Project Management

The Agile Enterprise: Lean Six Sigma for Agile Practitioners Part 1: Define

While it may not be common knowledge, Agile started in manufacturing as a challenge to the near-perfect quality delivered by the Lean Six Sigma approach to product development. In doing so, the manufacturing industry had many of the same goals as the software development approaches that resulted in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001. However, there were two significant differences between Agile in manufacturing and Agile in software development. The first notable difference was the scale - manufacturing companies had tens of thousands of people involved in product development while the Agile frameworks were conceived BY a small team of software developers FOR a small team of developers. Moreover, the software development versions of Agile can't necessarily be used at the project level because they don't have the tools needed for all the project management knowledge areas, especially financial management. The second significant difference was efficiency which is important in any project. Manufacturing used Lean Six Sigma to make processes efficient. Adapting to market changes and fast time to market were important, but new processes also needed to be efficient.    

Although they may appear to be competitors, Agile and Lean Six Sigma have the same objective: supporting the organization’s priorities by achieving customer satisfaction. Lean Six Sigma has a very mature approach to process improvement: DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control). This approach can certainly be used for a successful Agile transformation. The webinar is based on the author's experience using the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC framework for Process Improvement for software development projects with a focus on D (Define).  

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