The IT practitioners' must see their world from two different perspectives how the business uses their services, and how IT provides services to the business. Both views distill to one concept the value stream, applied in two different ways.
A combination case study and tutorial illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Third in a series of six parts.
A combination case study and tutorial illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Fourth in a series of six parts.
A combination case study and tutorial illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable.
A combination case study and tutorial illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Last in a series of six parts.
This combination case study and tutorial illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. Second in six-part series.
In the last several years, companies have had notable results using Lean Six Sigma in transactional and administrative processes. Recently Medtronic has successfully adapted Lean Six Sigma to apply to even a wholly automated electronic IT process.
To prepare for a three-year IT overhaul, Australias Westpac bank is applying Lean Six Sigma methods to improve customer service.
When facing an imminent layoff, what path should Six Sigma professionals with a technical background take to get into the information technology (IT) arena?
Using resource models to manage the utilization of human resources can lead to higher service levels, lower costs and other benefits. This case study within the field of information technology shows the mechanics of building such a model.
Computacenter AG & Co. oHG, an information technology (IT) services firm that first began its Six Sigma deployment 14 years ago, has made its second consecutive appearance on iSixSigmas Best Places to Work list. Computacenter was ranked at No. 10 for this years list, the same position it was given in the 2010 list.
During a Six Sigma project at an information technology (IT) department, there are many good reasons why a process or a system needs to change. There also are a few bad reasons – bad, but unavoidable. It’s up to the…
The same methods (Lean Six Sigma) which transformed manufacturing and transactional processes into smooth, high efficiency processes also will work in software and IT, if adapted to recognize the differences in these processes.
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.
Although IT reported values for application availability might be numerically correct, they may not be a true representation of the situation. For more accurate predictions, use outside-in and rolled-throughput approaches.
Information technology businesses can create better service level agreements (SLAs) by using a more scientific approach than just negotiating with their customers. Yet the method is not complex and it does not require a Six Sigma deployment.
Six Sigma is used effectively in manufacturing, service, financial and educational settings to improve processes and achieve time and cost benefits by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. With a little adaptation, Six Sigma can do the same for IT departments.
For the next two years, many Forutne 1000 companies say they expect to see revenue growth as the economy recovers from the Great Recession, yet a significant fraction of these firms also say they plan to continue cost-reduction efforts, some of which involve Six Sigma, according to a recent Deloitte survey.
A leading environmental services company used DMAIC to improve the availability of an internal software system. The goal was to reduce system downtime and reduce defect resolution time, thereby increasing return on investment and user satisfaction.
In an effort to reduce its environmental footprint, P&R IM implemented an electronics stewardship plan with Lean Six Sigma's DMAIC methodology.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is embarking on an initiative to overhaul and streamline its business operations systems with process improvement methods, such as Lean Six Sigma, according to a recent presentation at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s (AFCEA) West 2011 conference in San Diego.
A survey sponsored by the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) finds that Six Sigma is feasible as an enabler of the adoption of software, systems and IT improvement models and practices.
By implementing Six Sigma to measure the performance of its IT products, ING Direct enabled its teams to improve the quality, throughput, speed and continuous improvement with which they deliver features and functionality to the customer.
This article describes a successful Green Belt project in information technology in which a software development team applied Six Sigma to reduce the resolution time of software defects and minimize rework, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.
The Green Grid, a global consortium that promotes energy efficiency in business computing systems, has named Six Sigma Black Belt Mark Monroe as its new executive director.
The demand for business intelligence is increasing at a rapid pace across all industries in todays tough economic climate. As senior executives look to optimize existing business processes that can lead to bottom-line and top-line benefits, one option is to tap into predictive analytics, a type of data mining that can be used to make reliable predictions of future events based on analysis of historical data.
It is possible to integrate Lean and Six Sigma and reap the full benefits that these methodologies bring to the table. Although Lean may appear to have limited applications, it can offer many possibilities when it comes to value stream integration.
Help desks are good at solving problems but they often miss a more important role - working to put themselves out of business. Help desks can provide information that would lead to improvement opportunities for both the IT function and their client users within the business.
Utilizing service level agreements (SLAs) can go far in establishing fruitful working relationships between IT providers and customers. If implemented poorly, however, they can be a source of discomfort for which IT providers should be wary.
