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performance

Manage Project Performance with EVM and Control Charts

This article introduces the concept of earned value management (EVM) indexes, a project assessment technique, and control charts, a statistical tool for monitoring variation in a process, and describes how both may be used in tangent to capture more insight from project performance.  What to Know About EVM Indexes EVM is a project management technique…

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Getting the Most out of a Capability Analysis

The process capability indices Pp and Cp describe how closely a process can operate within its specification limits. Many articles describe the difference between Pp and Cp simply: one is short term, one is long term. Moving beyond such a description, this article focuses on the untapped power of capability analysis and shows you how…

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Managing Performance Factors: A Sample Checklist

In the May/June issue of iSixSigma Magazine, the article, “Taking the Next Step: How to Eliminate Errors for Good,” offers an approach for managing human performance factors in an effort improve processes in service organizations. An excerpt of a checklist used to measure human performance factors and gauge risk is featured in the magazine article….

Comparing Financial Performance Among Business Units

Earlier this month, a member of the iSixSigma Discussion Forum asked about the best methods to measure financial performance among business units within the same company, but in different regions. The answers that came back ranged from simple bottom-line comparison using accounting department data to more complex metrics, such as profit per item sold and…

Monitoring Return on Investment for Internet Initiatives

During the past four years the Internet channel has seen the migration from an exploratory revolution of new functionality to creating a viable profitable business. It is no longer feasible to place additional technological enhancements on the web without considering the payback model in which returns and/or cost savings can be generated. This young Internet…

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Catalyzing Change: A Turnaround Success

Imagine you run a manufacturing business and a surprise government labor inspector hands more than 21 citations for serious worker safety (OHSA) violations. Add to this an order that gives you only six months to show 100 percent compliance or face shutdown. This true story explains the elements that took this company from near collapse to…

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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…

Maximize Six Sigma Team Performance

The Black Belt’s ability to maximize team members’ contributions is critical to the success of the Six Sigma project. Many factors must be addressed. Assuring Basic Team Member Needs During World War II Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) developed his famous hierarchy of needs study. He showed an individual needs hierarchy ranging from the most basic, to…

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Six Sigma Critical Success Factors

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This axiom, while intuitive for most managers and business professionals, is often not applied to the Six Sigma management process itself. For Six Sigma or any other management initiative to yield the advertised results, many factors must be considered, aligned, measured and acted upon. Having been involved with…

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Creating a High Performance Culture with Hoshin Kanri

A high performance culture is the result of high performance actions. An organization should strive to implement actions which deliver the desired performance and assess the results of these actions on the culture. If these actions are successful, performance targets are achieved and a high-performance culture ensues. The pursuit of performance gains starts with defining…

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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,…

How Six Sigma Can Help ITIL Service Level Management

Many information technology (IT) organizations are utilizing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as a guiding framework for operational excellence. One of the many “best practices” within ITIL is utilization of service level agreements, (SLAs) and operational level agreements (OLAs). When implemented well, these agreements and associated management processes go far in establishing fruitful working…

Tips for Avoiding Common Metrics Challenges

Many organizations spend a lot of resources to collect and report a number of metrics without focusing on the proper utilization of them or tracking the return on investment in the effort. In some cases it may be difficult even to find meaningful metrics. Missing the right metrics poses a great risk to business decision-making…

Lean Services: Doing Transactions Right the First Time

In a service organization, the most efficient method for cutting waste is to attack anything and everything that is not done right the first time. This concept, known as first time right, involves making sure that all activities are carried out in the right manner the first time and every time. Examples include a customer…

Business Improvement Strategy, Masteries and Metrics

Many organizations that deploy Lean and Six Sigma eventually hit what is referred to as the “performance measurement wall.” These organizations begin with the right intentions, however, the bottom-line results from their Lean and Six Sigma initiatives are often illusionary because they are focused on the wrong targets. One of the major reasons for this…

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One IT Size Does Not Fit All; Lean Six Sigma Can Help

Although information technology (IT) organizations can share commonalities at a general level, each has its own, unique set of characteristics interacting in ways that result in their own performance signatures. Even performance measurements are not identical. Each is its own system, its own environment supporting a specific company’s needs. Just as companies are diverse in…

Dealing with SLAs and Visitors from “Outlier” Space

Those in the information technology (IT) field often encounter service level agreements (SLAs) that define the performance a customer can expect from a particular process or service, such as a help desk. Often, these agreements are established by negotiation rather than by a more scientific approach that would be used in a Six Sigma process…

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…

Healthcare Quality Initiatives: The Role of Leadership

A distinguished panel of healthcare executives recently shared their thoughts on the importance of leaders taking an active and visible role in their organization’s quality initiatives. They also agreed on the need for organizations to develop the right management systems and structures to adequately support their quality efforts, measure outcomes and encourage accountability. Speaking on…

Value Matters as a Key Metric for Six Sigma Initiatives

A key measurement of Six Sigma effectiveness is the application of appropriate metrics. Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder, two pioneers of Six Sigma, state in their book Six Sigma that, “An organization’s profitability is determined by what it chooses to measure and how it measures it.” They point out that most companies need to change…

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