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Applying Lean Six Sigma to Business Continuity Planning. Jason Radde Office of Emergency Response and Recovery Peter Russelburg Office of Performance Improvement GSA Training Conference and Expo 04 May 2010. Agenda. Introduction Background What is Lean Six Sigma?

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Applying Lean Six Sigma to Business Continuity Planning

Jason Radde Office of Emergency Response and RecoveryPeter RusselburgOffice of Performance ImprovementGSA Training Conference and Expo

04 May 2010



  • Introduction
  • Background
  • What is Lean Six Sigma?
  • Continuity Planning and Lean Six Sigma
  • Lean Six Sigma Role
  • GSA Case Study





Lean Six Sigma Background

  • LSS is the private and public industry standard for continuous process improvement
    • Increase throughput
    • Shorten cycle times
    • Reduce defects
    • Lower costs





Wells Fargo


Bank Of America

United Health Group

Cardinal Health

Blue Cross

Home Depot





Johnson Controls

Johnson & Johnson

Lockheed Martin


John Deere









Dow Chemical









  • In recent years, organizations (public/private, large/small) have begun to value the importance of conducting high-quality continuity planning
  • The key to business continuity planning is to fully understand the critical business processes required to support an organization's essential functions, along with the resources are required to deliver them
  • The growing complexity of day-to-day operations and dependencies on strategic business partners and IT systems has amplified the need for organizations to develop reliable Continuity Plans and a resilient infrastructure to ensure a minimum level of service during a disaster
  • Lean and Six Sigma process improvement programs have been used to significantly improve financial and operational performance across all sectors of the commercial business spectrum, and have extended their impact into all major business functions and activities
  • Over the past decade, the public sector has begun to adopt Lean and Six Sigma principles and roll-out internal Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) / Lean Six Sigma (LSS) programs to accommodate budget cuts and staffing reductions, as well as to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability

What is Lean?

  • Focuses on improving speed and efficiency while eliminating waste within business processes
  • Targets the “Seven Deadly Wastes” that plague virtually all businesses
  • Reduces process complexity through the use of pull techniques, lean work methods and sourcing/supplier integration
  • Reaches beyond visible symptoms (defects, waiting, etc.) to address structural factors and the root causes of waste
  • Lean Thinking can be summarized in five principles:
    • “Specify and Focus on Value”
    • “Identify the Value Stream”
    • “Allow Value to Flow Without Interruptions”
    • “Let the Customer Pull Value”
    • “Continuously Pursue Perfection”

Lean is a discipline that aims to systematically eliminate waste and other non-value adding activities while improving the flow of value to the customer.

Lean expands the limited focus of more traditional improvement efforts, leveraging the discipline across all value streams.


Identifying and Eliminating Waste

An approach to identifying and eliminating waste (low value-added activities)

Seven Deadly Wastes

Typical White Collar Process

Excessive Motion

  • Data at different source locations,
  • Manual signature and approval workflow
  • Office equipment distance from work areas

= True Value-Added

Waiting Time


  • Waiting for decisions, approvals, meetings, etc.
  • Functional silos / Lack of Ownership
  • Inappropriate prioritization of work

Searching for Information


  • Focusing on details not valued by customer
  • Employees not empowered by full process visibility forces need for “rule by committee”

Unnecessary Processing


  • Policies prevent task completion
  • Redundant or unnecessary paper work
  • Transcribing information multiple times

Approval Wait Time


  • Re-work of any kind
  • Poorly communicated customer requirements that drive downstream rework

Excessive Inventory

Value-Added Project Work

  • Overstaffing work streams due to lack of understanding of critical path
  • Minimal understanding of bottlenecks

Meetings & Conference Calls

Unnecessary Transportation

  • Multiple unnecessary signatures needed for an approval
  • Circulating products for unnecessary review

What is Six Sigma?

  • Complements Lean by eliminating costly defects and variations from business operations
  • Provides a highly structured approach/process to business improvement through the elimination of variation (defects) in products and service processes (true Six Sigma performance equates to 3.4 DPMO)
  • Ensures that process objectives and outputs are targeted towards customer defined objectives
  • Is typically supported by a “belt” certification program. “Green Belts” and “Black Belts” execute projects under the guidance of Six Sigma “Master Black Belts.”

Six Sigma is a discipline that enables companies to eliminate costly defects in their operations – and realize breakthrough profits.

To achieve this, Six Sigma managers use data and statistical analysis to locate process errors. A "sigma rating" is then determined, which pinpoints the number of defects-per-million-opportunities (DPMO) in any manufacturing, service or transactional procedure.


Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma offers a potent suite of tools used in improving the quality of a company’s operations and support processes





  • Establish project structure and scope
  • Identify the problem
  • Identify factors critical to the process
  • Set goals
  • Project charter
  • SIPOC diagram
  • Problem statement


  • Develop means of input measurement
  • Quantify process capability / determine variation in measurement process
  • Process capability analysis
  • Gage R&R concepts
  • Quality tools
  • Utilize tools to determine key drivers causing variation in process
  • Identify root causes and hypotheses
  • Search for correlations among variables


  • Process mapping, cause and effect
  • Ishikawa diagrams, root cause analysis
  • Pareto analysis, histograms, run charts
  • Quality tools (QFD)
  • Regression analysis, capability analysis
  • Change management concepts
  • Process mapping
  • Prepare organization for change
  • Establish operating tolerances drivers
  • Identify and implement improvements
  • Test new process and solicit feedback



  • Implement controls to ensure improvements are accepted
  • Monitor and adjust process as necessary, focusing on customer’s point of view
  • Mistake proofing concepts
  • Post project metrics
  • Making change last

Continuity Planning and Lean Six Sigma

Continuity Planning Elements

Lean Six Sigma Principles

  • Assess organization functions to identify personnel, materials, processes and equipment necessary to keep the business operating
  • Review process flow charts and identify operations critical to survival/recovery and cross organization interdependencies; including expedited decision-making capability and high-value systems
  • Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance; make sure the individuals involved know their roles and responsibilities, understand your gaps, and plan for how they can be filled
  • Who are the customers and what are their priorities? What is the performance standard?
    • Identify core processes, key customers and customer requirements
    • Engage stakeholders and clearly determine objective
  • How is the process performing today and how is it measured? What might be causing it?
    • Understand the flow of value across an enterprise
    • Understanding workload and capabilities

Continuity Planning and Lean Six Sigma

Continuity Planning Elements

Lean Six Sigma Principles

  • Develop a comprehensive Continuity Plan; with input from major stakeholders and process owners from all Mission Essential Functions
  • Establish procedures for succession of management, and engage suppliers, shippers, resources and other partners in planning
  • Review emergency plans annually to ensure as business/priorities change so does your preparedness requirements
  • What are the most important causes of the process issue?
    • Conduct appropriate analysis – using real data (FMEA, QFD, Root Cause, Cause & Effect, 5-Why, etc)
  • What are the solutions? How do we implement them?
    • Apply LSS philosophy to drive out waste and risk
    • Model and pilot results
    • Execute implementation and deliver relevant training
  • How do we sustain the benefits?
    • Establish control plan
    • Initiate continuous improvement plans

Project Background

  • In May 2007, the President issued National Security Presidential Directive 51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20 (NSPD-51/HSPD-20). The National Continuity Policy is an updated, integrated approach to maintaining a comprehensive and effective continuity capability to ensure the preservation of our constitutional form of government and the continuing performance of National Essential Functions under all conditions.
  • In August 2007, the President approved the National Continuity Policy Implementation Plan (NCPIP), which directed Departments and Agencies (D/As) of the Executive Branch to identify their Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEF) which support the eight National Essential Functions (NEF’s) and directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue Federal Continuity Directives to provide guidance to D/As on how to implement the NCPIP.

GSA Case Study

  • In February 2008, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued Federal Continuity Directive 2 (FCD-2) which provides guidance for D/As on identifying their Mission Essential Functions (MEF’s), and potential PMEF. It further provides direction to D/As on conducting Business Process Analyses (BPA) and Business Impact Analyses (BIA) and the process for submission and approval of the approved PMEF
  • In 2009 the Office of Emergency Response and Recovery embarked on an effort to identify and develop a resilient operational infrastructure for the agency’s PMEF; this effort included the development of a BIA designed to identify assets that support the GSA PMEF, the initial inter-dependencies between them and the potential outage impact following a disruption
  • Building on the results of the BIA Phase I effort, OERR engaged the Office of Performance Improvement’s CPI Program to further zero-in agency MEFs, specifically to de-scope the number of functions and volume of workload covered by the PMEF to establish a more manageable, lower risk requirement

Project Approach

Project Objective

Establish and apply a common interpretation of MEF across the agency, to document, quantify and analyze all critical processes, resources, and dependencies and to develop an effective agency-wide Continuity Plan







  • Clearly define MEF criteria criteria with agency stakeholders, to include defining not just what is in scope, but what is out of scope
  • Document through process mapping / value stream mapping all agency activities that comply with the definition for MEFs as established during the Define Phase
  • Analyze time and resource requirements for each MEF, including risk / resiliency profiles, and contingency options
  • Develop a comprehensive GSA Resiliency Improvement Plan, including highlighting areas with high risk or resiliency deficiencies
  • Begin to execute tactical planning using Continuity Plan and address risk areas / deficiencies with integrated improvement initiatives

Key Activities

  • Define the scope of the project effort and identify key Stakeholders
  • Define MEF selection criteria
  • Develop a prioritization strategy for MEF selection
  • Identify and validate the MEFs (and respective MEF owners)
  • Identify key processes and interdependencies
  • Identify all major inputs and outputs
  • Obtain and analyze current MEF universe
  • Determine MEF outage impact
  • Determine gaps
  • Determine time and resource requirements
  • Determine opportunities to streamline processes
  • Define system requirements
  • Define required modifications to current state operations
  • Ensure MEF owners are aware of their roles in Continuity Planning
  • Deploy improvement efforts to shore up resiliency of operations
  • Conduct integrated planning

