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Six Sigma in Software organizations – benefits

When organizations want to reduce cost and improve productivity Six Sigma initiatives are mainly considered by organizations that have firm belief in Quality.


However a careful analysis should be made to ensure that the benefits obtained are much higher than the actual investment. Incorrect project candidates without proper tools and skilled resources will result in loss of expected returns on investment.


In manufacturing companies where the dimensions of a product are very clear and not varying too much within given time period will have easier choice compared to Software organizations in identifying Six Sigma projects. Software organizations on the other hand have change as the only constant in terms of requirement, resources and budgets cannot afford to make wrong selection of projects. There is still hope. That is, Six Sigma has the flexibility to be used as an operational strategy to reduce the number of defects or as a business strategy to improve business processes and evolve new business models. Agile and Test Driven Development are few examples that maximizes the profit since Agile focuses on reduced to Time to Market through its frequent deliveries. Many proponents of Six Sigma stress that the power of Six Sigma lies in the fact that it can be used as a business strategy to improve market share and profitability. Agile stresses the usage of automated tools for testing and code integration. Proper investment and good training in Agile and adoption of this collaborative model is a good business decision. Six Sigma tools  like Analytic Hierarchy Process, Pugh Matrix etc to be used in selecting tools on Software development. This makes it clear that instead of looking at Six Sigma as only a statistical technique to improve the sigma level towards Six, organizations can use parts of Six sigma approaches suitable to them.


In large developmental projects productivity, defect rates and acceptance criteria can be considered as Critical To Quality (CTQ) factors. If the development team has a strong customer focus, uses data analysis tools like DMAIC, DFSS, controls project management the Six Sigma project will have very high customer satisfaction. Here the return on investment will be a combination of customer delight, reduced defects, on time delivery and increased business from existing customer. This is the one of the practical ways of looking at ROI of a Six Sigma project from a software organization’s perception.


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