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Methodology Metrics


A Leadership Roadmap for Managing with Metrics

Nine practical steps that focus on facts and data can provide a roadmap for business leaders at all levels on how to use Six Sigma to drive strategy implementation.

Ask the Expert: The Topic – Six Sigma Metrics

David Henkin, a principal at The Vanguard Group, offers his views on Six Sigma metrics. He discusses ideas on metrics used by successful companies, Six Sigma metrics versus business metrics and the best ways to present metrics to upper management.

Be Consistent in Metric Selection for Six Sigma Projects

Inconsistent use of metrics can lead to lost opportunities and rework after a project ends. Using them consistently brings enormous clarity to the impact and benefit of a Six Sigma project and helps keep the focus on enhancing business capabilities.

Build a Visual Dashboard in 10 Steps

The Lean Six Sigma team at Ball Corporation began an initiative to develop visual signs on plant floors that would depict the health of the company and point to improvement opportunities. Here are the 10 steps they followed to build the ultimate visual dashboard.

Business Improvement Strategy, Masteries and Metrics

Many organizations that deploy Lean and Six Sigma fail to reach the level of improved performance that they expected. One reason for this often is a lack of a well-structured business improvement strategy on the front end of the deployment process.

Calculating Sigma Level for Project Planning Process Area

An organization's sigma level in terms of key CMMI process areas can be measured via metrics related to that process area. Organizations not using Six Sigma also can use this technique to measure their sigma level in terms of project planning process area.

Can I Extrapolate 3.4 Defects Per Million to 34 Defects Per 10 Million or 3400 Defects Per Billion?

To help you better understand the nature of this question; let us consider a very simple example. Let us suppose that we go to the store – looking for fresh apples.

Can You Explain Shifting of 1.5 Sigma in Calculating Sigma Level, Including Physical Meaning of Shifting?

Over time, there has been very fine debate (both positive and negative) surrounding the 1.5 sigma shift.

Core Set of Effectiveness Metrics for Software and IT

A basic-yet-powerful set of metrics gets to the heart of measuring organizational efficiency and effectiveness in software and IT organizations. These metrics also facilitate effective application of Six Sigma in software and IT organizations.

Defining Primary Metric: Starting Off on the Right Path

After a rocky start developing the project's primary metric, the Six Sigma team was able to help increase the accuracy rate of dispenser maintenance calls, resulting in the potential savings for the company of more than a million dollars.

Deploying a Measurement System: What Does It Take?

The use of dashboards to measure process and business performance has become increasingly popular. As a result, many companies are revamping their measurement systems. Here is a framework for launching and deploying a new measurement system.

Exploring Defect Containment Metrics in Agile

While Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and Agile software development seem to have different orientations, there is more linkage than meets the eye. Considering defect containment metrics, there is a positive tie between these two bodies of experience.

How Are Defects and Opportunities Determined for CTQs?

To begin, recall that a critical-to-quality characteristic (CTQ) is a vital product design feature (e.g., the strength of a material). However, once a particular CTQ has been brought into reality (by way of the process), it is recognized as a “manifest opportunity.”

How Can I Determine If My Rolled Throughput Yield (RTY) Is Acceptable?

Let us postulate that a certain process is comprised of three progressive steps, say A, B, and C, respectfully.

How Can One Calculate the Sigma Level of a System at a Business Level (For Example, a Marketing System)?

Consider the case where a particular system is comprised of three subordinate elements. In this case, we will say the first-time yield (quality confidence) of each element is known to be .85, .90, and .95, respectively.

How Do I Determine Defects Per Million (DPM) for Sigma Values Greater Than 6 (3.4 DPM)?

Once is a great while, there is a need to estimate or otherwise approximate the “tail probability” of an extreme standard normal deviate – such as Z = 7, Z = 10, or even higher.

How Is the Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO) to Sigma Level and Yield Conversion Chart Determined?

We must understand the sigma of a process is merely an equivalent unilateral figure-of-merit. As such, it is always regarded (and reported) as a short-term measure of capability.

I Am Developing a Scorecard for a Project Level Sigma Score. How Do You Suggest a Scorecard Be Developed to Determine a Sigma Value for the Whole Project?

Creating a process scorecard is not an easy or straightforward task. It becomes even more difficult when the scorecard is comprised of continuous and discrete performance metrics.

If a Project Doesn’t Meet the Six Sigma Level (as Calculated on the Sigma Calculator on This Site), Is it a Six Sigma Project?

Seems to me that you have described a traditional quality improvement project.

If Our Vendors Have a Quality Level of 3.5 Sigma, Up to What Level of Sigma Can We Achieve?

To open our discussion, we acknowledge that not all product (or service) opportunities should be Six Sigma. In the total scheme of things, some are not destined to be critical – to anything.

Implementing a Customer Satisfaction Metric

Organizations evaluate themselves by measuring customer satisfaction with their products or services. The Servqual survey framework and a voice-of-the-customer matrix can help in the implementation of a customer-satisfaction metric.

