Convert DPMO/Sigma to Cpk

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There are several metrics you can use to measure how well your process is performing. Let’s look at three of them and discuss how they are calculated and related. The three are DPMO, Sigma Level and Cpk. Convert DPMO/Sigma to Cpk  Before discussing how you can convert DPMO (defects per million opportunities) to sigma level […]

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Developing Key Performance Indicators

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Key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to ensuring a project team has the performance data it needs to sustain improvements. With KPIs, a team can evaluate the success of a project against its established goals. Types of Metrics There are two types of metrics to consider when selecting KPIs for a project: outcome metrics and […]

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Use Earned Value Management for Process Improvement

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Whenever there is an issue in a process, attempts are made to identify the process step that is causing the problem, identify the root cause and come up with a corrective or preventive action. The time taken to identify the “right” process step is directly proportional to the number of process steps involved and it […]

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Build a Visual Dashboard in 10 Steps

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Three years into the Lean Six Sigma deployment at Ball Corporation (the company known for its glass canning jars), the process improvement team began a visual factory initiative. This initiative was intended to develop visual signs on plant floors that not only instruct employees about where to focus their energies, but also depict the health […]

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Successful LSS Projects Start with Proper Metric Selection

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A successful Lean Six Sigma (LSS) project will produce either breakthrough performance – a shift in the mean or median – or variation reduction – a shift in the standard deviation or variation. How do you know your project has undergone a shift in the process that benefits the business? If there has been a […]

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Case Study: Using Logical Thinking Process Tools

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In 2010, the finance department of a Fortune 500 company established a quality audit (QA) system for the company’s operations. Toward the end of 2011, the general feeling on the floor was that the QA system was effective and the quality of work in the department was improving. The metrics, however, were not improving. A […]

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Reap a Return on Investment

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Return on investment (ROI) measures/evaluates an investment. It can be thought of in general terms as: (gain from investment) (cost of investment) / cost of investment The specifics of a calculation will vary depending upon the type of investment being assessed. The best ROI references on iSixSigma can be found at the following links: Ask […]

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Seeing Opportunity Through 3-DMAIC Glasses

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Everything seems to be available in 3-D these days – movies, magazines and even television – so why not DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control)? The idea may sound silly, but many opportunities go unnoticed because practitioners do not have the right tools in place to see them from different perspectives. The traditional DMAIC process […]

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How to Improve Project Cycle Time

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A common metric many organizations use to assess the performance of their Lean Six Sigma program is project cycle time – the total time from the beginning to the end of a process improvement project, including total process time and all delays. If your organization’s project cycle time is running higher than your targeted rate, […]

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Better Project Management Through Beta Distribution

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As a Six Sigma professional responsible for managing projects, have you ever been asked the following questions? When do you reasonably expect to complete your project? What’s the probability of completing the project on time or on a given date? Which activities on the critical path should you focus your attention on to meet the […]

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The Importance of Implementing Effective Metrics

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When a company promises and delivers on quality, there is a good chance that customer satisfaction and retention will be high. But paving the road to success depends on companies being well-informed about their own business. They achieve that knowledge by developing and utilizing effective metrics. Why Do We Need Metrics? Metrics are used to […]

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 3

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Parts one and two of this series surveyed the work connected with several goals shared by software organizations and Six Sigma (Goals 1-3 in Table 1). We saw that reaching those goals involved establishing systems to identify defects, classify them according to type and point of origin, predict their occurrence, and assess actual defect find […]

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 4

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This article is the last of four parts. It presents a discussion of opportunities for defects (OFD), defects per million opportunities (DPMO) and Sigma levels. When comparing implementations across companies, using the common language of DPMO and Sigma levels will assist in understanding benchmarking data. Parts one, two and three followed a progression of goals […]

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 2

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Part 1 in this series on software defect metrics discussed Goals 1 and 2, which focused on identifying and removing defects in the development process as close to the point of occurrence as possible (Table 1). This installment looks at predicting defect insertion and removal dynamics early in a project and measuring predicted versus actual […]

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 1

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Six Sigma brings sharp focus to customer and business requirements and the defects connected with the failure to satisfy them. While the relevance of that view is clear enough to software professionals, their introduction to Six Sigma is often gets stopped short in questions about how the notions of yield, sigma level, or defects per […]

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Selecting Appropriate Metrics

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A frequently asked question by Six Sigma practitioners is how to select appropriate metrics for a particular organization or process. Considerable material has been written on this subject. This paper focuses on three aspects that should be of interest to Six Sigma practitioners: Why are metrics – and more importantly appropriate metrics – needed? A five-step procedure […]

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Implementing a Customer Satisfaction Metric

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Organizations evaluate themselves by measuring customer satisfaction with their products or services. As organizations evolve, the measurement of customer satisfaction across the entire organization becomes imperative. The first step is for an organization to implement a metric for tracking customer satisfaction. To develop a metric, an organization should explore these questions: Who are its customers? […]

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Six Sigma Opportunity Counting

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Imagine the scenario. Herman and Gary both manage processes for your company. Herman’s process involves a simple matching of supplier invoices to purchase orders. Gary’s process is much more complex. This process involves compliance to government regulations and requires massive amounts of data to be taken, accurately summarized and reported in several different formats to […]

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Time-based Metrics: Accounting for the Differences

Time-based Metrics: Accounting for the Differences

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When plotting data from an improvement project, the difference between a start-based or end-based time series plot can be substantial. Understanding and accounting for this difference will avoid incorrect conclusions and lead to to better results.

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Exploring Defect Containment Metrics in Agile

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While Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and Agile software development seem to have different orientations, there is more linkage than meets the eye. On one hand, DFSS and Agile appear to be at odds: DFSS talks about “stages” and tollgates, which Agile eschews in favor of Lean “single piece” or small batch flow. DFSS talks […]

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Using Effective Metrics to Measure Production Test Flow

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To characterize the effectiveness of productions tests, practitioners often use several types of metrics. Some measure the efficiency of the manufacturing process, while others measure the productivity. While these metrics are useful in many situations, they also come with drawbacks and limitations. One process can be efficient but not productive, while another may have high […]

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Tips for Defining and Collecting IT Process Metrics

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Several information technology (IT) metrics can be developed on the basis of best practice frameworks such as capability maturity model integration (CMMI) and information technology infrastructure library (ITIL). Measuring and collecting such data, which is often part of process improvement initiatives, brings to light what is happening in IT processes. Following are a few tips […]

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Tips for Avoiding Common Metrics Challenges

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Many organizations spend a lot of resources to collect and report a number of metrics without focusing on the proper utilization of them or tracking the return on investment in the effort. In some cases it may be difficult even to find meaningful metrics. Missing the right metrics poses a great risk to business decision-making […]

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Be Consistent in Metric Selection for Six Sigma Projects

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Six Sigma project metrics are typically taught in detail during Black Belt and Green Belt training classes. But the inconsistent use of these metrics after training can lead to lost opportunities and rework after a project ends. Using project metrics consistently brings enormous clarity to the impact and benefit of a Six Sigma project and […]

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