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Six Sigma Training For Software Implementation Projects

Aug 27, 2008
The application of Six Sigma in software development projects is well known, but the utility of Six Sigma for software implementation projects is also worth a mention.

Software implementation projects commonly have the recurring problem of going off-track with regard to target implementation dates, as well as other problems. This is the point where Six Sigma concepts can play a critical role.

Common Issues in Software Implementation Projects

As mentioned earlier, the problems that software development teams often face are in understanding customer requirements and adhering to the project schedule estimation.

By using Six Sigma, software professionals will be in a better position to understand the needs of the client, as well as complete the implementation in the stipulated time period.

Software projects are started with the aim of achieving efficiency in various systems, with the desired outcomes represented qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Most of the problems that occur during implementation are an outcome of the realization by the team that they have lost sight of the desired objectives of the customer.

This may be because the client has provided varied input, or because the developers have misunderstood the requirements.

Six Sigma helps sort out this problem. Six Sigma is not just about statistical methods, but a disciplined approach to problem solving. The y to- x trees and cause and effect matrix tools help to identify the software system capability and the business outcome.

-Creating Fact-Based Selection And Prioritization Of Functionality

Six Sigma provides various tools that facilitate prioritization, such as analytical hierarchy process (AHP). These tools can be effective tools for determining utility and providing for the prioritization and decision making process.

DFSS provides for more quantitative, fact-based discussion and decision-making on the CTQs.

-Generating implementation schedule estimates

The software implementation team often goes off-schedule. Software projects have to be completed within a specified time span and budget. Planners often fail to estimate the various matters, such as the size of the software, its location and other surrounding matters.

Six Sigma analytical tools help in factors like the efficiency chart, which can help find the problems faced by each team and its members. This chart may be able to display the time taken to resolve such problems and the systems used to overcome them.

If the Six Sigma teams do not estimate the size of the project, they are bound to make errors in estimating the time it will take to complete, as well as the cost. Six Sigma allows for understanding the characteristics of organizations, such as the number of members, users, locations and the amount of executive involvement. This helps in making implementation estimates more accurate to a larger extent.

Sometimes executives make unreasonably early estimates of implementation dates without considering the realities. Six Sigma modeling helps in changing this scenario to a fact-based estimation of the project to be implemented.

Six Sigma is more about fact-based decision making. By using actual facts, the implementation of software projects becomes more realistic.
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 including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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