IT practitioners must see their world from two different perspectives - how the business uses their services and how IT provides services to the business. Both views distill to one concept - the value stream - applied in two different ways.
In the near term, most software organizations can realize meaningful cycle time reductions by adopting Agile methods. In the longer term, it remains important to address and measure all of the factors that contribute to longer cycle times.
One way to extend the Lean Six Sigma toolkit is by introducing new, nonlinear approaches to improvement within the transactional improvement space particularly upstream in the areas of innovation, new product development and the software development life cycle.
Most organizations have a strong bias toward planning, managing and executing a multitude of supposedly value-added activities hoping that these activities will yield significant results. Most do not. But there is another better way.
For a software company to make a case for process improvement, reliable measurement data is needed. Unfortunately that data normally comes from an improvement project.
When facing an imminent layoff, what path should Six Sigma professionals with a technical background take to get into the information technology (IT) arena?
Cause-and-effect diagrams help identify factors (x's) that drive changes in the results variable (Y). But when that tool is not enough, causal loop diagrams can convey causal interconnections that better reflect the way things are.
An organization is getting into process improvement. Should it look at the Software Engineering Institute's capability maturity model integration (CMMI) first? Six Sigma first? The answer seems to be Six Sigma first...at least a little bit first.
CMMI/PSP/TSP are among the several potential choices of software development process definition that can lead to improved software project performance. The full potential of the data produced by these processes cannot be fully leveraged without applying the more comprehensive Six Sigma for Software toolkit.
Computacenter AG & Co. oHG, an information technology (IT) services firm that first began its Six Sigma deployment 14 years ago, has made its second consecutive appearance on iSixSigmas Best Places to Work list. Computacenter was ranked at No. 10 for this years list, the same position it was given in the 2010 list.
Six Sigma makes a strong connection to the management and analysis support process area of CMMI. It supplies a specific and proven answer to the "how" question - a methodology for applying measurement and analysis to problem solving.
A basic-yet-powerful set of metrics gets to the heart of measuring organizational efficiency and effectiveness in software and IT organizations. These metrics also facilitate effective application of Six Sigma in software and IT organizations.
Information technology businesses can create better service level agreements (SLAs) by using a more scientific approach than just negotiating with their customers. Yet the method is not complex and it does not require a Six Sigma deployment.
Six Sigma is used effectively in manufacturing, service, financial and educational settings to improve processes and achieve time and cost benefits by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. With a little adaptation, Six Sigma can do the same for IT departments.
Defect prevention in software development involves a structured problem-solving methodology to identify, analyze and prevent the occurrence of defects. This article outlines the five general activities of a defect prevention methodology.
Agile changes the nature of planning and tracking. In agile, the available development capacity in resources and schedule is assessed and considered fixed at the outset. That assessment guides the scope of features promised for a delivery cycle.
A survey sponsored by the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) finds that Six Sigma is feasible as an enabler of the adoption of software, systems and IT improvement models and practices.
By implementing Six Sigma to measure the performance of its IT products, ING Direct enabled its teams to improve the quality, throughput, speed and continuous improvement with which they deliver features and functionality to the customer.
While Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and Agile software development seem to have different orientations, there is more linkage than meets the eye. Considering defect containment metrics, there is a positive tie between these two bodies of experience.
Practitioners must carefully consider the potential gains from using Lean Six Sigma in an Agile software development environment. But first they need to understand what sets software design apart from other product development.
This article describes a successful Green Belt project in information technology in which a software development team applied Six Sigma to reduce the resolution time of software defects and minimize rework, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.
The demand for business intelligence is increasing at a rapid pace across all industries in todays 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 reliable predictions of future events based on analysis of historical data.
Help desks are good at solving problems but they often miss a more important role - working to put themselves out of business. Help desks can provide information that would lead to improvement opportunities for both the IT function and their client users within the business.
Software and IT experts discuss the best ways that methods such as business process managment and Agile can be applied to a Lean software development program.
Utilizing service level agreements (SLAs) can go far in establishing fruitful working relationships between IT providers and customers. If implemented poorly, however, they can be a source of discomfort for which IT providers should be wary.
Six Sigma can help improve any size IT organization by providing a competitive edge. The main thing that prevents many small IT businesses from exploring Six Sigma is not knowing just how they can implement the data-driven methodology.
Variation in IT project cost forecasting can result in either underspent or overspent budgets. A Six Sigma approach applied to the IT project forecasting process minimizes variation in forecast accuracy resulting in dollar savings for the business.
This article reviews some perspective on offshore outsourcing of software development work and provides some thoughts around how a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) approach may help software organizations make better decisions about how, when and how much to deploy offshore.
While most information technology (IT) organizations are constantly struggling to demonstrate cost savings, too few are focusing on ways to add value to the business. Alignment with the business is where the emphasis should be for IT departments.
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.
Integrating a DFSS roadmap and SDLC methodologies into IT development enhances a company's business focus while balancing customer needs and ensuring on time/on budget system delivery. Six Sigma assists an organization in measuring success with KPIs.
The IT Infrastructure Library and Six Sigma have both been successfully employed to improve the quality of IT services. Many organizations are now coming to realize the value of combining the two to take advantage of each one's strength.
An information technology services company was engaged to provide end-to-end testing for a telecom provider's five lines of business. Each business line had its own way of operating. The company chose to apply Lean in order to reduce waste in these processes.
This step-by-step guide shows how Belts in the transactional sector can calculate the time needed to complete a process and utilize their resources efficiently.
One waste area, often found in organizations handling outsourced projects, is excessive and often redundant documentation. To overcome this waste, practitioners can organize it in one place by building and maintaining a master document.
The IT Infrastructure Library and Six Sigma should be viewed as complementary systems that leverage one another in the common goal of world-class IT performance. Organizations should use this powerful combination to bolster their competitiveness.
