Using Six Sigma to Manage Automated IT Processes

IT is often an area initially overlooked by managers in a company when implementing Six Sigma. This is a costly mistake, as Six Sigma has proven to be highly effective in managing automated IT processes across most, if not all, domains of the business.

There are some standard procedures that need to be followed when managing automated IT processes using the Six Sigma quality control theory. The first of these involves identifying the use of value stream mapping (VSM) to identify the main process components. This is important as a first step, as automated IT processes are often made up of several smaller components. All of these need to be understood thoroughly before they can be available for quality improvements through Six Sigma. Using VSM makes this seemingly intimidating process easy, and not only identifies all components but also organizes them according to overall value to the main process.  It is much easier for a Six Sigma team to focus their efforts correctly if they can review all components and give them priority accordingly.

Once all key components of the automated process are identified, improvement measures are sought out in the form of suggestions and feedback. Instead of relying on these suggestions and feedback alone, Six Sigma tests the quality of these improvement measures. These testing capabilities are key to managing and improving automated IT processes as making changes without fully understanding the consequences can ruin an entire process.  There are several advanced Six Sigma tools available for validating the effectiveness of any improvement idea.

Once ideas pass this testing phase, they can be implemented.  This testing phase ensures a much lower rate of failure and tries to avoid any major re-work or project reopening once the process has been completed. Preventive measures can be put in place to minimize the associated risks with implementing new improvement ideas. Before Six Sigma was used to manage automated IT processes, there wasn’t a foolproof system for testing ideas before making them go “live.” Now, with the process more readily available to IT departments, these problems can be avoided before they throw serious kinks into the system.

Six Sigma makes it easy to revisit improvements and ensure they are indeed working as intended – this is actually an important part of the DMAIC and DMADV processes both.  Making sure any changes made are valid and working is integral to the entire process. There are checks built into the program that remind those involved to revisit and retest on a periodic basis until enough evidence has been gathered over time to show solidly that a change has been made for the better.

This provides enough time to the team to undertake preventive measures and minimize the associated risks. Six Sigma continues to deliver even after the project is up and running, enabling continuous quality improvements and the best possible results. All this proves the effectiveness of Six Sigma in managing automated IT processes.