Is 7 Sigma Possible?

Don't know, never been there – I’m still striving for 5-sigma (at least on a personal level).

Is it Possible to Determine a Corporate-wide Sigma Level? How Can the Sigma Level be Calculated?

To establish a corporate-level sigma value (per se), it is generally advisable to follow an established analytical model.

My Boss Calculates our Process Sigma at 3 Sigma, While I calculate it at 5 Sigma. Who Is Correct?

Perhaps you are both in error (as related to your Sigma calculations.) Be aware of a phenomenon I call “denominator management.”

Reap a Return on Investment

The best ROI references on iSixSigma can be found here.

Selecting Appropriate Metrics

Process metrics need to serve a purpose, be understood, and not be too cumbersome or complex to use. Fashioning appropriate metrics requires knowledge, experience and a lot of common sense. These examples are intended to help the inexperienced Six Sigma practitioner recognize the issues involved and the criticality of ensuring that the metrics selected and used at all levels of the organization are the appropriate ones.

Six Sigma Opportunity Counting

The nature of Six Sigma opportunity counting and related metrics like DPMO and sigma levels can be confusing. This article contains ideas to help with opportunities and defect counting on your Six Sigma project.

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 1

There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses the Total Containment Effectiveness, Phase Containment Effectiveness and Defect Containment Effectiveness.

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 2

There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses how to predict defect find and fix rates during development and after release.

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 3

There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses how to compare implementations within the company.

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 4

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.

Successful LSS Projects Start with Proper Metric Selection

Definition of a primary project metric is key to focusing an improvement team on the needs of both the customer and the business, and to providing accurate statistical and financial results. The XYZ Company is quickly losing sales of a chemical product as measured by market share. They evaluated three options before selecting their primary project metric.

The Importance of Implementing Effective Metrics

You can’t control what you don’t measure. That’s why one of the basic tenets of Six Sigma is to develop process metrics.

The Sigma Conversion Table Displays Yields That Don’t Match My Understanding of USL/LSL for the Process. Could You Please Explain Why There Is a Discrepancy?

consider the following table. The first column is the given measure of process capability (provided in the form of Z).

Three Steps for Aligning Projects to Business Priorities

Project selection is one of the most critical and challenging activities faced by Six Sigma companies. To be successful, the project selection process take into account business priorities. A three-step approach can help assure that success.

Time-based Metrics: Accounting for the Differences

Green and Black Belts produce time series plots of the primary Y metric during the measure phase of projects. The time dimension is either start-based or end-based, and the difference can be substantial. It is important to understand this difference.

Tips for Avoiding Common Metrics Challenges

Metrics programs face some unique challenges that need to be tackled successfully in order to derive real benefits. This piece reviews some of those potential roadblocks, as well as recommendations that metrics teams can use to avoid such problems.

Tips for Defining and Collecting IT Process Metrics

IT firms often begin initiatives to measure and collect data for process metrics as part of improvement initiatives. Practitioners responsible for deployment will benefit from understanding the strategic, tactical and operational aspects of metrics.

Use Earned Value Management for Process Improvement

To identify issues in a process without losing time by deep diving into the complete process, use earned value management (EVM) to measure cost and schedule compared to budget.

Using Core Effectiveness Metrics to Drive Improvement

After making a case for using cost-of-quality metrics, combined with defect data, as overall measures of software and IT organizational effectiveness. The next logical step is to illustrate how these metrics might be used to drive improvement.

Using Effective Metrics to Measure Production Test Flow

When undertaking a Six Sigma project to enhance production tests, choosing the right metrics is key. When selecting metrics, practitioners should consider the strengths and weaknesses of various traditional and alternative production test metrics.

Value Matters as a Key Metric for Six Sigma Initiatives

Some business organizations have come to recognize that measures of customer satisfaction may not be the best metric of business performance. As a result, more companies are beginning to use the more actionable metric of customer value.

We Are in the Field of PCB Manufacturing and Are Using About 800 Components. How Should We Decide the Opportunities During Calculation of Sigma Value?

Simply stated, an opportunity is merely a set of conditions favorable to some end.

What Is the Correct Manner to Count Defects and Opportunities, Used for Calculating Process Sigma Value?

The issue of opportunity counting is somewhat illusive. It is laced with many misconceptions.

What Is the Logic Behind a One Tail Defect, Or Is it That This Difference Is Negligible Beyond 3.5 Sigma?

The referenced charts rely upon the assumption of a unilateral specification (single-sided performance requirement).

Why Is 1.5 Subtracted From the Short-term Estimate of Capability ( to Get the Long-term Estimate of Capability (

The capability of a process has two distinct but interrelated dimensions.

Why Is a Process Shift of 1.5 Sigma Taken as a Standard for Calculations?

Right up front in our discussion, let us recognize that the 1.5 sigma shift can be attributable solely to the influence of random error. In this context, the 1.5 sigma shift is a statistically based correction for scientifically compensating or…

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