The Six Sigma Handbook Revised and Expanded: A Complete Guide for Greenbelts, Blackbelts, and Managers at All Levels

K. Narasimhan (Learning and Teaching Fellow, Bolton Institute, Bolton, UK)

The TQM Magazine

ISSN: 0954-478X

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Narasimhan, K. (2004), "The Six Sigma Handbook Revised and Expanded: A Complete Guide for Greenbelts, Blackbelts, and Managers at All Levels", The TQM Magazine, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 426-427.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book by Thomas Pyzdek is really an expanded version of his previous comprehensive book on Six Sigma (SS), which gave a complete overview of the management and organization, the philosophy underlying it, and the most often used problem‐solving tools and techniques. Thomas Pyzdek, a Fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), is a quality consultant whose clients include Boeing, Intuit and other leading companies. He lectures around the world on SS and related topics.

This comprehensive book on SS comprises 20 chapters grouped into two parts, and an appendix that contains a glossary of basic statistical terms and useful tables, graphs, etc. Compared to the first edition, reviewed in this journal, this revised edition contains less discussion of theory and more information on application, including the use of statistical software MINITAB.

Part I, on SS implementation and management, comprises six chapters and is intended for senior leaders and managers entrusted with developing SS strategies and their deployment. Chapter 1 briefly explains what Six Sigma (SS) is, and the necessary ingredients for building a sound foundation for implementing SS. Roles and responsibilities of various change agents such as the Executive SS Council, the Director of SS, Master Black Belt, etc., are covered in some depth. Chapter 2 covers SS goals and the characteristics of metrics required to generate optimal behavior, and the application of balanced scorecard in creating the right Dashboard metrics and benchmarking.

Creating customer‐driven organizations forms the topic of chapter 3, in which the key differences between traditional and customer‐driven organizations are highlighted. Ways of evaluating customer perceptions using surveys and focus groups, the basics of Kano's model of customer expectations (no reference is provided), and the application of Quality Function Deployment (or House of Quality) are also dealt with. Two short chapters – chapters 4 and 5 – deal respectively with training for SS and what SS team members can do to ensure successful implementation. Chapter 6 is a discussion of every aspect of selecting and tracking SS projects. It is emphasized that a sloppy selection process could result in a failure of the entire SS effort. A comprehensive project evaluation worksheet is provided. The basics of validating financial results with the use of net present value calculations and the cost of (poor) quality are also briefly covered.

Part II comprises 14 chapters. The first is an introduction to the DMAIC (Define‐Measure‐Analyze‐Improve‐Control) framework and Plan‐Do‐Check (Study)‐Act model. The tools and techniques of SS are covered in the next 11 chapters. Chapters 19 and 20 deal respectively with design for SS (the five steps are described), and lean manufacturing (reducing waste systematically) and SS. Chapters 8 to 18 deal with the tools employed in the different stages of the DMAIC approach.

In chapter 8, dealing with the “Define” phase, the use of the seven basic problem‐solving tools and the seven management planning tools are explained. The latter seven tools dealt with are affinity, tree, and matrix diagrams; process decision program charts; inter‐relationship diagraphs; prioritization matrices and activity network diagrams. The tools used for the “Measure” phase are covered in two chapters. Chapter 9 deals with the basic principles of measurement, such as measurement scales, distributions, statistical inference and hypothesis testing, and statistical process control. The next chapter covers the application of control charts to quantify a measurement system's capability in terms of discrimination, stability, bias, repeatability, reproducibility and variation.

The “Analyze” phase comprises four chapters. The subject of data presentation tools time‐series analysis is addressed at the basic level in chapter 11. The application of statistical process control techniques for use with both attribute and continuous data, and the use of exponentially weighted moving averages, are explained in some depth in chapter 12. Chapters 13 and 14 respectively cover process capability analysis and the application of correlation and regression analysis and non‐parametric tests in attributing causes to effects.

The three chapters on the “Improve” phase deal with the topics of managing SS projects, risk assessment (using reliability analysis and failure mode effect analysis), and design of experiments. The final chapter of the DMAIC approach explains how to counter creeping disorder and battle against entropy, and ensure that the gains accrued by the application of SS are permanent.

The 82‐page appendix comprises 21 tables. The first table is six‐page glossary of terms. There are 16 key statistical tables used in Six Sigma quality management. A sample customer (patient satisfaction) survey, Black Belt and Green Belt Certification forms and guidelines are also included. There is comprehensive and useful bibliography.

The text is well written and easy to read, except for chapters 11 and 12, which require knowledge of statistics. This is a useful book for managers in organizations, even if they are not intending to implement Six Sigma, as the principles and practices can still be gainfully employed.

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