Improvement methodologies such as Plan, Do, Check, Act and Six Sigma serve as critical thinking frameworks for managers studying any problems that may arise. Project teams also use these methodologies as they work to improve performance in a particular functional area. Regardless of the model used for an improvement project, assembling a team of people personally knowledgeable about the process to be improved is essential. Composition of the team (the number and identity of the members) and meeting frequency and duration are guided by the process purpose and scope. The questions that influence makeup of the team should include the following:
• What knowledge is required to understand the process and design the actual improvement intervention(s)?
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• How should the team be designed to support the processes needed to accomplish implementation within the project constraints?
The number of team members needed to successfully achieve the project objective will vary. Managers need to take into account the number of staff members that can be taken away from their usual work without adversely affecting services. The optimal size of a team is between five and eight individuals. However, the size of the team is not as important as the diversity of its members. The team should include people who have different roles and perspectives on the process to be improved. Individual contributions during a meeting tend to diminish as the size of the group grows beyond six members.