Six Sigma Terms and Definitions
Six Sigma is one the biggest management innovations of the past 25 years. Six Sigma improves the development procedures, brings products faster to the market with less defects, and reduces cost. The biggest - but least praised - advantage of Six Sigma is its potential to cultivate excellent leaders.
Six Sigma is not about averages, it is about eliminating variances from your relationship with the customers.
Six Sigma Definitions from the the GE website:
Quality Approaches and Models
DFSS – (Design for Six Sigma) is a systematic methodology utilizing tools, training and measurements to enable us to design products and processes that meet customer expectations and can be produced at Six Sigma quality levels.
DMAIC – (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) is a process for continued improvement. It is systematic, scientific and fact based. This closed-loop process eliminates unproductive steps, often focuses on new measurements, and applies technology for improvement.
Six Sigma – A vision of quality which equates with only 3.4 defects per million opportunities for each product or service transaction. Strives for perfection.
Associates are exposed to various tools and terms related to quality. Below are just a few of them.
Control Chart – Monitors variance in a process over time and alerts the business to unexpected variance which may cause defects.
Defect Measurement – Accounting for the number or frequency of defects that cause lapses in product or service quality.
Pareto Diagram – Focuses on efforts or the problems that have the greatest potential for improvement by showing relative frequency and/or size in a descending bar graph. Based on the proven Pareto principle: 20% of the sources cause 80% of any problems.
Process Mapping – Illustrated description of how things get done, which enables participants to visualize an entire process and identify areas of strength and weaknesses. It helps reduce cycle time and defects while recognizing the value of individual contributions.
Root Cause Analysis – Study of original reason for nonconformance with a process. When the root cause is removed or corrected, the nonconformance will be eliminated.
Statistical Process Control – The application of statistical methods to analyze data, study and monitor process capability and performance.
Tree Diagram – Graphically shows any broad goal broken into different levels of detailed actions. It encourages team members to expand their thinking when creating solutions.
Black Belt – Leaders of team responsible for measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling key processes that influence customer satisfaction and/or productivity growth. Black Belts are full-time positions.
Control – The state of stability, normal variation and predictability. Process of regulating and guiding operations and processes using quantitative data.
CTQ: Critical to Quality (Critical "Y") – Element of a process or practice which has a direct impact on its perceived quality.
Customer Needs, Expectations – Needs, as defined by customers, which meet their basic requirements and standards.
Defects – Sources of customer irritation. Defects are costly to both customers and to manufacturers or service providers. Eliminating defects provides cost benefits.
Green Belt – Similar to Black Belt but not a full-time position.
Master Black Belt – First and foremost teachers. They also review and mentor Black Belts. Selection criteria for Master Black Belts are quantitative skills and the ability to teach and mentor. Master Black Belts are full-time positions.
Variance – A change in a process or business practice that may alter its expected outcome.
Six Sigma aims at repeating internal processes and complex new product developments. Forced application of Six Sigma in creative activities does not make a lot of sense and cause a lot of commotion.
Did you apply Six Sigma in Software Development ? Was it the Silver Bullet or a bureaucratic metrics nightmare ?