Software Project Management Meets Six Sigma

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Part 1: Bottom-up Project Duration and Variation Prediction. A number of recent posts in the iSixSigma Software Forum have inquired about the application of Six Sigma methods to Software Project Management. In particular, how might we look at software project duration as a key project-planning and execution output (a “Y” in common Six Sigma terms), […]

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

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This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six […]

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study – Part 2

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This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six Sigma program for software development, […]

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Lowering the Cost of Ownership for Software Lifecycles

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How will we remember the past eighteen months? Many will remember it as a time of economic slump, with lay-offs, low spending and a war in Iraq. The economic situation is not likely to improve during the remainder of 2003, leading organizations to focus on delivering value to their customers while demonstrating hard return-on-investment. Any […]

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Six Sigma for Software – A Role Based System

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Part 1 in a series exploring Six Sigma Deployment for Software and IT Organizations Because the application of the Six Sigma methodology is relatively new to Software and IT, many of the readers of this web site may be unclear as to the methods of deploying Six Sigma into an organization successfully. From participation in […]

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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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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 Meets Software Development

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Six Sigma is a mantra that many of the most successful organizations in the world swear by and the trend is getting hotter by the day. So much so that corporations like GE insist that every project be a Six Sigma project. The Six Sigma methodology has indeed made a tangible difference to the bottom […]

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Tailoring Six Sigma to Software Development

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As the popularity of Lean Six Sigma techniques expands into software and technology environments, the notion that these methods and tools can provide a quick fix, unrealistic results or a panacea (for all that is wrong) has been proliferated. Some of these notions are further compounded by the reality that many of these environments are […]

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Phased Deployment Model Helps Six Sigma Succeed in IT

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Lean Six Sigma for information technology (IT) is still maturing and has not hit the critical mass to transform the industry to its next level, as it has in other industries in the past 10 years. This may be due in part to common myths about Lean Six Sigma for IT. These myths include: IT […]

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Six Sigma in the Information Technology Services Sector

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Challenges Faced Today Offer Solutions for Tomorrow Six Sigma has come a long way from statistically oriented tools to today’s “not so data driven” tools like Lean and quality function deployment (QFD). The application of Six Sigma across different sectors has made this change from statistical tools to softer tools possible. The methodologies and framework […]

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Six Sigma in Data Warehousing Domain – IT Case Study

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Most quality professionals recognize that Six Sigma is a breakthrough strategy. They understand that the methodology uses data to measure current process effectiveness and to validate improvement; uses proven statistical and quality tools to identify process gaps and improvement solutions; and uses change management processes for institutionalizing and integrating improvements in an organizations’ operational and […]

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Improved IT Project Forecasting Through Six Sigma

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The various costs of an information technology (IT) project is forecast at the beginning of the fiscal year and usually re-forecast at the end of each month based on the actual spending pattern. Variation in the IT project forecasting process can result in either underspent or overspent budgets. As is true in most processes, variation […]

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Activities vs. Performance: Improvement, Common Sense

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Most organizations have a strong bias toward planning, managing and executing a multitude of supposedly value-added activities hoping that these (often isolated) activities will yield significant results. In rare cases, activities are spawned by careful strategic planning, tracked regularly by performance data, reviewed for adjustments and improvements and integrated across functions, divisions and geographies. However, […]

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Usage-based Models Improve Odds in Software Testing

Usage-based Models Improve Odds in Software Testing

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While software testing is challenging because the properties to be tested can be hard to define and measure, one test approach – often called usage-based – has statistical roots and connections that Lean Six Sigma Black Belts could effectively support and perhaps evolve.

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ITIL and Six Sigma Make a Winning Combination for IT

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The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Six Sigma have both been successfully employed to improve the quality of information technology (IT) services. Often the two approaches, although distinctly different but with a common focus on customer satisfaction at their core, are used independently of each other. Fortunately many organizations are coming to realize the […]

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Remove Obstacles for Six Sigma Within Agile Development

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It can be challenging at first to find the connections between Six Sigma and Agile; a number of obstacles stand in the way of reaching an integrated view. But there is some untapped leverage that, if explored, may ease the use of the two methods. It is often more interesting to find the intersections that […]

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Implementing Six Sigma Methodology in a Small IT Firm

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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?

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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 […]

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A Parallel Process View for Information Technology

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The value and impact that a solid Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) approach can bring to an IT business is well known. While many organizations understand the relationship between DFSS and their own project management approach, what they often miss is attention to the foundational concepts of Lean and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) […]

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How Six Sigma Can Help ITIL Service Level Management

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Many information technology (IT) organizations are utilizing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as a guiding framework for operational excellence. One of the many “best practices” within ITIL is utilization of service level agreements, (SLAs) and operational level agreements (OLAs). When implemented well, these agreements and associated management processes go far in establishing fruitful working […]

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Using Six Sigma Tools in an Agile Software Project

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It may be counter-intuitive to consider using Six Sigma tools in an Agile software project. Six Sigma’s genesis was in the manufacturing world where one of its primary goals has been to reduce process variation. On the other hand, Agile software development is built on the premise that complex software projects, unlike manufacturing, cannot be […]

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What CIOs and CTOs Need to Know About Lean Six Sigma

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CIOs and CTOs are faced with a plethora of issues ranging from corporate realignment to growth to shrinking budgets. Many have heard about Lean Six Sigma but given their busy state of mind, it is difficult for them to dedicate the time required to translate Lean Six Sigma successes in top manufacturing company’s to its […]

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Software and IT Measurement Systems: Effort Accounting

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Effort accounting is needed in software and IT for the simple reason that labor is generally the most important controllable element of cost. Labor cost (effort hours times prevailing labor rate) is an essential and fundamental element of efficiency measurement. Six Sigma projects in software and IT (especially DMAICs) are often focused on driving down […]

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