Representative Products / Deliverables

  • Data collection results (workload, resources, locations, work volume)
  • Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, Customers (SIPOCs)
  • Value Stream Maps
  • Project Charter
  • Standard MEF definition
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Data Collection Plan
  • Time and Resource vs. Capacity Analysis
  • FMEA
  • 5-Why Analysis
  • MEF QFD – Prioritization Matrix
  • Resiliency Improvement Plan
  • Agency-Wide Out-brief
  • Development of Future Project Charters
  • Contingency Planning Efforts

Define Phase


Typical Deliverables/Tools

  • Develop and deploy a jointly developed standard for agency MEFs
  • Reduce variability in identifying mission essential activities and establish clear guidance on activities qualified as in and out of scope
  • Facilitate the identification of MEF process owners and high-analytical value process documentation

Project Charter

CTQ Tree

Key Success Factors

  • To ensure success, it is critical to get a commitment from the key stakeholders and process owners – as well as rigorously ensure the definition is applied uniformly across a diverse range of business activities

RACI Matrix

Level I Process Map

Phase Objective

Clearly define Mission Essential Function (MEF) criteria with agency stakeholders, to include defining not just what is in scope, but what is out of scope


Measure Phase


Typical Deliverables/Tools

  • Conduct comprehensive process documentation of GSA MEFs
  • Identify and document key processes that support the MEFs, including workload, locations, inputs and outputs, resources, internal and external interdependencies
  • Understand the end-to-end flow of work, and the exact portion of a function that support the MEF itself

Data Collection Plan

Key Success Factors

  • This effort requires a significant time investment and is extremely dependent on the quality of the data collected and open participation on the part of process owners and key stakeholders


Value Stream Maps

Phase Objective

Document through process mapping / value stream mapping all agency activities that comply with the definition for MEFs as established during the Define Phase


Analyze Phase


  • Analyze current state MEF capabilities (across organizations and regions) to assess gaps and vulnerabilities, inter-dependencies, deficiencies, and opportunities to improve enterprise visibility and clarity for the planning process and determine the optimal distribution of key activities and critical infrastructure needs

Pareto Analysis


Key Success Factors

  • The success of this phase is dependent on data quality, but can be enhanced by engaging key process owners and technical experts in the analysis and knowledge sharing regarding enterprise responsibilities

Phase Objective

Analyze time and resource requirements for each MEF, including risk / resiliency profiles, and contingency options

Typical Deliverables/Tools

Cause and Effect Analysis

Quality Function Deployment


Improve Phase


Typical Deliverables/Tools

  • Design a plan that captures the critical activities to support the PMEF, and identifies functional delivery risks
  • Develop a plan that captures the intricate organizational and resource inter-dependencies
  • Develop a plan that reduces the functional and process complexity that can compromise mission effectiveness and process reliability


Prioritization Matrix

Key Success Factors

  • This phase requires broad participation from process owners and stakeholders, with a strong understanding of the core requirements and philosophy driving this effort

Before and After VSM

Phase Objective

Develop a comprehensive GSA Continuity Plan, including highlighting areas with high risk or resiliency deficiencies



Typical Deliverables/Tools

  • GSA will implement a regular test, training, and exercise program based on the requirements and recommendations outlined in the Continuity Plan - designed specifically to test and improve upon GSA’s ability to support the requirements of the PMEF

Implementation Plan

Governance Plan

Key Success Factors

  • A good testing/training program should be designed to challenge capabilities, identify potential risk areas, and document improvement opportunities with the use of realistic, challenging situations

Control Plan

Improvement Charters

Control Phase

Phase Objective

Begin to execute tactical planning using Continuity Plan and address risk areas / deficiencies with integrated improvement initiatives



  • Understanding an organization’s essential functions and critical business processes is key to conducting proper business continuity planning, and Lean Six Sigma offers specific tools and methodologies which can greatly facilitate and improve this process
  • In addition to the direct benefits achieved on the Continuity Planning project, indirect benefits will be gained through an increased knowledge about agency processes that could provide valuable, time-saving support to unrelated improvement efforts
  • The driving cultural transformation behind Lean Six Sigma is the “Continuous Improvement” element – organizations and individuals are empowered to take hard looks at their operations, identify improvement opportunities and pursue them
  • This cultural element is supported by a rigorous training effort directed across the enterprise to help individuals identify waste, with the tools and techniques to eliminate it – but also requires significant outreach and education of senior leadership to inform them of how they can support these types of initiatives


  • If you have any questions about the Continuity Planning effort and/or the Continuous Process Improvement program at GSA please contact:
          • Jason RaddePolicy and Plans Division (DP)Office of Emergency Response and Recoveryjason.radde@gsa.gov202-208-0630
          • or
          • Peter RusselburgCPI Program ManagerOffice of Performance Improvementpeter.russelburg@gsa.gov202-501-3447