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Combining Six Sigma and CMMI Can Accelerate Improvements

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a framework for business process improvement. Like any model, CMMI reflects one version of reality, and like most models, it may be more idealistic than realistic in some ways. Organizations can use the model as a jumping off point to create process improvement solutions that fit their unique development…

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A Competitive Edge

Using Six Sigma has proven highly successful in addressing internal issues where the focus is on reducing production defects and costs. One way to take the methodology to the next level is to integrate it with the marketing function. Marketing offers a portal to an organization’s external environment – the competitive marketplace – where the…

Highlights from the 2009 Energy Forum

At the iSixSigma Live! 2009 Energy Forum for Process Excellence, leaders from across the energy industry shared how they are implementing process improvement efforts at their organizations. Some common questions and lessons learned – about methodology, implementation and benefits – came up over the course of the three-day event. Here are a few highlights. Combining…

Merging Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard

In an era of complexity and contradiction, many healthcare organizations are seeking bold strategies for leading and managing change. While concepts behind the balanced scorecard and core Six Sigma methodologies are not new, a powerful management tool can be crafted through the unification of these two proven strategies. An approach that combines the targeted performance…

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Is Six Sigma Enough?

The next generation of Lean has arrived and it is an expansion of the traditional notion of improving velocity, flexibility, responsiveness, quality, and cost across a total value stream. The speed and effectiveness of each partner in the total value chain determines the success of the overall stream as it competes against other value chains….

Integrating Lean and Six Sigma

Both the Lean and the Six Sigma methodologies have proven over the last twenty years that it is possible to achieve dramatic improvements in cost, quality, and time by focusing on process performance. Whereas Six Sigma is focused on reducing variation and improving process yield by following a problem-solving approach using statistical tools, Lean is…

Six Sigma Leadership and Innovation Using TRIZ

The fourth installment in a series of articles about the on-going research of advanced strategies and trends in deploying and team-training Six Sigma. Six Sigma Trends: Next Generation of Projects Six Sigma Trends: Upgrade for Supply Chains and Solution Providers Six Sigma Trends: Management of Six Sigma Deployments I am pleased to present another article…

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…

Six Sigma – A Socio-Technical System

Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM) and its variants are now widespread in American business. Yet many executives raise serious questions about the their value. Fortune magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week have all presented examples of serious failures. Several recognized Six Sigma companies have experienced financial troubles. On a more personal level,…

Six Sigma and Workout

Ask successful Six Sigma deployment leaders, or experienced Black Belts, and they will usually report that change management is the most challenging aspect of deploying Six Sigma. For most practitioners, change management is the black art of Six Sigma deployment: What is change management? And how can you convert the volumes of change management theory…

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5 Lean Tools and Principles to Integrate into Six Sigma

Increasingly, organizations that use Six Sigma are making an effort to integrate Lean into their existing process-improvement framework. For many, combining Six Sigma’s focus on process quality and Lean’s emphasis on turn-around time results in more high-impact, quick-hit projects. To gain this advantage, however, organizations must face a difficult obstacle: integrating Lean without creating ripples…

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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…

Work Design and Six Sigma: Improve Jobs and Processes

The business world keeps revisiting the concept of a high-performance organization, often coining some new phrase or slogan to describe it. Regardless of its newest label or the guru touting its latest incarnation, high performance has virtually always meant achieving a hard-to-sustain combination of six critical elements: High profitability World-class service Accountability Simple workflow Customer-centered…

Integrating Project Management into a Six Sigma System

Manufacturers and transactional firms share a drive to lower costs, reduce cycle time and offer a diverse product mix as they pursue higher profits and an increased market share in a growing global environment. Consumers (those paying for the end product) want products or services that are cheaper, readily available and of a quality that…

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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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Problem Management: Coordinating ITIL and Six Sigma

