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Software

Predicting Code Inspection Faults

Inspections are one of the most common methods of review performed in software teams. The goal of code inspection is to identify software faults early in the software development lifecycle. Teams are faced with the challenge, however, of determining whether those inspections are effective. One way to quantify this is by predicting the total number…

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How to Poka-yoke CAD Drawings

The following question has been posed on many Internet discussion forums: Has anyone poka-yoked a computer-aided design (CAD) system? The goal of poka-yoke, or mistake-proofing, is to design a process or mechanism that prevents an error from occurring. In the world of machine and industrial design, CAD systems are one of the best forms of…

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Top Lean Six Sigma IT Trends to Come in 2011

As the calendar flips to 2011, several technology experts and software providers have made predictions about how Lean Six Sigma and other process improvement methodologies will shape IT departments in the coming year. Collected here are four of their forecasts for the next 12 months.

Scorecards Help South African Bank Reap Savings

Standard Bank Group – one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa, with more than 1.33 trillion rand (R) (US$200 billion) – recently released a case study about how it deployed Lean Six Sigma methods to reduce waste and errors, and also created a balanced scorecard system to track its progress. As a result…

Planning Ahead with Project-Specific Software Process Models

Lean Six Sigma projects involving software development are an increasingly popular option for IT departments that are seeking to improve their efficiency. However, a number of research studies demonstrate that the average percentage of software projects that achieve all project objectives is significantly less than might be expected. For instance, a Standish Group survey conducted…

Integrating Lean Six Sigma with Agile and Scrum

Scrum is an Agile project management methodology that can be used to control software and product development using iterative, incremental practices. Scrum generates the benefits of Agile development with the advantages of a simple implementation. This methodology can significantly increase productivity and reduce time to benefits while facilitating adaptive, empirical systems development.

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Australian Bank to Revamp IT with Lean Six Sigma

Australian financial services firm Westpac has launched a large-scale initiative to overhaul its information technology (IT) services, part of which will be accomplished through the application of Lean and Six Sigma techniques to reduce waste and remove unnecessary banking processes. The IT plan was announced during an Oct. 8 webcast briefing with Westpac investors. During…

Enhancing IT Quality Metrics with Six Sigma

One of the initial challenges of enhancing IT quality metrics is to manage the mountain of data produced at a typical organization. Those organizations that have not learned how to mine their existing information to find solutions tend to track their data via spreadsheets and then generate high-level reports for executive management. Often, major gaps…

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Career Advice for IT and Six Sigma Professionals

When facing an imminent layoff, what path should Six Sigma professionals with a technical background take to get into the information technology (IT) arena? This topic was brought up in a recent online conversation on the iSixSigma Discussion Forums. The suggestions included getting familiar with the capability maturity model (CMM), joining an IT organization, becoming…

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Finding a Value-added Fit with Agile Development

The gains that Lean Six Sigma has brought in the areas of manufacturing, operations and physical product design speak for themselves. It is natural to want to replicate that success in software design. To do that most effectively, however, practitioners must meld Lean Six Sigma with Agile, a software development technique that is gaining traction…

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IBM Applies Green Principles to Reduce Waste at Irish Facility

From environmentalleader.com Businesses today generally understand they need to do as much as possible to conserve energy and water, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize their environmental impact overall. Societal pressures from customers, increasing regulation and economics all make this a fact of life for them. Most are taking steps to address these…

Creating A Training Paradigm Shift

While training traditional software services personnel it becomes imperative to give an experiential feeling in the classroom. Using case studies and sharing success stories will help develop conviction in practitioners.

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. Parts one, two and three followed a progression of goals…

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Improving Offshore Outsourcing Efficiency with DFSS

Two recent conferences on software focused on the topics of Six Sigma for the software industry and general conference for the software vertical market. There was, as one would imagine, a tremendous amount of discussion relating to the offshore outsourcing of software development work to achieve significant cost reductions. This has been an emerging trend…

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 3

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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Design of Experiments for Software Testing

When DOE (design of experiments) is used for software testing, there is a large amount of savings in testing time and cost. Various users in automotive, telecommunication and defense industries report big productivity improvements to their traditional testing methods. This success is due to two major important factors: 1) focused attention on the usage of…

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Software Vendor Partnership Cost Reduction with Six Sigma

Business Issue A multibillion-dollar software manufacturer needed to drive down the total $191 million annual cost of supplying its workers with continuously updated workstations. Both the software manufacturer and its primary vendor/supplier were in the midst of an aggressive cost cutting initiative that would lead to a new compensation model. The initial, first year targeted…

Six Sigma for Software – More Than a New Tool

We need to fundamentally change what’s going on in Software. FAST! Defects, long cycle times, poor estimation, missed targets and project cancellations are stripping away profits and our ability to satisfy and retain customers. It’s occurring in Software Development companies, Embedded Product Software (Firmware), and Business Application Software. And, it’s happening in all industry segments….

