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Ideas please for Six Sigma projects in IT

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  • #29922

    Dennis
    Participant

    I am in IT Quality Management and we are currently using ISO tools to raise the capability of our Information Technology processes. Our company has adopted six sigma and we want to incorporate this initiative as part of our overall philosophy. My problem is that I cannot find too many examples of Six Sigma projects in Information Technology, especially based on the premise that I do not know the solution (our process improvement excercise has shown us many solutions).
    Could someone please let me know the types of projects you have implemented within your IT department.
    Many Thanks

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    #77824

    Guest
    Participant

    Try to measure Help Desk response time . Frequency of some requests, Mean and variances of response time give us important information about needed profylaxy in service.
     

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    #77827

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Dennis,
    You should be able to sort this discussion group and find a multitude of other people from various IT groups that are looking for examples from other IT groups as well. Rather than spend a lot of time researching what someone else has done just do a couple real basic questions:
    1. What is a defect?
    2. How do I measure it?
    If you can answer those two questions you can launch a SS project and it will follow the same general path as any other SS project. You take the practical problem, turn it into a statistical probem, come up witha statistical solution which gives you a practical solution.
    It isn’t any more complex than that and it doesn’t matter what discipline you come from.
    Good luck.

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    #77829

    Hans Chhabra
    Participant

    Dennis,
    I have an example of an IT process improvement project that I am currently working on with our black belt.  My role is Green Belt.  It’s about IT Infrastructure designs that are repeatable service offerings. I am looking at the process improvement for the three CTQ’s cost, quality (accuracy and completeness) and CRD (Customer required date). 
    The team is in the process of completing SIPOC this week, then we plan to do a MAIC of the DMAIC map.  The outcome of this project is expected to trigger the the three other similar projects.
    Rgds,
    Hans

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    #77830

    amal
    Participant

    Dennis
    Please get in touch by email.
    Regards
     

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    #77831

    Shari
    Member

    Dennis, here are some examples of IT projects:
    1. Reduce costs of Laptops
    2. Reduce laptop costs
    3. Reduce server maint. costs
    4. Improve Help Desk problem resolution time (rather than just response time because they were responding well – just not resolving well)
    5. Improve website cohesion
    6. Reduce IT consulting costs
    Shari
     

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    #77832

    Tim Young
    Member

    Mike,
    I want to be careful that this response doesn’t come across as a gratuitous sales pitch for my company, so we are probably better having this conversation off line. There are potentially many areas for applying Six Sigma in IT. These include software engineering, configuration management, help-desk, security and so on. However as businesses become more dependent on IT, then clearly the best application of Six Sigma in IT is to improve the quality of service provided by the IT services that support CTQ business processes. The majority of our customers are putting in place corporate digital dashboards to show the quality of service delivered to CTQ business processes and then using this information to scope out service improvement programs.
     
    If you want more information, you can either download white papers and articles from
    http://www.proxima-tech.com/products/sixsigma/index.jsp or you can send me an email message at [email protected].
    Regards
    Tim

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    #77833

    Adriano Barbosa
    Participant

    You can contact me at [email protected].
    I can give you several examples of high impact in IT. But for that, I need to know more about what kind of services and products of IT you are working on.
    Adriano A Barbosa, MBB SS, Eng, MBA e-BUsiness

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    #77834

    Terry
    Member

    Why are we having so much trouble figuring out Six Sigma projects for IT – The group whose Requirements-To-Delivery process are typically late, way over budget, and do not function as the customer expected?  And what about all of the redundancies, maintenance, support?  By the way, I’m not slamming IT because the outcomes of these projects are rarely the fault of the IT group. 
    You might have better luck if you look at root causes – i.e., where the IT $ are spent (process), rather than looking in the IT department (silo).  Don’t get hung up on whether or not Six Sigma projects are in the IT department itself, that’s not where the big fruit lies.
    For starters, there’s probably 10+ good Six Sigma projects alone in any organization’s ERP systems.  If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that your ERP system was probably slam-dunked in to meet some financial guy’s inappropriate timeline, but it is not working.  I can’t tell you how many companies who told me “We’ll come back and do the process improvements later” or “the system will automatically enforce process improvements on us” or “we implemented ERP in 3 months but we didn’t put up the reports screens.”  Guess what, there was never time to come back.  I know of only a handful of companies that can actually get accurate real time information direct (OK as is)from ERP for their Six Sigma program.   This is an area where organizations have collectively spent “billions” and have yet to see the returns they expected.
      And how about the IT end-to-end Requirements to Delivery process?  Seems like there are many recurring defects in this process in most organizations, and nothing is ever done right the first time.  And how about IT program/resource management?  Standardization of capable processes/practices can play a big role here.  Again, not slamming IT, make sure you look at “root causes,”  they’re outside of the IT department.
    Open your eyes folks, there’s millions in opportunity out there.  Good luck, you can do it!  Six Sigma is great stuff in these areas. 
    Terry

