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SixSigma and IT Operations Excellence

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General SixSigma and IT Operations Excellence

  • This topic has 23 replies, 21 voices, and was last updated 14 years ago by JJ.
Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
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  • #27022

    Tony Harte
    Member

    How often is the SixSigma process applied to operating an Information Systems Department that supports business units? I am having difficulty identifying a proven framework through which continual and measurable improvement is achieved. Is there anything written to specifically address the application of Six Sigma to
    Information Technology operations management?

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    #65714

    Victor Gosendi
    Member

    I was at Six Sigma class last year. The next task is to incorporate a method which melds Six Sigma into a our IT&S Applications structure. I have been working with the tools for about 2 months now. Data shows that in IT&S Applications a high % of the tools can’t be apply to projects in which Six Sigma is being invoked.
    This is not to say that Six Sigma should not be used on IT&S Applications.
    I also interesting in anything written to specifically address the IT&S Applications of Six Sigma.

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    #65715

    Hogg
    Participant

    Six Sigma is a customer-focused process improvement methodology. The IT/IS environment is typically a (service) enabling function rather than a core (manufacturing) process, and an early step is to recognise that 1) what you do is a process 2) that has customers who 3) have requirements of that process.

    Firstly identify your process and map it from start to finish. You may have many little processes, such as ‘help desk’ or ‘new system install’ or ‘print invoices’. For such processes, ask your customers (of that process) what it is they want, and then set up a project team to measure this as a process performance. For example – help desk. Customer requirements are generally – availability (answer when I call) – response (do something when I call) – knowledgeable staff (fix the problem when I call) – safety (don’t make it worse) and so on. These are very high level, but you can flesh them out for your particular situation.

    The metrics for this process would then turn in to CTQs
    Availability – answer all calls between 08:00 and 18:00 within 30 seconds.
    Response – log help desk call within 1 minute, take action within 10 minutes/30 minutes/60 minutes (depends on seriousness of call – “my computer is on fire” or “my screen needs cleaning”)
    Knowledge of staff – no returned calls required, only one visit, 90% of calls resolved on-line.

    A very good metric here is the number of help-desk calls resolved (require no further action) at first call. Does it matter to the customer? You bet! Is it critical to quality? Try running a department where you don’t answer the problem on the first call! Is it measurable? Yes, if you are honest and log all calls properly. Is it actionable? Certainly!

    Have you identified the main reasons for calls to the help desk? Are most of them FAQs? Could you send out a help-guide, or better write a web page with a wizard to answer the common questions? The philosophy of Six Sigma is that you never have calls to your help desk – get out there and find out why people call, and then do something to fix the root cause so that they don’t have to call in the first place!

    IT/IS is an enabling function. When what the customer expects does not happen first time, it becomes a disabling function! What we the customer wants is a new computer, that works first time, is easy to use, does not fail, does what we expect, and when things go wrong, someone is there quickly to fix the problem.

    IT software development is a design process, wh

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    #65716

    Hogg
    Participant

    ich is another story…

    So, there is a limit to the length of post! Must be another IT CTQ in there somewhere!

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    #65717

    Charlie Taylor
    Participant

    Hi Geoff,

    You bring up many very good points in your last post, but I took exception to one small statement you made: “The IT/IS environment is typically a (service) enabling function rather than a core (manufacturing) process…”

    It’s true that it is typically an enabling function for a business, but more and more businesses are web enable their operating systems (such as UPS tracking, FEDEX tracking) and billing systems (your favorite retailers or credit card companies). It only makes sense seeing that allowing customers to “self-service” is going to lead to higher productivity and lower costs — service costs, that is. In order to accomplish these tasks, a company MUST have the IT infrastructure and processes in place. They must provide systems that are easy to use and intuitive, as well as 99.9997% uptime (just ask Amazon or eBay).

    Soon in the future, I predict a change in the IT-business alignment. We’ll see more IT managers leading the push to interact directly with the customer, as opposed to being a link to an enabling process.

    Charlie

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    #65727

    Dean Archer
    Participant

    First step is to establish framework for use of Six Sigma methods and tools in an IT environment. Two references that have caught my attention are: 1) Measuring and improving corporate information technology through the balanced scorecard (Grembergen, UFSIA) 2) Methods for management article (Information Week magazine).

