Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Projects Prove Valuable for Software Company

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Projects Prove Valuable for Software Company

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Projects Prove Valuable for Software Company

Six Sigma rose to popularity in American business initially because of its value in the manufacturing industry, where its process improvement methodologies quickly proved successful for a large number of businesses.

But in the 21st century, a large number of businesses across a wide variety of industries have put Six Sigma to use. They include hotel chains, healthcare companies and those working in information technology.

The opportunities are especially plentiful for those moving up to a Black Belt in Six Sigma, the second-highest belt level a person can achieve in the methodology (a Master Black Belt representing the highest).

A recent example comes from California, where a student at the University of California – San Diego applied the lessons learned in a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course to improve operations at a global software company.

Black Belt Application

Paritosh Bhondele, director of global learning and performance at a California software company, told the UC-San Diego Extension Office he at first was reluctant to earn a Black Belt because he wasn’t sure Six Sigma methodology could be applied to his job.

However, a professor at the university convinced him it could work. “You have to trust the tools, trust the process,” Ric Van Der Linden, who teaches the university’s Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification course, told him.

Bhondele said the process improvement methods he learned helped his company increase productivity, revamp its quality assurance processes and also demonstrate the critical need to do ongoing statistical analysis of a company’s business model.

He also said that many people mistakenly believe they only need Six Sigma if they are trying to work out of difficult times. The process can help make improvements even at successful companies, he said, adding “you have to make hay while the sun is shining.”

Other students attested to the benefit of Six Sigma in other areas. For example, the city of San Diego adopted Six Sigma methods that reduced 911 wait times. An engineer with General Dynamics Mission Systems increased production by 2% after focusing on the health of workers and reducing the number of cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Additionally, a regional manager with Ventura Foods applied Six Sigma to the company’s operations, transforming one of their worst performing products to one of the best and getting a projected return on investment of about $500,000.

A Tricky Balance

The uses of Six Sigma are not always readily apparent to those in the software industry. The quantitative analysis involved with the methodology sometimes seems like an ill fit in an industry that often runs on inspiration and creativity – as much art as exacting science.

Part of the issue is the simple fact that the software industry is, for the most part, just a few decades old. Manufacturing and other industries have a long history of process and analysis to improve upon. That’s not the case with software.

That said, the industry is maturing and beginning to see the value in pursuing Six Sigma methodologies. These range from those that apply to improving an existing process (DMAIC) and those that can be used for creating new products (DMADV).

An example is the emphasis of Six Sigma on aiming for the highest quality from the outset of a project. In the software industry, much of the testing and quality control comes in after a new product is far down the pipeline. Six Sigma’s tollgates – which provide a system of quality assurance at every point in a project’s cycle – can improvement outcomes in the process.

More specifically, Six Sigma can help eliminate delay, optimize cost structures, detect failures earlier, reduce software development times and streamline work to reduce needless duplication.

These are just some of the ways Six Sigma can apply to the software industry. As the industry matures and grows, even more applications will come into play.

The post Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Projects Prove Valuable for Software Company appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/lean-six-sigma-black-belt-projects-prove-valuable-software-company/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: May 25, 2017, 7:16 pm

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