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What Is Six Sigma? An Introduction for Technical Writers


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Julia Margulies

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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What Is Six Sigma? An Introduction for Technical Writers

  1. 1. 1What Is Six Sigma?An Introduction for Technical WritersPhiladelphia Metro ChapterSociety for Technical Communication20 September 2007
  2. 2. 2Overview History What is it? A brief introduction with imaginary casestudy The belt pecking order Where to go for more information References
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 4What Is It? Common sense – you probably alreadyknow a lot Business philosophy: system forimproving processes in an organization Metrics Statistical concept
  5. 5. 5Three Flavors Six Sigma – reduce defects Design for Six Sigma – design newproducts Lean – reduce waste
  6. 6. 6Six Sigma – The Literal Definition26 (Lower Limit)30 mph35 mph25 mph34 (Upper Limit)
  7. 7. 7What Level of Quality Is Acceptable forYour Product? 4 sigma – 99 percent 6 sigma – 99.9997 percent 7 sigma – 99.99999999974 percent
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 9Imaginary Case StudyDesign, Measure, Analyze,Improve, and Control (DMAIC)
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 11DMAIC: Define
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 13CTQ Flowdown
  14. 14. 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)
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 16Time Series Plot of Reported ErrorsNovelPro 3,2007NovelPro 2, 2006TimeReportederrors
  17. 17. 17CustomersProcessInputsSuppliers OutputsS I P O CSoftwaredevelopersUsers ofsoftwareMarketingDepartmentTechnicalWritersTemplatesStyle GuideProceduresSoftwareDesignDocumentBeta Versionof SoftwareReview withMarketingDesignDocumentReview SoftwareDesignWrite/LayoutManualReviewCompletedUser ManualDevelopersHelp DeskProofreadersMarketingOther TWsNewTemplatesUpdatedStyle GuideUpdatedProceduresDirectIndirectProofreadPublish
  18. 18. 18Scope This project will cover the process ofdeveloping documentation from the timethe design documents are released tothe time when the documentation is inproduction.
  19. 19. 19What We’re Going to Fix – “Y” Y = f(x) Reduce number of errors in NovelProdocumentation
  20. 20. 20Other “Define” Tasks Identify project risks Develop timeline Communication plan
  21. 21. 21DMAIC: Measure
  22. 22. 22DMAIC: Measure Develop a detailed process flow Collect data on how the process isworking Validate your measurement system Quantify process performance
  23. 23. 23Process Flow
  24. 24. 24Collect Data Plan your data collection May use statistical sampling Data must be “clean”
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 26Validate Measurement System Identify existing system Analyze Is it accurate and precise? Improve measurement system
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 28Simplify Sometimes you can find opportunities tofix things just by process mapping, notrequiring six sigma rigor Low-hanging fruit
  29. 29. 29DMAIC: Analyze
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 32
  33. 33. 33Pareto Chart
  34. 34. 34You May Do Other Analyses Histogram Design of Experiments Scatter Diagram Control Charts Process Capability
  35. 35. 35DMAIC: Improve
  36. 36. 36Improve Create solutions Brainstorm Gather from others who do similar work(benchmarking) Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
  37. 37. 37Evaluate and Select Solutions Evaluate Select Solution Pilot Evaluate Revise your flow chart: ideal process
  38. 38. 38Revised FlowchartThis is where weremoved a step
  39. 39. 39Implement Solution Present solution to management to getbuy-in Identify Risks Implementation Plan Document process Train Execute Communicate
  40. 40. 40DMAIC: Control
  41. 41. 41Control Ensure that your improvement continuesto work over time Develop a process control plan List the important x’s identifiedpreviously Keep under control Monitor Y
  42. 42. 42Sample Control Plan
  43. 43. 43More Control Mistake proof Update the Failure Mode EffectsAnalysis Standardize (Standard OperatingProcedures)
  44. 44. 44Design for Six Sigma
  45. 45. 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.
  46. 46. 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
  47. 47. 47The Levels of Six SigmaTraining:The Belts
  48. 48. 48MasterBlackBeltBlack BeltsGreen BeltsTeam MembersChampionsThe “Belts”
  49. 49. 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
  50. 50. 50Where to Get Your Greenbelt Six Sigma Academy George Group SBTI Villanova On-Line Drexel In-Person American Society of Quality. . . And many more
  51. 51. 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