I found this today and it’s a great to-the-point description. How many feel that some of this is just common sense?
Law Zero: The Law of the Market – ensuring quality is absolutely central to the continued success of a business. Although Lean management stresses the importance of not overspending, of avoiding excess, it is not the case that you can get away with going too far in this respect. The quality needs to come up to the customer’s standards – this is measured as a “Customer Critical to Quality” score. Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) and Net Present value (NPV) are the other scores on which a project needs to pass muster if it is to be judged a success.
Law 1: The Law of Flexibility – it is important that a process can be turned around in the time allotted to it. Setting a deadline that requires working at breakneck pace around the clock may seem like a way of getting the workforce to get down to it, but if anything goes wrong – and this happens despite the best laid plans – then there is zero flexibility in order to quickly amend the process. A process will work quicker if there is a decent level of flexibility within it.
Law 2: The Law of Focus – it is a commonly held principle that in any process, 20% of the activities will cause 80% of the delay. Focusing on the activities likely to delay the process, then, will speed the process as a consequence. The nature of Six Sigma means that the act of focusing on the activities likely to cause delay does not mean there will be slippage in the other aspects, as these duties will be assigned to people who can ensure their prompt delivery.
Law 3: The Law of Velocity – the speed of any process is inversely proportional to the amount of work in progress. Therefore, ensuring that work is completed in the quickest possible time will ensure that the project as a whole is delivered as promptly as possible. This basically entails delivering work to another part of the project on schedule so that the people involved in further work can do their job without having to wait.
Law 4: The Law of Complexity – the more complex a job is, the more excess work and costs will be incurred. Making the job as simple as possible therefore removes the danger of poor quality or slow speed, and allows the job to be completed on time.
As for why the first law is “Law Zero”? Well, this is because it is a base from which all the other laws can be observed, and therefore a starting point. Without this law, there are no others. It is therefore less a step in the process, more an indispensable principle.