Six Sigma can help improve any size IT organization by providing a competitive edge. The main thing that prevents many small IT businesses from exploring Six Sigma is not knowing just how they can implement the data-driven methodology.
Variation in IT project cost forecasting can result in either underspent or overspent budgets. A Six Sigma approach applied to the IT project forecasting process minimizes variation in forecast accuracy resulting in dollar savings for the business.
While most information technology (IT) organizations are constantly struggling to demonstrate cost savings, too few are focusing on ways to add value to the business. Alignment with the business is where the emphasis should be for IT departments.
Integrating a DFSS roadmap and SDLC methodologies into IT development enhances a company's business focus while balancing customer needs and ensuring on time/on budget system delivery. Six Sigma assists an organization in measuring success with KPIs.
The IT Infrastructure Library and Six Sigma have both been successfully employed to improve the quality of IT services. Many organizations are now coming to realize the value of combining the two to take advantage of each one's strength.
Jan De Witte, president and CEO of GE Healthcare’s Performance Solutions division, has taken on the additional title of president and CEO of GE’s $1.4 billion Healthcare IT division. He succeeds Vishal Wanchoo, who has moved into the role of senior vice president of growth initiatives for GE India.
There are many projects where Lean is not about flow and pull, but about straightforward waste reduction. The key is to make Lean thinking (and usability) a key building block of the design and the review of IT applications.
Several cases serve as solid examples of the horsepower gain for Lean and Agile driven by an early Six Sigma base and mindset. They demonstrate the synergy of Lean and Six Sigma used together instead of being used as rival methodologies.
An information technology services company was engaged to provide end-to-end testing for a telecom provider's five lines of business. Each business line had its own way of operating. The company chose to apply Lean in order to reduce waste in these processes.
This step-by-step guide shows how Belts in the transactional sector can calculate the time needed to complete a process and utilize their resources efficiently.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Framework is a set of best practices that facilitate delivery of high quality IT services. Combined with Six Sigma, ITIL serves as a model that prompts organizations to use maximum synergy.
The IT Infrastructure Library and Six Sigma should be viewed as complementary systems that leverage one another in the common goal of world-class IT performance. Organizations should use this powerful combination to bolster their competitiveness.
One approach to providing fast responses even with highly complex computations is distributed computing, or creating a shared compute farm. Making this work is a matter of integrating hardware, software and people resources. And DFLSS can help.
By exploring how Lean Six Sigma is used at best-practice companies and learning the answers to some common questions, software and IT organizations not already using Lean Six Sigma can gain a greater understanding of what they are missing.
Project portfolio management gives executives a bird's-eye view of IT projects so they can spot redundancies, spread resources appropriately, and keep close tabs on progress to manage demands.
It has been obvious from early on that software development could not be done in an ad hoc manner. It needed a methodology like Six Sigma to deliver attributes like robustness, correctness, adaptability, reusability and maintainability.
A specific process solution, orchestrated for one IT organization, is unlikely to fit perfectly in another IT system. This means that importing a set of processes into an organization, without some kind of review for "fit" carries momentous risk.
In software and IT projects most failures are related to the lack of an understanding of what the customer really expects the system to do (operational requirements) and why (business results). But a program like Six Sigma can resolve many issues.
Six Sigma practitioners in the IT industry need to look inward to keep application of the method simple and relevant. Practitioners should consider a three-phased deployment model alongside a project selection method matching the effort's maturity.
Implementation of a project-specific process map during software development can help practitioners improve their performance and meet project objectives.
Implementing the "virtuous cycle" can help a business ensure that its IT organization can best fulfill its challenge of driving most of the process improvements in throughout the business as well as improving its own processes.
By following a Lean Six Sigma framework, process owners can use its tools on a path to process excellence that blends greater control with improved technology in order to meet the challenge of increasing efficiency and staying profitable.
An insurance firm discovers through value stream mapping that it must fix its broken processes before it can increase its productivity sustainably.
One of the biggest challenges in any Six Sigma order fulfillment project is the scoping. Having clear boundaries on what aspects will and will not be covered in the project is paramount to its success. Scoping sometimes indicates that a…
Job processes that include non-value-added work which increase delays and extend work in progress are common in service functions. They usually are accepted as "the way work is done." But a rapid setup method can help streamline those processes.
