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Process Improvement, Six Sigma

Use a SIPOC to bring process stakeholders together before mapping their processes

I’ve been helping a client to define the scope of a process in preparation for an IT-enabled change project.  This is an essential first step, before you rush off and start drawing process maps.  In the particular case we were looking at, it helped bring together people from different departments to get a common understanding of the scope of the process. One of the benefits was achieving agreement on the need to map the new “To Be” process rather than spending lots of time capturing the “As Is” with all its current flaws and workarounds.

Whenever you are planning process management or improvement activity, it’s important to get a high-level understanding of the scope of the process first.  A SIPOC Process Definition helps the Process Owner and those working on the process to agree the boundaries of what they will be working on.

It provides a structured way to discuss the process and get consensus on what it involves before rushing off and drawing process maps.  Although it’s widely used in Six Sigma, its principles are very relevant for any process management or improvement activity.

SIPOC is an abbreviation of:

Suppliers – Inputs – Process – Outputs – Customers

It provides a template for defining a process, before you begin to map, measure, or improve it.

I often extend the content of a SIPOC to include the purpose of the process, name of the Process Owner and additional details about its boundaries…

SIPOC Process Definition
SIPOC Process Definition

It shouldn’t take you long to produce a SIPOC and it’s a worthwhile investment to ensure clarity.

Download the full article on how to create a useful SIPOC Process Definition.

Download a SIPOC SIPOC Template in MS Word.

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