Case Studies

Global Engineering and Project Management Company

Operational Excellence

  • North American business unit of a global engineering and project management company with ~700 FTEs
  • BU had previous failed attempts to apply lean six sigma to create a culture of continuous improvement
  • New leadership was looking for better, more durable way to improve the culture, increase employee engagement, and help the business become more profitable
  • Highly price competitive market where operational excellence (highly productive workforce that could deliver high quality products and services) was a key strategic driver of success
  • Bureaucratic organization had created a lot of approval heavy processes and barriers to execution
  • Complex products and customer requirements made it difficult to standardize products and processes
  • History of top-down attempts at continuous improvement and operational excellence left many employees resistant to yet another program
  • Operational diagnostic and mirror workshop with senior leaders to help them see and align on opportunities for improvement to their culture on all three dimensions (I, We, and the It)
  • Built and trained a small internal team of continuous improvement (CI) coaches and facilitators to enable the transformation
  • Conducted structured improvement waves to engage employees in driving improvement and embedding CI capabilities within the organization. Waves consisted of:
    • Mindset preparation and CI training (2-day workshop) to build ownership and accountability for improvement with a group of leaders and employees responsible for performance of a value stream
    • Value stream mapping workshop (3-day workshop) to engage this same group in understanding patterns of waste in current processes, designing a higher performing future state, and establishing a portfolio of prioritized improvement projects to realize this future state
    • Establishment of improvement and management systems/routines to drive CI through the line organization with help from CI coaches (e.g., weekly Big Room review of improvement projects, regular coaching for people owning problem solving efforts, etc.)
  • Continued engagement with and coaching to senior leaders so they can role model and support desired culture of continuous improvement and enable success of line-led improvement projects



  • ~$2M in direct financial impact in Year 1 attributable to CI projects alone; amount covered all costs to stand up the CI program and more
  • ~$4M in direct financial impact in Year 2
  • Key enabler of improved price competitiveness and improved employee engagement across NA