When Jorge Perez noticed project management efforts were often haphazard and unfocused at the YMCA of the USA, he decided to complete a Green Belt-level training course, and wanted to introduce Six Sigma to the youth development department. The goal was to introduce a new method for managing and tracking projects into the organization.
He helped setup a project team that used Six Sigma tools to improve the culture of the organization’s summer day camp. As staff became more comfortable using Six Sigma, project work became more organized and data-driven, and the project team exceeded its first-year goals.
Upgrading the Day Camps program would ensure every child learned something every single day at camp, made a friend at camp, and formed a connection to the Y. Perez said the project team created tools and staff practices that encouraged a connection around the three factors identified as necessary for improving the day camp culture. The project goal was to disseminate the newly developed day camp program model to the movement (the local YMCA branches around the country that offer day camp) during the summer 2015, and to achieve a 75 percent adoption rate by 2017.
The team used a fishbone diagram to identify why local YMCA’s were not adopting the upgraded day camp program.
Upon studying the feedback from the pilot phase and making some changes to strengthen the day camp offering, leadership rolled out the upgraded model to the movement for the summer 2015 programs.
The upgraded program met its goal of at least 40 percent adoption when 357 YMCAs offered day camp in summer 2015. The goal increases to 60 percent in 2016, and then 75 percent in 2017.
The Six Sigma methodology also helps the youth development staff communicate better with those working in other Y-USA departments. The Six Sigma principles enable staff to organize their work and communicate more effectively with co-workers in other departments. She and her colleagues use the DMAIC model to share project
information with colleagues who might not have first-hand knowledge of her department’s goals or the selected path forward on a particular project.
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