    First article offers an approach with four perspectives (business contribution, user orientation, operational excellence and future orientation of IT). Outlined are possible processes/metrics that your Six Sigma tool belt can be applied to…The second article categorizes the IT function into a set of core distributed systems management processes (23 based on my count). Use this as your IT-map baseline and decompose into your specfic processes. Prioritize, establish project definitions and then move forward with either DMADV or DMAIC methods from a process perspective.

    Either method, I would recommend establishing a three-month window and re-assess at that point. Keep a watchful eye on automating the measurement/metric process to achieve long-term sustainment of process monitoring/control.

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    #65884

    Ranganadha Kumar
    Participant

    Six sigma is applicable to all operations whether it is manufacturing or services. In the manufacturing the measurables are defined and we know what to measure and how to improve our performance. But in service sector it is not explicit. You may have to figure out as to what are your deliverables. What your customers want from you. How can u delight your customers. If the time to service is your critical performance parameter then you have to emphasize on that. You can measure the time to one transaction. Before that you may have to group your services into some groups. Then analyze the time taken for each transaction. See how many customers are in queue. How can u serve them better. Draw flowcharts for your activity. You can run a crystal ball model to measure your time to service ( http://www.decisioneering.com ). Baseline the same and improve upon. Improvement over the existing is customer delight.( see that your performance is not hampered in the process ).
    In the service sector the six sigma should be based on your performance and u r customer requirements.

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    #66168

    Norbert
    Participant

    I have worked for 30 month as a master black belt with GE Capital Information Technology Solutions (4,500 employees at 54 locations in 45 countries worldwide) and I can tell you that in this (IT) division of GE six sigma is well implemented. For more information see http://www.gecits-eu.com and http://www.gecits.com or serch for ‘information technology’ at http://www.ge.com.

    “GECITS: Bringing IT products and services together, GE Capital Information Technology Solutions specializes in augmenting Internet and IT infrastructures with a variety of solutions. Customers rely on us to plan, acquire, implement, manage and refresh their multivendor information and communication technology.”

    “six sigma – the way we run our business / the way we work”

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    #66821

    MSC
    Participant

    DO you have examples of specific IT projects done at GE or other companies ?

    Thanks
    MSC

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    #68864

    Rob Lindner
    Member

    It has reliability, transaction errors, cycle time for service and support as well as resolved fist time quality indicators that can all be measured from a 6 Sigma perspective.
     
    What is the cost of these errors?  Or cycle times to the business?
    Once that is answered and the big ones are clear, then it is time to enter the Anayze phase of DMAIC…..

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    #69185

    tammy wilson
    Member

    A colleague and I used SS to reduce the cost of our remote access system. It was a big breakthrough for us to be able to demonstrate the use of the tools in a service environment.

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    #71553

    JENNIFER
    Participant

    There are two things I would like to respond to…
    I agree with Geoff that IT is an enabler in an organization. It can be very detrimental to the company if IT pushes the products out rather than enabling the users to do what they are prepared to do. We used to be the ones to push the new technology… and saw many large projects fail. Thank goodness we have learned our lesson and are now enabling users to implement the applications that they need and are willing to support. With hardware it is somewhat different, in that we have to provide the company with the newer technology, but not until the IT group is able to suppor it!
    I am also currently working toward technical certification as a Black Belt. My project was an application implementation. All the Six Sigma tools were very beneficial. The only one that I found hard to apply to my project was the DOE. I a working with another Black Belt on DOE for certification in that area. Using Six Sigma for the implementations has been the best thing we could have done as an IT organization. The thorough way in which you look at the process will make it a successful implementation. The lean tools also applied.

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    #85952

    Alpa
    Participant

    Hallo Dean,
    I am student doing my master thesis on exactly the same topic of this forum. I am a beginner in this subject and need more presice info on literature on the said subject.  As u made suggestion for some references, can u please tell me exactly what books or journal they are ? for eg. u said Grembergen, UFSIA and Information Week magazine, but i would like to know which edition. Any new references (books, journals or websites) on this subject are also welcome.
    Will be nice if u can help me.
    Thanks

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    #92492

    CHuck Malayter
    Participant

    I am looking to implement six sigma in the IT Infrastruture area (network, database, servers(unix and windows).  Do you have an example that you can share with me. Thanks.
    [email protected]

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    #92493

    Ren
    Participant

    Go take a look at the software section (http://software.isixsigma.com). I think they have some case studies on applying SS to technology.
     