From CIO to CFO, the writing is on the wall - lower the cost of ownership. This article discusses strategic choices IT organizations can make in lowering the cost of ownership for the entire software lifecycle in order to minimize overall costs and deliver return-on-investment. Reducing their budget in the short term can motivate IT organizations to create innovative approaches to systems development that will reduce costs.
By exploring how Lean Six Sigma is used at best-practice companies and learning the answers to some common questions, software and IT organizations not already using Lean Six Sigma can gain a greater understanding of what they are missing.
It has been obvious from early on that software development could not be done in an ad hoc manner. It needed a methodology like Six Sigma to deliver attributes like robustness, correctness, adaptability, reusability and maintainability.
A specific process solution, orchestrated for one IT organization, is unlikely to fit perfectly in another IT system. This means that importing a set of processes into an organization, without some kind of review for "fit" carries momentous risk.
Six Sigma practitioners in the IT industry need to look inward to keep application of the method simple and relevant. Practitioners should consider a three-phased deployment model alongside a project selection method matching the effort's maturity.
Implementation of a project-specific process map during software development can help practitioners improve their performance and meet project objectives.
The goal of code inspection is to identify software faults early in the software development lifecycle, but it is not always known if those inspections are effective. A prediction model can be applied to evaluate this process and refine the achieved quality level.
One of the biggest challenges in any Six Sigma order fulfillment project is the scoping. Having clear boundaries on what aspects will and will not be covered in the project is paramount to its success. Scoping sometimes indicates that a…
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.
The call center handled technical problems and policy issues for a financial institution's branches, but complaints and cost overruns indicated problems.
Many software organizations are beginning to use Six Sigma, and are finding that they need to rationalize its relationship to the standard software development life cycle (SDLC) process. A number of issues and alternatives arise when this need is addressed.
In the IT industry, positioning Six Sigma under the broad process management umbrella of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) ensures that a company gains from this important tool while averting the trap of applying it where it does not fit.
This article is intended to help the reader better understand the early attributes of how Six Sigma is typically and successfully deployed inside a Software organization.
Six Sigma for Software is rapidly emerging as the new wave of change in Six Sigma and no wonder. It actually addresses the tools AND the root causes of the lack of needed change, management accountability and organizational behavior.
Six Sigma can be used in the information technology industry to improve processes and produce bottom line benefits. A case study shows how Six Sigma was used to reduce IT requests, issues and tickets initiated by end-users by 70 percent.
Challenges Faced Today Offer Solutions for Tomorrow Six Sigma has come a long way from statistically oriented tools to today’s “not so data driven” tools like Lean and quality function deployment (QFD). The application of Six Sigma across different sectors…
While Six Sigma provides great tools for improving and developing products and services, some work is still needed for managing software projects.
This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC 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.
There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses the Total Containment Effectiveness, Phase Containment Effectiveness and Defect Containment Effectiveness.
There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses how to predict defect find and fix rates during development and after release.
There are multiple measures and metrics available for the Six Sigma development of software. This article discusses how to compare implementations within the company.
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.
Effort accounting is essential in software/IT Six Sigma projects because labor usually is the most controllable cost. To know if a process improvement has the desired impact, a company must know how time was spent, before and after the improvement.
This article will present various tools and techniques for use in creating a Defect Prevention (DP) strategy that, when introduced at all stages of a Software life cycle, can reduce the time and resources necessary to develop high quality systems. Specifically, how implementing a model-based strategy to reduce Requirement Defects, Development Rework and Manual test development efforts will lead to significant achievements in cost reduction and total productivity.
Learning to reduce project duration can be critical, but it could be more important to reduce the predicted-to-actual project duration gap (the variation). That gap is a particularly familiar enemy in the software world, causing problems with project cost, disappointed customers, conflicts with management, development team morale, and more. This article identifies three ways to do so.
A multibillion-dollar software manufacturer used Six Sigma, and a 5 day project saved more than $12 million.
Successful software testing requires five essential elements - test strategy, testing plan, test cases, test data and a test environment. If any element is missing or inadequate, the test effort will most likely fall far short of its objectives.
Software development environments have unique cultural dynamics and lower process maturity states that must be taken into account for successful implementation of Lean Six Sigma projects
Five essential elements are required for successful software testing: test strategy, testing plan, test cases, test data and a test environment. If any one of these five elements is missing or inadequate, your test effort will most likely fall far short of what you could otherwise achieve.
IT firms often begin initiatives to measure and collect data for process metrics as part of improvement initiatives. Practitioners responsible for deployment will benefit from understanding the strategic, tactical and operational aspects of metrics.
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.
What's different about applying Six Sigma to software? A good deal. This article frames how issues will be addressed for software, firmware, and other information technology topics.
By mapping the entire software application development life cycle, IT departments can see dramatic improvements in efficiency.
While software testing is challenging because certain properties present difficulties, one test approach, often called "usage-based," has statistical roots and connections that Lean Six Sigma Black Belts could effectively support and perhaps evolve.
After making a case for using cost-of-quality metrics, combined with defect data, as overall measures of software and IT organizational effectiveness. The next logical step is to illustrate how these metrics might be used to drive improvement.
Six Sigma offers a groundbreaking way of reducing defects in products – something that any software project can definitely use. Hence, it makes sense to at least evaluate the possibility of integrating it with Agile software development process.
Most of the common excuses for not engaging in Lean Six Sigma rely on traditional views and conventional wisdom, and are not fact-based. CIOs, CTOs and others can benefit from knowing the practical ways Lean Six Sigma really works.
The results of a survey on the integration of Six Sigma and information technology (IT) published by iSixSigma Magazine revealed four important truths which provide meaningful insight to any organization attempting to apply Six Sigma in IT.