Toward an Integrated Six Sigma Software Knowledge-Base

I’m sure we are all happy to see the new iSixSigma channel dedicated to software. The growing knowledge base at this portal will take shape in the body of articles, discussion forum threads, links, and resources that are contributed. The most important factor in all this is, of course, you, the site participants. While the…

Combining CMMI, PSP, TSP and Six Sigma for Software

PSP and TSP are software development process definitions (some might call them methodologies) that are compatible with a wide range of software development concepts such as spiral development, object oriented development, and various other sets of techniques, each with certain advantages in modeling and describing requirements and designs for software systems. One way of viewing…

The Five Essentials for Software Testing

The following advice should help clarify your thinking about software testing and help you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your testing. It is helpful to think about software testing in terms of five essential elements: A test strategy that tells you what types of testing and the amount of testing you think will work…

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Software Project Management Meets Six Sigma

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),…

Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

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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Software Defect Prevention – In a Nutshell

Organizations face many problems that impede rapid development of software systems critical to their operations and growth. The challenge in any software product development lies in minimizing the number of defects. Occurrence of defects is the greatest contributor to significant increases in product costs due to correction and rework time. Most defects are caused by…

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study – Part 2

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,…

Software Quality Function Deployment

Quality function deployment (QFD) is a process used to determine product development characteristics that combine technical requirements with customer preferences. Using an integrated matrix known as the “house of quality,” QFD considers the different influences bearing on the design to promote concurrent engineering, resulting in increased product acceptance. The basic QFD methodology can also be…

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Lowering the Cost of Ownership for Software Lifecycles

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…

Six Sigma for Software – A Role Based System

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…

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 1

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…

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 2

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…

Is Software Inspection Value Added?

In manufacturing circles it is generally accepted that inspections are money wasted. But in the world of software that is definitely not the case. This brief case study uses scorecards to illustrate the value and payoff that can be realized by introducing software inspections. By comparing defect counts and defect fix efforts from two completed…

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Six Sigma Meets Software Development

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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DFSS as an Enabler of Service-Oriented Architecture

Finding ways to automate and improve business processes is a major focus for today’s organizations. At the heart of every business is a complicated web of human and automated processes. For the business to be as effective as possible, these processes must be as efficient as possible. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a concept whose time…

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Product Guide: Project Tracking Software

Tracking financial metrics, reporting on project status and sharing knowledge more easily are just a few of the benefits of project tracking software. This directory provides information about the capabilities and functionalities of several products. Sponsors: MoreSteam.com Tim Kelley, 414-247-1080, tkelley@moresteam.com, moresteam.com SigmaFlow Jim Henry, 972-447-8340, jhenry@sigmaflow.com, sigmaflow.com Six Sigma practitioners use project tracking software…

Tailoring Six Sigma to Software Development

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…

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…

Activities vs. Performance: Improvement, Common Sense

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,…

Usage-based Models Improve Odds in Software Testing

The need to test products of all kinds, software and physical products, often runs into challenges connected with: What to test? How to test? How long, how many tests to run? How to document the risk remaining after test? Software is particularly challenging because the properties worth exercising and assessing in tests are hard to…

Comparing and Contrasting IDEAL and DMAIC

Comparing and contrasting the way different disciplines and tools map to one another can help lead to a better understanding of each of the things being compared. This paper reviews a methodology called IDEALSM, which was developed and evolved by members of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), and compares it with the Six Sigma DMAIC…

Improve Software-Development Productivity with Lean

To survive in today’s competitive software-development market, organizations need to build their capabilities around delivering the best service within customer-stipulated time frames and costs. Increasing productivity – the rate of output per amount of input – is the factor most likely to give an organization an edge over others. Many software-development organizations have realized the…

Remove Obstacles for Six Sigma Within Agile Development

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…

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…

Better Involvement/Requirements with LURE and COPIS

There is sometimes a tendency in the software domain to display laxity as far as understanding customer requirements and instead focus more on the technology and solution development. This lack of alignment between customer perspective and developer perspective often leads to unclear or misunderstood requirements, to inappropriate design, and/or to false assumptions and expectations by…

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Meeting ITIL SLAs: MSA for Project Completion Time

A common service level agreement (SLA) measurement among Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practitioners is project completion time, in one form or another. Many use a percent difference measurement between actual and forecasted, others simply subtract the actual completion time from the forecasted completion time. Whatever the final calculation, using the elapsed time between when…

Business Process Management for Software Development

The term “business process management” (BPM) is often encountered in conjunction with Six Sigma and Lean initiatives. Typically it refers to identification of core business processes, assignment of process ownership and definition of measures (and perhaps benchmarks) that indicate the health of a particular process. These measures are often influential in selection of Six Sigma…

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