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Karl Williams

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The Merits of ‘Know-nothing’ Belts and Champions

In the musical Camelot, there is a landmark scene in which King Arthur discusses his dream of a new legal system with Pellinore, the scraggly old king that Arthur adopted into his court. This new legal system would have trials led by a judge and the ultimate verdict would be decided by a group of…

Project Selection in a Critical Software Environment

Careful project selection is critical to the success of a Six Sigma initiative. The best selected projects are the ones with the greatest business impact, the least effort required and the highest probability of success. Good problem statements and objectives clearly communicate the scope, significance, and goals of a project. Primary and secondary metrics will…

Lean First…or Six Sigma?

When initiating process improvement the question often arises which to pursue first – Lean, Agile, Six Sigma or a combination of these tools. There have been case studies surrounding the order of choice – or whether Lean and Six Sigma complement each other at all. Many Six Sigma experts have spent significant time living and…

Implementing Six Sigma Methodology in a Small IT Firm

Leaders of small to medium-sized information technology (IT) businesses are aware of Six Sigma and what it has done for other organizations. However, some think that Six Sigma works only in large businesses. Six Sigma can help improve any organization by providing an important competitive edge. The main thing that prevents these IT firms from…

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CMMI or Six Sigma: Does It Matter Which Comes First?

An organization is getting into process improvement. Should it look at the Software Engineering Institute’s capability maturity model integration (CMMI) first? Six Sigma first? Or both at the same time? This dilemma has confronted many organizations during the last several years. The situation reminds me of a session at a symposium in 1984 at which…

Lessons Learned from an Internal Software Organization

The organization described in this case study is a large insurance company headquartered in the western United States that began exploring Six Sigma about three-and-a-half years ago. The deployment included software development organizations across five regions and was initially driven by vice presidents. The company engaged a Six Sigma consulting firm to lead the effort….

Six Sigma Tools for Every Day Projects and Processes

During a Six Sigma symposium, speaker after speaker presented good information on Six Sigma concepts, tools and approaches to use when working on a Six Sigma project. If these Six Sigma tools, approaches templates, etc., are good for Six Sigma projects, why not use them in day-to-day software development and IT processes? Learning Objectives It…

QFD a Good Tool to Use for Avoiding Product Failure

Several years ago, a company created a wristwatch pager – quite an advancement for its time – combining a wristwatch and pager in one. The developer instituted production quality at near Six Sigma level. Yet, the product never sold. While failure can occur for a number of reasons – quality, cost or being late to market…