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Managing Automated IT Processes with Six Sigma

Mar 11, 2008
CEOs and board members of companies that are planning to implement Six Sigma for the first time should not retain any doubts in their minds. Over the last few years, Six Sigma has proven itself to be quite effective in managing automated IT processes across almost all business domains.

For a better understanding, let's discuss some of the standard procedures enacted by Six Sigma for the effective management of automated IT processes.

Identifying the Main Process Components Using VSM (Value Stream Mapping)

Automated IT processes generally comprise of several smaller sub-processes or components which first need to be identified and understood in order to make them available for quality improvements. For enabling accurate identification, Six Sigma utilizes advanced tools such as VSM that not only identifies all the sub-processes, but also classifies them according to the overall value that they might be contributing to the main process.

The classification makes it easier for the implementation team to concentrate their efforts and resources in improving vital components and avoid wasting time on components that offer relatively less value. Components that hold the maximum potential for improvement are also classified under a separate category, allowing the team to give top priority to these components.

Testing and Implementing Suggested Improvement Measures

After identifying key components, the implementation team then seeks inputs, suggestions and feedbacks so as to make way for the desired quality improvements. Six Sigma helps because it allows team members to test the effectiveness of the suggested quality improvement initiatives.

This is necessary because automated IT processes are too complex to be manipulated without fully knowing the consequences. Individual opinions and experiences may be valuable, but they can never replace the accuracy of scientific statistical tools and techniques that Six Sigma utilizes for testing the effectiveness of available alternatives. If and when necessary, advanced Six Sigma simulation tools can be used for testing and validating the effectiveness of a given quality improvement initiative.

Only those initiatives that pass the test are then made available for final implementation. The testing process is vital because it ensures that only those initiatives are selected for final implementations which hold the maximum potential and are least likely to get embroiled in controversies. In effect, the Six Sigma testing and implementation process ensures a smooth sailing for the selected implementation projects.

The probability of project failures is no doubt reduced significantly after the testing phase, but since there is always a chance for errors, Six Sigma continues to deliver even after the testing phase. For example, it deploys advanced control systems designed to detect irregularities as soon as they occur.

This provides enough time to the team to undertake preventive measures and minimize the associated risks. Six Sigma continues to deliver even after the project is up and running, enabling continuous quality improvements and the best possible results. All this proves the effectiveness of Six Sigma in managing automated IT processes.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals such as, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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