The goal of the development team (DevTeam) is to deliver these features in a timely manner so that the software firm can plan releases accordingly. Web products have a short lifespan, so release management is a key success criterion.
The business problem, however, was that the DevTeam was not delivering features as promised. This led to a process problem of not being able to give realistic estimates of what would be accomplished each work cycle.
The uncertainty in delivery times of features impacted the company’s ability to release products according to plan and ship completed products in a competitive manner. To increase the number of features completed per cycle, and therefore better meet release dates, a DMAIC project – focusing on identifying and eliminating the sources of the variation – was initiated.
The DevTeam operated under the Scrum methodology of software development. The process that the DevTeam deployed to deliver web features began with the product owner supplying a list of features needed.
Next the DevTeam’s subject matter experts (SMEs) would estimate the time needed to complete each task. The team would then execute the tasks according to specialty.
Since the solutions identified in this project have been implemented, the process is more centered. More estimations are falling within specification limits. The overall percentage of features completed after each sprint now stands at 96 percent. In the first quarter the solutions were implemented, they translated into savings of roughly $35,000 through an increase in labor productivity.
They were then scaled out in the division and, by yearend, had resulted in annualized savings of $574,080. The project was a big win for Six Sigma in gaining acceptance in the software company’s DevTeam division. Many long-standing practices and beliefs were challenged and the solutions were heralded as major breakthroughs.
The project was a big win for Six Sigma in gaining acceptance in the software company’s DevTeam division. Many long-standing practices and beliefs were challenged and the solutions were heralded as major breakthroughs. However, opportunities for further reducing variation still exist.