iSixSigma

Six Sigma and Lean May No Longer Be Enough to Improve Services

Service, or transactional, Six Sigma has sometimes struggled to keep up with its manufacturing big brother in terms of sustainable results. Lean Six Sigma is currently the approach of choice for many service organizations, but that methodology is under pressure as businesses look to cut costs aggressively to survive the recession. In more than 15…

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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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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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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Lean First…or Six Sigma?

When initiating process improvement the question often arises which to pursue first – Lean, Agile, Six Sigma or a combination of these tools. There have been case studies surrounding the order of choice – or whether Lean and Six Sigma complement each other at all. Many Six Sigma experts have spent significant time living and…

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…

Doing Some Software Six Sigma and Agile ‘Mythbusting’

These are interesting times in the world of software development. Urgency around reducing development cycle times and costs, and growing the business value of software and IT assets is high. Six Sigma, CMMI, Lean software development and Agile methods are variously working together (or not quite) to address that urgency and show results. In the…

Three Lean Tools for Agile Development Environments

Agile software development delivers quick business value and at the same time remains flexible to the core, as opposed to its traditional alternative, the waterfall model. Agile involves unconventional, bottom-up, entrepreneurial and locally optimized project groups empowered to make decisions that are the best fit for individual projects. For greater design effectiveness, complexity control and…

Using Six Sigma Tools in an Agile Software Project

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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Software Development Convergence: Six Sigma-Lean-Agile

Some common messages are beginning to emerge from several software-relevant areas – Six Sigma for software, Agile development and Lean thinking. The links between Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and Agile have been explored recently, but now a broader view yet can illustrate the way that Lean thinking, evolved from just-in-time manufacturing, aligns well with…

DFSS Meets Agile Development – Friend or Foe?

One of the big benefits of Six Sigma is the discipline it brings to the use of facts and measures to guide significant and predictable results. At first glance, that discipline might seem to fly in the face of the flexibility and creativity that also are very important in development and problem-solving. One potential collision…

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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. 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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Software Development Assessments for the 21st Century

During the last 35 years, software development and technology processes in general have evolved at a rapid, even chaotic, rate. These processes range from small, Lean, agile (sometimes labeled iterative) development pockets to large, bureaucracy-laced legacy projects of tremendous scope (sometimes labeled waterfall development) and everything in between. Many organizations have undertaken attempts to classify,…

Activities vs. Performance: The Procedure/Audit Dilemma

This article, a second in a series exploring how to organize activities, determines their value add, and leverages them for performance, examines the characteristics, impacts and organizational traits related to procedures and audits. Part 1, Activities vs. Performance Improvement, Common Sense, discussed the nature and attributes of organizational culture and behaviors when evolving from a…

Developing an Agile Planning and Tracking Scorecard

Agile changes the nature of planning and tracking. The term agile is used to refer to a variety of software development frameworks (like scrum, XP, crystal methods) which all share approaches to scoping work and managing the delivery of working features. Using scrum as an example (Figure 1), it is clear that the available development…

A Software Project’s Cycle Time: Are We There Yet?

Software project managers, who are responsible for shepherding software projects to completion, often feel like they are on a cross-country trip with several youngsters in the back seat. It seems like every few minutes someone asks, “Are we there yet?” Cycle time for a software project is usually understood to mean the elapsed calendar time…