:: Process Improvement
It is a guide for implementing development practices that continuously improve
software quality. This has been created by SEI (Software Engineering Institute)
a research and development centre operated by Carnegie Mellon University.
CMMI refers to the integration of diverse tool sets and appraisal
methods related to CMM.
CMMi builds on and extends on the best practices of the:
- Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM);
- Systems Engineering Capability Model (SECM);
- Integrated Product Development Capability Maturity Model (IPD-CMM);
- Supplier Sourcing Capability Maturity Model (SS-CMM).
CMMi will help Software and Systems Engineering Companies to Study, Define,
Implement, Improve and Appraise their internal Processes to result in improvement
of the Development Cycle Time, Timely deliveries to Customers, Reduction in
Schedule, Effort and Cost variances, reduced Defect levels, reduced Rework,
improved Productivity and Profitability.
CMMI Maturity Levels
There are 5 maturity levels viz.
4. Quantitatively Managed
To know more about CMMi and our deliverables through our unique process approach,
for a Zero Cost discussion.
What is Six Sigma?
Six sigma is the structured application of tools and techniques applied on project
basis to achieve sustained strategic results.
DMAIC six sigma approach
The six sigma approach for projects is DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve
and control). These steps are the most common six sigma approach to project
work. Some organizations omit the D in DMAIC because it is really management
work. With the D dropped from DMAIC the Black Belt is charged with MAIC only
in that six sigma approach. We believe define is too important be left out and
sometimes management does not do an adequate job of defining a project. Our
six sigma approach is the full DMAIC.
Define is the first step in our six sigma approach of DMAIC. DMAIC first asks
leaders to define our core processes. It is important to define the selected
project scope, expectations, resources and timelines. The definition step in
the six sigma approach identifies specifically what is part of the project and
what is not, and explains the scope of the project. Many times the first passes
at process documentation are at a general level. Additional work is often required
to adequately understand and correctly document the processes. As the saying
goes The devil is in the details.
Many think when they start a journey the most important thing to know is where
they are going. While we agree knowing where you want to go is very important,
we believe some of the first information you need before starting any journey
is your current location. The six sigma approach asks the Black Belt project
manager to quantify and benchmark the process using actual data. At a minimum
consider the mean or average performance and some estimate of the dispersion
or variation (maybe even calculate the standard deviation). Trends and cycles
can also be very revealing. The two data points and extrapolate to infinity
is not a six sigma approach. Process capabilities can be calculated once there
is performance data.
Once the project is understood and the baseline performance documented and verified
that there is real opportunity, it is time with the six sigma approach to do
an analysis of the process. In this step, the six sigma approach applies statistical
tools to validate root causes of problems. Any number of tools and tests can
be used. The objective is to understand the process at a level sufficient to
be able to formulate options for improvement. We should be able to compare the
various options with each other to determine the most promising alternatives.
As with many activities, balance must be achieved. Superficial analysis and
understanding will lead to unproductive options being selected, forcing recycle
through the process to make improvements. At the other extreme is the paralysis
of analysis. Striking the appropriate balance is what makes the six sigma Black
Belt highly valuable.
During the improve step of the six sigma approach ideas and solutions are put
to work. The six sigma Black Belt has discovered and validated all known root
causes for the existing opportunity. The six sigma approach requires Black Belts
to identify solutions. Few ideas or opportunities are so good that all are an
instant success. As part of the six sigma approach there must be checks to assure
that the desired results are being achieved. Some experiments and trials may
be required in order to find the best solution. When making trials and experiments
it is important that all project associates understand that these are trials
and really are part of the six sigma approach.
Many people believe the best performance you can ever get from a process is
at the very beginning. Over time there is expectancy that slowly things will
get a little worse until finally it is time for another major effort towards
improvement. Contrasted with this is the Kaizen approach that seeks to make
everything incrementally better on a continuous basis. The sum of all these
incremental improvements can be quite large. As part of the six sigma approach
performance tracking mechanisms and measurements are in place to assure, at
a minimum, that the gains made in the project are not lost over a period of
time. As part of the control step we encourage sharing with others in the organization.
With this the six sigma approach really starts to create phenomenal returns,
ideas and projects in one part of the organization are translated in a very
rapid fashion to implementation in another part of the organization.
Benefits of Six Sigma
There are numerous benefits of six sigma as a way to address issues and problems.
Among the benefits of six sigma is the decrease in defects that are allowed
to reach the customer. You can get some sense of the benefits of six sigma by
reviewing some six sigma projects. Other benefits of six sigma include:
Focus on customers.
Improved customer loyalty.
Reduced cycle time.
Data based decisions.
Sustained gains and improvements.
Systematic problem solving.
Data analysis before decision making.
Faster to market.
Improved customer relations.
Assure strategic planning.
Reductions of incidents.
Measure value according to the customer.
Better safety performance.
Understanding of processes.
Effective supply chain management.
Design and redesign products/services.
Knowledge of competition, competitors.
Develop leadership skills.
Breakdown barriers between departments and functions.
Improve presentation skills.
Integration of products, services and distribution.
Use of standard operating procedures.
Better decision making.
Improving project management skills.
Alignment with strategy vision, and values.
Greater market share.
Lower costs to provide goods and services.
Fewer customer complaints.
To know more about Six Sigma and our deliverables through our unique process
approach, click here
for a Zero