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Signs That Your LSS Deployment Is Failing

Presenter: Ken Feldman, Principal Consultant, Optec Consulting, Aventura, FL, USA

Keywords: Deployment, Failing, LSS

Industry: Financial Services, Manufacturing, Service

Level: Intermediate


The graveyard of LSS deployments is filled with well-intentioned organizations who went from a state of healthy activity to a terminal state. Some were slow and agonizing deaths while others were more rapid.

Each year at the conference we hear tales of woe regarding a sputtering or dying deployment. This presentation will offer some signs or signals that participants might look for in their deployments.

This presentation will start with a few quick questions to the audience for a response. For example:

1. How many of you have been part of a deployment which is effectively dead today?

2. How many of you feel that your current deployment may be in a death spiral?

It is difficult to predict and react to save a victim who had a heart attack or stroke although there are a few indicators. Recovery is slow if not impossible. It is unlikely that a Lean Six Sigma deployment that abruptly changes course can be predicted and the eventual death spiral stopped in time, but there will usually be some leading indicator of eventual heart attack or stroke. I will focus primarily on those that are going through the "death of a thousand cuts" rather than the guillotine. I will present 10 signs or signals that I have personally observed and been part of in previous Lean Six Sigma deployments. A few example of those are:

1. The dumbing down of training and skills development

2. The slackening of senior level engagement and support

3. The drift away from the selection of high-value projects

4. The failure to track and monitor benefits

The discussion of each will present a clear explanation of what to look for so that an organization can possibly put some corrective action in place to halt the slide. Some level of discussion as to possible actions will take place. The signs presented will include a cross-section of different industries.

Participating Organizations at the Lean & Six Sigma  World Conference

Government Agencies

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health & Human Svcs.
  • Department of Homeland Security

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • NASA
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • Pentagon
  • U.S. Air Force

  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Veterans Affairs
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers


  • AIG
  • Alcoa
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America Corp
  • BASF Corporation
  • Bayer Corporation
  • BMW
  • The Boeing Company
  • Bose Corporation
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Cardinal Health
  • Caterpillar
  • Chrysler Corporation
  • Chevron
  • Cisco Systems
  • Coca-Cola
  • Comcast
  • Daimler Chrysler
  • Disney
  • Dow Chemical

  • Dr Pepper 
  • Duracell
  • Dupont
  • Eastman Kodak
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Fedex
  • Ford Motor
  • General Electric 
  • General Motors
  • Gillette
  • Goodyear Tire
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Honeywell
  • Humana
  • IBM
  • Kohler
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Macy’s
  • M&M/Mars
  • ManpowerGroup
  • Maytag Appliances
  • Mercedes
  • Merck
  • Mitsubishi
  • Mobil Chemical
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Nestle 
  • Northrop Grumman
  • PepsiCo
  • Philip Morris International
  • PNC Financial Services Group
  • Pfizer
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Prudential
  • Raytheon
  • Rolls Royce Allison
  • Target
  • Johnson & Johnson 
  • Schindler Elevator Corporation
  • Schneider Electric
  • Shell
  • Siemens
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Staples
  • Tesla
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Qualcomm
  • Underwriter Laboratories
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • United Technologies
  • Union Pacific
  • UPS
  • USAA
  • Verizon
  • Walmart
  • Wells Fargo
  • Westinghouse
  • Whirlpool
  • Xerox


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