This IT case study was done during the implementation of TQM in a financial services company with several hundred computers and computer users in multiple locations throughout India. The results have widespread applicability.
A small and relatively young technology company attempting to implement the Sarbanes-Oxley Act finds that rushing to solutions before finishing its DMAIC project can cost time and money.
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.
Effective resource planning is an important part of any process improvement program, including those in IT. Formalizing processes and developing measurement systems helps to determine the value of internal projects from a human capital perspective.
To see rapid results, transactional organizations may benefit from integrating Agile and business process management into their deployments.
Six Sigma initiatives will increasingly focus their solutions on information systems. With a strong partnership between Six Sigma and IT, organizations can make more informed investment decisions about process improvement projects.
Recapping some of the successes that have been achieved with Six Sigma in IT and describing some of the IT activities to which Six Sigma can be applied, should clearly answer the question "Does Six Sigma apply to IT?" with a resounding "yes!"
In the IT industry, positioning Six Sigma under the broad process management umbrella of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) ensures that a company gains from this important tool while averting the trap of applying it where it does not fit.
This article is intended to help the reader better understand the early attributes of how Six Sigma is typically and successfully deployed inside a Software organization.
Six Sigma can be used in the information technology industry to improve processes and produce bottom line benefits. A case study shows how Six Sigma was used to reduce IT requests, issues and tickets initiated by end-users by 70 percent.
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…
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.
Six Sigma leaders often tout the benefits of Six Sigma concepts, tools and approaches for Six Sigma projects. Incorporating Six Sigma tools into every day software development and IT processes will also result in better products and greater success.
Effort accounting is essential in software/IT Six Sigma projects because labor usually is the most controllable cost. To know if a process improvement has the desired impact, a company must know how time was spent, before and after the improvement.
Customer Relationship Management today is about tracking and analyzing information on current customers as well as sales prospects. CRM software requires a significant cash and time investment and deployment requires a rigorous effort.
In a recent biannual survey about software development project delivery, most developers who were contacted said they preferred to use the Agile model. However, the results showed that projects using measurement-based models, such as Six Sigma, ITIL or waterfall, were least likely to be discontinued.
Online retailer ABC has a strong market research unit and a seamless feedback loop for enhancing the customer experience. Despite the company's seeming responsiveness to customer feedback, sales had dropped significantly in the last few years. An external Lean Six Sigma consultant was invited by the CEO to guide ABC in improving their declining sales.
Internet use has produced an order of magnitude improvement in many business processes. A number of other technologies are providing a similar effect. Here are 10 of those technologies and examples of how they are helping Lean process improvement.
Writers Steven E. Hoeft, Steven C. Bell and Michael Orzen have all been named winners of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, Research, and Professional Publication, which is bestowed on authors who advance the Lean body of knowledge into new areas and promote a broad understanding of operational excellence.
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.
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.
The U.S. Army continues marching forward in its Lean Six Sigma efforts. It has formalized the use of Belt course portfolios within its project-tracking software and deployed a web application to streamline the information-generation process.
By mapping the entire software application development life cycle, IT departments can see dramatic improvements in efficiency.
A challenge facing many new CIOs, CTOs and other technology leaders is the need to change their organization’s culture and reputation. Fairly or not, technology leaders are often saddled with the perceptions (or misperceptions) that their team can’t deliver projects on time or on budget.
A common challenge for an information technology department is how to prioritize projects for the biggest benefit. Follow these eight steps to build a criteria-based matrix that provides effective prioritization for any organization.
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.
Finding ways to manage workflow and minimize congestion, and the delays it causes, is a common challenge in service businesses. One of the most effective tools for dealing with congestion is triage.
Most of the common excuses for not engaging in Lean Six Sigma rely on traditional views and conventional wisdom, and are not fact-based. CIOs, CTOs and others can benefit from knowing the practical ways Lean Six Sigma really works.
The results of a survey on the integration of Six Sigma and information technology (IT) published by iSixSigma Magazine revealed four important truths which provide meaningful insight to any organization attempting to apply Six Sigma in IT.