Six Sigma and Project Management

Six Sigma is just making its appearance in project management. Six Sigma is the name coined by Motorola in the 1980s for a process and throughput improvement strategy it developed from some of the process control work done originally in the Bell Laboratories in the 1920s and later taken to Japan in the 1950s by W. Edwards Deming. Six Sigma's goal is to reduce the product errors experienced by customers and to improve the quality of products as seen and used by customers. Employing Six Sigma throughout Motorola led, in part, to its winning the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award 1988.

The name "Six Sigma" has an origin in statistics. The word "sigma" we recognize as the Greek letter "s" which we know as a. From our study of statistics, we know that the standard deviation of a probability distribution is denoted by s . Furthermore, we know that the confidence measures associated with a Normal distribution are usually cast in terms of so many s from the mean: for example, as said many times before in this book, ±1s from the mean includes about 68.3% of the possible values of a random variable with a Normal distribution. Most project managers are comfortable with "2s " estimating, which covers over 95% of all outcomes, and some project managers refine matters to "3s ", which encompasses a little over 99.7% of all outcomes. Six Sigma seems to be about going ±"6s " from the mean and looking at the confidence that virtually all outcomes are accounted for in the analysis. In reality only ±4.5s is required and practiced in the Six Sigma program, as we will see.

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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