Project Map: Troubleshooting the Six Sigma Way

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How the Six Sigma approach to quality control can be applied to software development projects.

PDF Download Six Sigma has become a mainstay at some companies as a management approach for improving everyday business processes—but even these proponents still may not have considered its potential in technology departments for software development.

Six Sigma gets its name from a statistical measure that weighs how many defects are permissible within certain specified limits. Traditionally, software development projects are beset by high costs, long cycle times, low quality and high risk of project failure—all of which have potential for defining and quantifying defects. These, in turn, can often result in dissatisfied customers and lost revenue, adversely impacting costs in ways difficult to quantify.

The PDF document (click icon) shows the steps in an actual software project implemented by Global eXchange Services (GXS), whose former parent company, General Electric, was an early pioneer of Six Sigma methods. For comparison's sake, the middle column depicts how an alternative approach to software testing could produce additional roadblocks if rigorous fact-finding isn't conducted.

This article was originally published on 2003-03-19
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