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    #77845

    Scott Lewis
    Member

    Dennis,
    The best place to get ideas on improvement projects for your IT department is to ask its customers.  What is your IT department doing that has its customers ready to lynch them?  Turn those problems into proposed projects.  It is easy to get users to complain about the IT department, so your chief problem will be dealing with the mountain of Voice Of the Customer data you’ll get.
    Some folks have suggested looking at system development processes.  Before starting down that road, I would suggest that you make sure that the developers really have processes to improve.  Frequently, when you start looking at IT shops, you immediately see that they have no standard processes, poor to nonexistent project management, poor to nonexistent quality assurance and configuration management practices, totally undisciplined testing, and no metrics. 
    If that is the case, the answer may not be a bunch of disconnected Six Sigma projects, but a coordinated overall effort to put the basic processes in place.  An SEI Capability Maturity Model compliance program would be a good way to do it.  If the IT department won’t do CMM, then do a bunch of Six Sigma projects.  Whichever, you choose, expect a *lot* of whining and moaning along the way.
    Regards,
    Scott
     

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    #77846

    Bob Hanrahan
    Participant

    Dennis,
        I agree with Scott Lewis.  While SS projects can help, one really needs to get at the underlying causes.  I could not tell fro your posting if you already had what you feel is a “well defined” SDLC.  If not, start there with CMM (“snapshot”) and/or ISO 9000 for software (“gap analysis.  These are organizationally focused.  I would then use SS to do some “point solutions” with high ROI to help keep your head above water. But the real solution is:  in conjunction with all this, use the SEI’s TSP/PSP to accellerate the CMM/ISO/SS.  PSP will really help your software engineers reduce defect to the 2 or 3 defects per KLOC.
       Sounds like a lot, but any one done in isolation of the other is a hit or miss proposition.  Email me and we can discuss how I started with ISO, applied the CMM, started to roll out TSP/PSP and how we used SS as the process improvement methodology (“point solution oriented”).  By the way my GB SS project was to reduce “bug meetings” by two weeks.
    Bob Hanrahan (801) 525-9841
    [email protected] 

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    #77851

    Eng Lim
    Participant

    Hans,
    Would you be able to shared your project? I am very interested in SS project in these area.

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    #77852

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Terry,
    I am not sure why identification of a project anywhere is an issue. Project selection is basically assigment of work which is the fundimental job of any manager/supervisor. For the most part in a day to day assignment what people work on is not very public. Once it becomes a SS project it becomes public and is up for public scrutiny it becomes something excrutiatingly difficult. Something that gets explained repeatedly with hoards of Champions saying “I don’t understand.”  At some point I would expect some CEO to sit these guys down eye to eye and say something like “You do not understand how to select what in your area needs to be worked on? You have been in a supervisory role for how long?” 
    Putting that aside we can move to the Dr. Deming stuff from decades ago. He listed obstacles to improvement (The Deming Management Method by Mary Walton, Chapter 19.) The third obstacle – Search for examples, the fourth – our problems are different, and thirteen – anyone that comes to try to help us must understand all about our business. It is interesting to watch the endless posts that extol the virtues of the Dr. Deming philosophy and frequently they are in the middle of a discussion as basic as the Deadly diseases and obstacles or the guy that feigned horror that Deming would find out he was doing Six Sigma.
    We have listened to the IT world tell us they are different and that programs such as SS will inhibit their creativity. We treat them like Fabrege eggs rather than insist they learn to be resposible members of the business community.
    As far as opportunity – it is a target rich environment  for improvement. It is also the great bastion of resistance to change.
    Good luck.  

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    #77865

    Hans Chhabra
    Participant

    Eng,
    Sure! will share this project with you.  It’s basically very straight forward project.  It focusses on three areas of the output measures cost as measured by time taken to do a particular design type, the agreed delivery date ie the date mutually agreed with customers and the third is the quality as measured by the customer feedback for completeness and accuracy.  The “as is” process has been completed using six sigma SIPOC tools.  The next step is to measure and analyse then improve and control.  It’s very interesting working with the team using the six-sigma methodology and the tools, keeps you on track!.  I look forward to the outcome ie happy customers and business growth as a result of this project.
    Cheers,
    Hans

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    #77898

    Dennis
    Participant

    Hi Amal
    my email address is [email protected]
    Regards
    Dennis

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    #77903

    Jairo Brandao
    Participant

    Six sigma helps in reduces the numbers of hours expending to log a computer in the net .Or for an automatization in manual activits in several departures.
    Several manual activits should be listed and IT can support to do an automatization, to reduce the number of hours expending in it.
    Thanks.  Jairo – From Brazil

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