’s.  The team will continue to work with the list of X’s, evaluating each one to determine if it is a ‘vital x’ driving a significant proportion of the defects in the Y metric.  If the X is proven to be a ‘vital x’, solutions will be developed to address this X in the Improve phase.  If the X is determined to be a ‘trivial many’ X, in other words it is not driving a significant percentage of the variation in Y, it will be documented but not pursued in the Improve phase.

Improve Phase - Deliverables

Improve 11:  Proposed Solution.  The Vital Few X’s will advance to the first deliverable of the Improve phase as the team determines what strategy to use to develop proposed solutions which will address each of these X’s.  Alternative solutions will be considered, and the best will be selected and prepared for pilot.

A person climbing over the word Mistake to reach new heights and attain success despite past errors
3d rendering of a mobile crane lifting the last letters in place to spell the word DESIGN, to illustrate the concept of building a design..

Improve 12:  Piloted Solution.  The piloted solution is a process improvement that has been tested on a small scale in a real business environment. A successful pilot is one in which the piloted solution meets the project performance goals (and the ‘musts’ criteria).

Control Phase - Deliverables

Control 13:  Sustained Solution.  A sustained solution is a fully implemented and statistically confirmed process improvement that is supported with a control plan to ensure it remains in place over time.  For a solution to be sustained, a control plan must be put in place which addresses each Y and vital X.

Control 14:  Project Documentation.  Documentation is a necessary step to ensure that the learning gained via improvement is shared and institutionalized.  By doing this, the team will cement the gains of improvement as well as build supporting organizational systems and structures for future projects.

Image of business partners hands on top of each other symbolizing companionship and unity

Recommended books/reference materials

Six Sigma Reference Materials

  • Lean Six Sigma & Minitab: the Complete Toolbox Guide for all Lean Six Sigma Practitioners. By Quentin Brook.  Opex Resources LTD. 2014.
  • Lean Six Sigma for Service: How to use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to improve Services and Transactions: Michael George. McGraw-Hill. 2003.
  • Applied Statistics for Business and Management using Microsoft Excel. Linda Herkenhoff and John Fogli.  Springer Science and Business Media. 2013.
  • Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals: Improving patient safety, patient flow and the bottom line. Jay Arthur.  McGraw-Hill 2016.
  • Lean Six sigma; A Tools Guide, 2nd edition. Murray Adams, Mark Kiemele, Lee Pollock and Tom Quan.  Air Academy Associates LLC. 2004.
  • Facilitator’s Guide …Facilitation at a Glance: Your Pocket Guide to Facilitation (Memory Jogger) by Ingrid Bens, GOALQPC and Janet MacCausland
  • 75 Icebreakers for Great Gatherings. Nan Booth.  Brighton Publications.  1999.

Lean Reference Materials

  • The Toyota Way.  Jeffrey K. Liker.  McGraw-Hill.  2004.
  • The Machine that changed the world. by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos. Free Press.  1990
  • The Goal. Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox  The North River Press Publishing Corporation.  4th edition 2014.
  • Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma Quality with Lean Speed: McGraw-Hill. 2002.
  • Lean Six Sigma for Service: How to use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to improve Services and Transactions: Michael George. McGraw-Hill. 2003.
  • Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals: Improving patient safety, patient flow and the bottom line. Jay Arthur.  McGraw-Hill 2016.