Information technology (IT) expenses are growing at a significantly faster rate than any other portion of most businesses, and IT has become a significant component in the cost of doing business. Increasingly, IT organizations are required to determine the cost of delivering and supporting particular services, as well as qualifying and quantifying the value that…

Six Sigma and Innovation: Natural Partners from the Start

Innovation has broad appeal. Businesses see it as a key to survival, and most individuals enjoy being creative – at work or anywhere. At first it might seem that the discipline called for in the workplace would take all the fun out of being creative. But actually, innovation coupled with Six Sigma discipline and data…

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…

Lean and Creative Six Sigma to Solve Real-life Issues

A strong possibility exists that some organizations using Six Sigma are failing to cash in on the true potential of the methodology. This can happen when proper care is not taken to understand what needs to be integrated with the Six Sigma methodology to make it effective, comprehensive and a focused approach to solve real-life…

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Leverage Innovation and Six Sigma to Grow Revenue

Six Sigma practitioners capture the voice of customer (VOC) in the process of designing or improving a product or service; however, practitioners often compromise while implementing the VOC in the actual design, citing reasons such as cost, cycle time and design constraints. As a result of these compromises, products or services can lose competitiveness in…

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The DoD Roundup

Editor’s note: A longer version of this article was previously published in the September/October 2009 issue of iSixSigma Magazine. When the U.S. Department of Defense opened a Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma Program Office in October 2007, the office had no budget, no staff and, in fact, no office space. But it did have a…

Six Sigma Encourages Improvement Within CMMI Framework

Six Sigma is a powerful improvement program that started in manufacturing but has subsequently proven to be useful in a multitude of industries, including software development. But many of the assumptions and approaches of using Six Sigma in traditional industries may not be relevant in information technology (IT) and software development. Traditional Six Sigma program…

Harvesting Benefits of Both Lean and Six Sigma in IT

Information technology (IT) organizations increasingly are under pressure to improve their service and process capability. In the quest for improvement methodologies, organizations often adopt a “pick one” strategy – with Six Sigma being the widely favored choice. However, it is possible to integrate Lean and Six Sigma and reap the full benefits that these methodologies can…

DMAIC and DFSS Roadmaps: How to Connect and Integrate?

The roadmap has always been an important part of Six Sigma. It lays out the thought process for teams and leaders, and distinguishes the methodology from a parade of tools. With the original “Six Steps to Six Sigma” and then “Define Measure Analyze Improve Control” (DMAIC) as the improvement roadmap, plus the addition of Design…

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Benefits of Connecting RFID and Lean and Six Sigma

A growing number of organizations are studying the commercial use of radio frequency identification (RFID). Several large companies have invested large sums in RFID development, and companies such as Wal-Mart plan to require RFID compliance from their suppliers. Nonetheless, many companies do not yet have a full grasp of what this technology may mean to…

Business Process Reengineering in a Six Sigma World

Through the years, there have been many different notions about what business process reengineering (BPR) is and how successful it has been as a process improvement approach. In the early 1990s, Michael Hammer and James Champy authored a best-selling book, Reengineering the Corporation, in which they promoted that sometimes radical redesign and reorganization of a…

Up Close with J.D. Sicilia

In an interview with iSixSigma, J.D. Sicilia, director of the Department of Defense Lean Six Sigma Program Office, shares about the purpose of the office, his deployment strategy and how the office will interact with the services.

Six Sigma and Innovation Need Not Be Exclusive

In a production and development environment, Six Sigma attempts to reduce rework from the start, cutting down on costs and development cycle time. Compared to the try-fail method, in which practitioners usually generate thousands of ideas before finding a really useful concept for developing a new product or service, Six Sigma’s systematic approach may be…

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Top 10 Questions for Lean Six Sigma Integration Partner

Many of the attendees at a recent Lean Six Sigma conference were investigating how to start a Lean and Six Sigma program in their organization. Most were very excited about Lean and Six Sigma and how it could help them introduce process improvement and customer focus to their organizational cultures. Of course, some also were…

