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Software

Predicting Code Inspection Faults

Inspections are one of the most common methods of review performed in software teams. The goal of code inspection is to identify software faults early in the software development lifecycle. Teams are faced with the challenge, however, of determining whether those inspections are effective. One way to quantify this is by predicting the total number…

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How to Poka-yoke CAD Drawings

The following question has been posed on many Internet discussion forums: Has anyone poka-yoked a computer-aided design (CAD) system? The goal of poka-yoke, or mistake-proofing, is to design a process or mechanism that prevents an error from occurring. In the world of machine and industrial design, CAD systems are one of the best forms of…

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Top Lean Six Sigma IT Trends to Come in 2011

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.

Scorecards Help South African Bank Reap Savings

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. As a result…

Planning Ahead with Project-Specific Software Process Models

Lean Six Sigma projects involving software development are an increasingly popular option for IT departments that are seeking to improve their efficiency. However, a number of research studies demonstrate that the average percentage of software projects that achieve all project objectives is significantly less than might be expected. For instance, a Standish Group survey conducted…

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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Australian Bank to Revamp IT with Lean Six Sigma

Australian financial services firm Westpac has launched a large-scale initiative to overhaul its information technology (IT) services, part of which will be accomplished through the application of Lean and Six Sigma techniques to reduce waste and remove unnecessary banking processes. The IT plan was announced during an Oct. 8 webcast briefing with Westpac investors. During…

Trimming IT Fat with Lean Assessments

Organizations are under enormous pressure to use existing core business systems more effectively and efficiently. Budgets may shrink, but information technology (IT) departments are still expected – perhaps more than ever – to deliver the increased business value required for growth. Though many organizations are renegotiating pricing and exploring opportunities to send certain services to…

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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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Career Advice for IT and Six Sigma Professionals

When facing an imminent layoff, what path should Six Sigma professionals with a technical background take to get into the information technology (IT) arena? This topic was brought up in a recent online conversation on the iSixSigma Discussion Forums. The suggestions included getting familiar with the capability maturity model (CMM), joining an IT organization, becoming…

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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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Harnessing the Power of Predictive Analytics

The demand for business intelligence is increasing at a rapid pace across all industries in today’s 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…

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IBM Applies Green Principles to Reduce Waste at Irish Facility

From environmentalleader.com Businesses today generally understand they need to do as much as possible to conserve energy and water, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize their environmental impact overall. Societal pressures from customers, increasing regulation and economics all make this a fact of life for them. Most are taking steps to address these…

Creating A Training Paradigm Shift

While training traditional software services personnel it becomes imperative to give an experiential feeling in the classroom. Using case studies and sharing success stories will help develop conviction in practitioners.

Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 3

Parts one and two of this series surveyed the work connected with several goals shared by software organizations and Six Sigma (Goals 1-3 in Table 1). We saw that reaching those goals involved establishing systems to identify defects, classify them according to type and point of origin, predict their occurrence, and assess actual defect find…

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 4

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. Parts one, two and three followed a progression of goals…

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Improving Offshore Outsourcing Efficiency with DFSS

Two recent conferences on software focused on the topics of Six Sigma for the software industry and general conference for the software vertical market. There was, as one would imagine, a tremendous amount of discussion relating to the offshore outsourcing of software development work to achieve significant cost reductions. This has been an emerging trend…

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Six Sigma Software Metrics, Part 2

Part 1 in this series on software defect metrics discussed Goals 1 and 2, which focused on identifying and removing defects in the development process as close to the point of occurrence as possible (Table 1). This installment looks at predicting defect insertion and removal dynamics early in a project and measuring predicted versus actual…

Design of Experiments for Software Testing

When DOE (design of experiments) is used for software testing, there is a large amount of savings in testing time and cost. Various users in automotive, telecommunication and defense industries report big productivity improvements to their traditional testing methods. This success is due to two major important factors: 1) focused attention on the usage of…

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Software Vendor Partnership Cost Reduction with Six Sigma

Business Issue A multibillion-dollar software manufacturer needed to drive down the total $191 million annual cost of supplying its workers with continuously updated workstations. Both the software manufacturer and its primary vendor/supplier were in the midst of an aggressive cost cutting initiative that would lead to a new compensation model. The initial, first year targeted…

Six Sigma for Software – More Than a New Tool

We need to fundamentally change what’s going on in Software. FAST! Defects, long cycle times, poor estimation, missed targets and project cancellations are stripping away profits and our ability to satisfy and retain customers. It’s occurring in Software Development companies, Embedded Product Software (Firmware), and Business Application Software. And, it’s happening in all industry segments….

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…

Combining CMMI, PSP, TSP, and Six Sigma for Software

PSP and TSP are software development process definitions (some might call them ‘methodologies’) that are compatible with a wide range of software development concepts such as spiral development, object oriented development, and various other sets of techniques, each with certain advantages in modeling and describing requirements and designs for software systems. One way of viewing…

The Five Essentials for Software Testing

The following advice should help clarify your thinking about software testing and help you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your testing. It is helpful to think about software testing in terms of five essential elements: A test strategy that tells you what types of testing and the amount of testing you think will work…

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Software Project Management Meets Six Sigma

Part 1: Bottom-up Project Duration and Variation Prediction. A number of recent posts in the iSixSigma Software Forum have inquired about the application of Six Sigma methods to Software Project Management. In particular, how might we look at software project duration as a key project-planning and execution output (a “Y” in common Six Sigma terms),…

Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six…

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Software Defect Prevention – In a Nutshell

Organizations face many problems that impede rapid development of software systems critical to their operations and growth. The challenge in any software product development lies in minimizing the number of defects. Occurrence of defects is the greatest contributor to significant increases in product costs due to correction and rework time. Most defects are caused by…

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