Six Sigma. Cynics may claim that it is nothing more than the program du jour; just another in a string of management fads, and that it will soon be supplanted by a different promise of improved productivity. Companies that have embraced Six Sigma's concepts say otherwise.

At its most fundamental, Six Sigma is a measurement of defects. A company that has reached the Six Sigma level will have only 3.4 defects per million opportunities. In other words, it will have virtually defect-free operations. For those companies, Six Sigma is more than measurement. It is a way of doing business that reduces costs by focusing on customer requirements, by making decisions based on facts, and by improving processes. All of these result in reduced defects.

Some companies, particularly those in the service industry, shy away from Six Sigma because they view it as a program for engineers — one with too much rigidity. Although emphasis has been placed on the statistical analysis tools that assist in the identification of opportunities for improvement, the value of Six Sigma is far more than statistical analysis, just as the program itself is more than a measurement of defects.

While becoming a Six Sigma company may mean a cultural change that some corporations are unwilling to undergo, it is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

The basic five-phase model that many Six Sigma companies have adopted can benefit information technology (IT) organizations, even without the detailed measurements that are part of statistical analysis. Following the basic tenets of Six Sigma processes will help ensure that IT fully understands the problem, chooses the right solution to the problem, and implements that solution on time, using a schedule that customers have approved. The result is reduced rework, which translates into lower costs and higher customer satisfaction — two primary goals of most IT departments.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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