This is extremely dangerous and find that it happens in corporate way too many times. I have always thought with companies like yours boosted (GPI) the customer should have a say in how creative and good the individual designer is. I work with a few designers over there in Graphics Packaging and some are more creative than others, but I always try to tell our account rep the good and bad of individual projects.
We deal with the same here, but we tend to operate off of objective. I am very careful when forming those objective for the year.
Wow, that’s two of us. Funny thing is that Six Sigma is so early 1990’s. What does that say about a company that’s just rolling it out? How is it working for GE and Motorola lately? I can’t tell you how much I’ve read about “Post Six Sigma” strategies in the last five years. Some quotes I’ve collected:
“Design may be as important to corporate management today as Six Sigma was in the '90s.” -Business Week, April 2005
“The success of Six Sigma has turned quality into a commodity so much so that it is no longer the determining factor for which brand to buy.” -Tom Peters
“Zero defects is great … in a known environment. But it is Death itself … in Ambiguous Surroundings. So join me. Raise the Flag. 100% Against Zero Defects.” -Tom Peters
I haven’t been six sigma’d yet, but from what I’ve read, it seems like some managers like it because it is a buzz word they can glam onto, like BIM (building information management systems) in architecture, managers don’t even need to really know what it is, they just need to be able to find it on a resume or consultant website.
I do understand that it helps them to predict future outcomes based on past performance, but trying to predict future design outcomes based on past projects is dangerous because it is very difficult to make the big steps forward when you are looking backwards, I mean the blue-sky stuff. I think I read that in the 3M article a few months ago.
One way they “got” me with this type of performance measuring, was to let me chose the areas I was measured in, to give me a buy-in to the the process, and lend legitimacy to the results. When I couldn’t quickly explain why one project was seemingly free of issues, and another was wrought with problems, without launching into deep technical explanation, they could just throw in the, “well, you chose the areas that we are measuring.” I thought it was funny when they asked me why I wasted all this time on the first few unsuccessful concepts, and not just skip to the one that worked, as though I hadn’t used the first few concepts to learn to do the last.