What Is Six Sigma? An Introduction for Technical Writers
1What Is Six Sigma?An Introduction for Technical WritersPhiladelphia Metro ChapterSociety for Technical Communication20 September 2007
2Overview History What is it? A brief introduction with imaginary casestudy The belt pecking order Where to go for more information References
3History 1908 – W.S. Gosset develops statistical teststo analyze quality at Guinness Brewery 1950s Deming – helped build Japan’seconomy after World War II (Total QualityControl) 1980s – Dr. Mikel Harry and Bill Smith inventSix Sigma at Motorola Currently – thousands of companies haveadopted the methodology
4What Is It? Common sense – you probably alreadyknow a lot Business philosophy: system forimproving processes in an organization Metrics Statistical concept
5Three Flavors Six Sigma – reduce defects Design for Six Sigma – design newproducts Lean – reduce waste
8The Methodology:New Tools, New Words Quality SIPOC Failure Mode Effects Analysis Process Map Control Chart ANOVA p-Values Quality Functional Deployment Rolled Throughput Yield Metrics Stakeholders Team Critical to Quality Voice of the Customer DMAIC
9Imaginary Case StudyDesign, Measure, Analyze,Improve, and Control (DMAIC)
10Case Study: Imaginary Help Desk getting more calls since the releaseof NovelPro version 3 The company is faced with hiring more HelpDesk employees The software works as designed: no bugsreported The Help Desk reports many complaints aboutthe quality of the documentation The technical writing staff was reduced by 50percent in 2006
12Talk to Your Customers Identify Stakeholders and Team Talk to Your Customer – surveys,interviews, focus groups – voice of thecustomer (VOC) Identify Critical to Quality (CTQ) Items Create a CTQ Flowdown
14Next . . . Problem Statement Goal Analyze Current High-Level Process SIPOC Map (Suppliers, Inputs, Process,Outputs, Customers) Process Flow Define scope of project Figure out what you’re going to fix (Y)
15Problem and Goal Statements In the TechComm Department for fourthquarter 2007, there has been a 50%increase in the number of errors from 10to 15. This exceeds the organizationalcontrol limit of no more than 12 errors. Goal Statement: Reduce errors from 12to 10 or less by June 31, 2008.
16Time Series Plot of Reported ErrorsNovelPro 3,2007NovelPro 2, 2006TimeReportederrors
17CustomersProcessInputsSuppliers OutputsS I P O CSoftwaredevelopersUsers ofsoftwareMarketingDepartmentTechnicalWritersTemplatesStyle GuideProceduresSoftwareDesignDocumentBeta Versionof SoftwareReview withMarketingDesignDocumentReview SoftwareDesignWrite/LayoutManualReviewCompletedUser ManualDevelopersHelp DeskProofreadersMarketingOther TWsNewTemplatesUpdatedStyle GuideUpdatedProceduresDirectIndirectProofreadPublish
18Scope This project will cover the process ofdeveloping documentation from the timethe design documents are released tothe time when the documentation is inproduction.
19What We’re Going to Fix – “Y” Y = f(x) Reduce number of errors in NovelProdocumentation
20Other “Define” Tasks Identify project risks Develop timeline Communication plan
24Collect Data Plan your data collection May use statistical sampling Data must be “clean”
25Measure Steps in the ProcessIn this case, we might measure errors: In design document Proofreading errors Errors caused by lack of review Errors introduced in publication process
26Validate Measurement System Identify existing system Analyze Is it accurate and precise? Improve measurement system
27Verify that Process Is Stable You can predict how a process isperforming Doesn’t mean the process doesn’tfluctuate So, you can predict that 10 to 20 errorsare made per topic in documentation inthe current state
28Simplify Sometimes you can find opportunities tofix things just by process mapping, notrequiring six sigma rigor Low-hanging fruit
30Why? Focus on the x’s that influence the Y youare working with – output is a function ofinput or Y = f(x) Work with stakeholders to figure out causeand effect Use data collected in Measure andstatistics (root cause analysis) Quantify the opportunity
31Work with Stakeholders Stakeholders should be: Balanced representatives Equally matched (higher-level employeedoesn’t trump lower) Some ways to identify x’s with team: Brainstorming Cause and effect diagram
45Design for Six SigmaConsists of DMADV (Define Measure Analyze Design Verify) Define customer requirements and goals for the process, productor service. Measure and match performance to customer requirements. Analyze and assess the design for the process, product orservice. Design and implement the array of new processes required forthe new process, product or service. Verify results and maintain performance.
46What DFSS Is Used For Requirements for New Systems Could be used to design a new user manual create a process for single sourcing create a translation process
49Ideas for Projects Design for a single-sourcing system Revising a user manual Prepare for a new documentation project: addto your “project management” bag of tricks Designing or updating translation process Any production process Collecting functional requirements for a newcomputer system
50Where to Get Your Greenbelt Six Sigma Academy George Group SBTI Villanova On-Line Drexel In-Person American Society of Quality. . . And many more
51References Six Sigma web site Brassard, Michael and Ritter (2001)Sailing Through Six Sigma, Marietta,Georgia: Brassard & Ritter, LLC. DeCarlo, Neil with the BreakthroughManagement Group (2007)TheComplete Idiot’s Guide to Lean SixSigma: New York, NY: Alpha Books
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