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The World’s Leading Conference on Lean Six Sigma Methodologies


Connecting the Dots from Lean to Six Sigma

Industry: All Industries

Keywords: Connections, Relationships, Linkages

Level: Basic


Lean and Six Sigma developed independently of each other in the mid-to-late 20th century. The origins of what is now known as Lean started shortly after World War II at Toyota. It is more commonly known as the Toyota Production System, and was adapted and updated by many other firms. Six Sigma was first developed by Motorola in the 1980s as a response to quality problems in the production of electronic devices. It grew rapidly in the 1990s and also went through numerous changes and adaptations. These two methodologies were first successfully combined into Lean Six Sigma by The George Group, led by Michael George, around the year 2000. The natural synergies between these two powerful problem-solving approaches yielded significant savings and quality improvements across a wide range of industries which continue to this day. Despite these synergies, for new LSS practitioners these two methodologies can seem to operate somewhat independently.

While the DMAIC process does provide an overarching structure regardless of the type of problem to be solved, the linkage between Lean and Six Sigma can still be fuzzy at best. The key to understanding this linkage lies in Little’s Law, the simple but profound mathematical relationship developed by Dr. John Little during his research at MIT in 1961.

In this presentation, this relationship will be reviewed and explored to show the natural connection between Lean and Six Sigma. Specific tools and methods associated with each methodology will be discussed along with their association to Little’s Law. A brief example will be shared to illustrate this simple but powerful relationship.


RUSS Aikman 

LSS Program Manager,  TMAC/The University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas, TX, USA

Russ has more than 30 years of experience applying proven Continuous Improvement methods in both manufacturing and service. He has worked with smaller companies up to Fortune 500 firms and is especially adept at developing the problem-solving skills of his customers through a combination of training and coaching.

Russ has deep knowledge of Lean Six Sigma (LSS), a structured approach to problem-solving focused on financial impact. His customers benefit not only from improvements to their processes but also to staff who learn LSS skills they use to become future leaders at their companies. Areas of Expertise:

Russ is the Program Manager for Lean Six Sigma. Since starting the LSS Program at TMAC in 2003 he has taught over 100 classes and provided project coaching for over 700 individuals. In addition, he has worked closely with managers at over 25 different firms on program deployment challenges ranging from selecting projects to choosing candidates for training to sustaining results. A LSS Master Black Belt, Russ is qualified to teach all of the following classes:

• LSS Green Belt

• LSS Black Belt

• LSS Master Black Belt

• LSS Sponsor & Champion Workshop

Educated as an Industrial Engineer, Russ has worked as a Process Engineer, Quality Engineer, Lean Consultant, ISO 9000 Auditor, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He has worked for TMAC since 1996. Relevant Assignments:Russ has taught over 100 LSS Master Black Belt, Black Belt, Green Belt, and Executive training courses. He has also provided coaching for dozens of individuals on their projects prior to their certification as LSS Black Belts and Green Belts. He has worked in a wide variety of industries including manufacturers (aerospace, food & beverage, oil & gas equipment, building materials, clothing), services (healthcare, logistics, banking, insurance, utilities, retail), and government (city to federal). Russ has provided onsite support for companies in the United States, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and England.


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