Simplifying Lean Six Sigma to Work in an Agile Environment
Many Agile project teams are reaching a level of maturity where they are interested in the next level. Can we improve our process? How? For some teams kanban is the choice to improve their processes. Others are also looking at kaizen. Both kanban and kaizen techniques, originated in the 'traditional" Lean Six Sigma, were used in manufacturing to increase the quality from 3 Sigma to 6 Sigma. Most of the Business Transformation projects have a software/IT component delivered by teams using the Agile/Scrum approach.
Like in any other approach, there is room for improvement for teams using Agile. Lean Six Sigma was used for decades as a tool for process improvement on the assumption that "what you can't measure you can't improve". In principle, Lean (eliminate waste by process standardization) is fundamentally opposed to Agile (embracing change even late in the process). Six Sigma can be the balance between Lean and Agile, measuring the impact of Lean and/or Agile initiatives.
From the Six Sigma perspective, IT projects are currently at a 3 Sigma level. In principle these projects should also aim for a 6 sigma level but achieving that will impact Agility. Therefore, it is of the opinion that, in IT/Software projects Lean Six Sigma should be used to get the optimum point (as lean as reasonably agile) where efficiency meets agility.
As presented in a previous webinar about Lean Six Sigma implementation in a start-up, the Lean Six Sigma techniques can be used at a smaller scale, but to be successful it needs to be adapted to the specifics of IT projects. This presentation is based on a real case study, using Lean Six Sigma to measure the impact of process improvement initiatives in a hybrid project delivery environment. It describes the objectives, the approach, the challenges and achievements of a benchmarking program spanning more than 5 years.
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