Connecting Six Sigma to CMMI Measurement and Analysis

Measurement and analysis (MA) is a Level 2 support process area within the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) process. The purpose of MA is to provide management information necessary to implement monitoring and control of various required processes. Source: Ahern, Clouse and Turner, CMMI Distilled: A Practical Introduction to Integrated Process Improvement, second edition, Addison…

Kaizen and Six Sigma Together in the Quest for Lean

Kaizen is seductive and efficient. It can deliver results quickly and on a significant scale, utilize the collective insight and experience of those who know most about the process and inspire employees with a relentless curiosity about and discomfort with waste, defects and constraints to throughput. But it is also overrated. Kaizen Alone In the…

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Leverage ITIL and Six Sigma Together to Maximize Outcome

Information technology (IT) services are highly valued in today’s enterprise particularly those aligned with business needs. As IT departments transition from technology to service based management, more organizations are following the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. ITIL is a set of best practices intended to facilitate the delivery of high quality IT services. ITIL…

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Seeing Red: Integrating Balanced Scorecard and Six Sigma

The journey to organizational improvement involves a major investment. Any executive deploying Six Sigma within their organization can describe the plethora of time, effort and money spent in bringing such an initiative to life. There are questions about organizational dynamics to consider: Who will serve as Champions, Master Black Belts, Black Belts and Green Belts?…

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What’s in a Name? It’s the Approach, Not the Name

This article is the first of two on using a systematic approach to implementing a strategic initiative. The second article is “What’s in a Name? Systematic Approach to an Initiative.” For more than 30 years, global competition has driven businesses to seek new and better ways to be competitive in the marketplace. Some companies, in…

What’s in a Name? Systematic Approach to an Initiative

This article is the second of two on using a systematic approach to implementing a strategic initiative. The first article is “What’s in a Name? It’s the Approach, Not the Name.” When a company decides to deploy a strategic initiative, whether the approach is called Six Sigma or something else, it must stay focused on…

Wrestling with IT-Six Sigma Integration Survey Results

Readers may be familiar with the results of a survey on the integration of Six Sigma and information technology (IT) published by iSixSigma Magazine in its May/June issue. The survey, conducted and analyzed by Michael Marx, research manager of iSixSigma, revealed four important truths which provide meaningful insight to any organization attempting to apply Six…

Roadmap for Integrating ITIL, CMMI and Lean Six Sigma

Several documented approaches are available for business and IT leaders to use when considering implementing the best practices of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), or the Software Engineering Institute’s capability maturity model integration (CMMI) or Lean Six Sigma as individual methodologies or frameworks. There also are some references that suggest how to use the…

It’s Not Common Sense…It’s a Sixth (Sigma) Sense

Many times when Lean and Six Sigma are introduced to an executive management team, there will be an individual who makes the statement: “This is just common sense. Why do we need to go through all this methodology, training and the statistics stuff to execute a simple project?” A large segment of thought leaders in…

Integrating Six Sigma with Lean and Work-out in Healthcare

Since its introduction nearly two decades ago, Six Sigma has been embraced by many organizations and industries involved in manufacturing and transactional services as a cost-effective way to improve quality and productivity. As a method to eliminate variation and defects, Six Sigma makes use of a structured approach and statistical tools to find the root…

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Art of Integration with the Help of Lean and Six Sigma

At first glance it may seem un-Six Sigma-like to use art concepts in a discussion of Lean and Six Sigma and the merger of two large financial institutions. But in fact, any serious approach to integrating two extremely complex organizations can benefit from thinking in terms of art as well as science. The successful change…

Six Sigma and the Project Management Body of Knowledge

Interest in Six Sigma is growing rapidly within the professional project management community, and the most common question coming from that group is something like “How does Six Sigma relate to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK)?” Six Sigma and PMBoK do have connections, similarities and distinctions. Before diving into specifics, a little background…

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