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    #92494

    CHuck Malayter
    Participant

    It appears that the content is related to software development, not infrastructure

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    #92498

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    For an I/T infrastructure delivery organization, Six Sigma is a fairly straightforward thing.  In development, it gets muddied up in a lot of unique process attributes, and in confusion between applying the principles against the development work itself, versus the development process.  Add to that the total lack of metrics and the reluctance of development folks to be measured in any way, and it’s pretty easy to get frustrated.  Thus, there is an entire forum here devoted to that uniqueness.
    In the infrastructure space, though, it’s perhaps somewhat more straightforward.  You probably have metrics around response times, capacities, etc.  And likely any event gets recorded in some ticket tracking system, so defect metrics, if you don’t already have them, are easily gotten.
    What makes a good project depends on your shop.  The first thing I would do is sit down and ask what the pain points are, especially for the users.  Look at that list and, initially, think about where you have metrics, then go for it.
    Suppose, for example, that you see a lot of database recycles in your trouble tickets.  Put a stake in the ground, say, 70% reduction in database recycles, and send a Black Belt to go have at it.  Another one that bubbles up to the top often is password resets.  Well, odds are there is something you can do about that.  Network outages?  ERP system crashes?  Backups running too long?  There are hundreds, probably thousands, of opportunities in the infrastructure space, but what make sense to chase after is going to depend on where your users are feeling the pain.
    –McD

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    #94265

    Doug Black
    Participant

    I am currently leading a Six Sigma project to improve the Change Management process in our IT Department.  The only Six Sigma tool that I have having difficulty applying is Variable Gage R&R, which is very metric-specific.

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    #123708

    tugba
    Member

    hi ,
    can you share with me charter of the “improve the Change Management process” project.
     
    thanks,
    tugba

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    #124169

    Hema Hirlekar
    Participant

    Hey Doug, Just came across your posting. Have you found Six Sigma any help in improving Communication during Change management in an IT organisation? Could you share whatever knowledge you have garnered with me? I am writing my research thesis on ‘Role of Communication during change management in an IT organization’ and will be really grateful for any realtime experience. Thank you, Hema Hirlekar

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    #124171

    Niraj Goyal
    Participant

    Hello,
    I had posted two case studies which might be of interest:
    http://software.isixsigma.com/library/content/c040331b.asp
    https://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c050620a.asp
    This relates to improvements in a technical helpdesk times.
    Niraj

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    #124187

    Doug Black
    Participant

    Hema,
    Defects = -1.14 + 0.0543*Objects + 0.542*Handoffs + 3.47*DevTeamCoded.
    This is the defining equation that my work on Keane’s Software Development Life Cycle has yielded.  “Objects” refers to the nmber of objects in a software product — a measure of its complexity. 
    “Handoffs” is the number of different people that were involved in the definition, design, build, and testing of a product.  Obviously, better communications during these handoffs should greatly reduce their impact.
    “DevTeamCoded” refers to where the build was done.  We have an onsite Development Team here in Boston, and an offshore Development Team in Hyderabad, India.  Our analysis indicates that whenever we build a product offshore, we add 3.5 defects to a product.  We know that it is not the caliber of the people that are involved; it is the process by which we do offshore development that is not working — again, largely a result of poorer communications between our offshore team and the other stakeholders involved in the the development life cycle.
    Hope this helps, Hema.  If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly via email at [email protected].

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    #124350

    Amitabh Bhatnagar
    Participant

    Hello Dpug,
    I understand that you have a good experience in Six Sigma. I will be leading a testing team for an IT project, where objects have been developed based on specifications, and these will first be unit tested, and then integrally tested. Can you advise which and how 6-Sigma techniques can be applied during testing so as to achieve a low-defect rate, i.e. most defects are identified with miminum efforts. Someone suggested Orthogonal techniques!
    Pl advise.
    Regards.

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    #134086

    JJ
    Participant

    hi all, i am about to get involved in blackbelt training, i am required to do a project that shall be completed within 4 months. would any of you know of a good IT project

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