Can Lean Six Sigma Enable Software Process Excellence?

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learning to apply their skills on projects, assimilating and honing their techniques as they mature, taking their classroom knowledge into the field to learn personally what works – and what will not.  This is how a true Six Sigma Black Belt or Master Black Belt is created.  This is not accomplished in two weeks.   

In addition, many have been touting a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.  This is a marketing creation.  It will probably take off, when there is market demand, the market will respond.  As previously noted, employers seeking candidates should carefully review any Black Belt credential.  Credentials should be married to demonstrated experience in an applied domain of interest.

The Bottom Line
It is important to remember that in the true spirit of Lean Six Sigma, Lean emphasizes process improvement through the application of the simplest methods, not the most complex data collection or statistical analysis.  While real software process improvements can be realized it is important that the individuals leading these efforts have the training and practical experience necessary to help customers achieve the goals they seek. The objective should be to identify the greatest process challenges that will bring the most production gain and work towards these incrementally – ‘Leaning production’, and then using the Six Sigma to record, document, and report the gains practically. 
For more information, contact Susan K. Land at sland@mitre.org.

Note: “The author’s affiliation with The MITRE Corporation is provided for identification purposes only, and is not intended to convey or imply MITRE’s concurrence with, or support for, the positions, opinions or viewpoints expressed by the author”


Susan K. Land (Kathy Land), an employee of The MITRE Corp., has more than 23 years of industry experience in the practical application of software engineering methodologies, the management of information systems, and leadership of software development teams. She is an acknowledged expert in the field of software engineering standardization, process improvement, and engineering management.   Ms. Land is the 2009 President of the IEEE Computer Society (CS).  She is a current member of the CS Standards Activities Board (SAB), Software and Systems Engineering Standards Executive Committee (S2ESC), and also serves on a number of other CS boards and committees. In 2007 she was the recipient of the IEEE Standards Association Standards Medallion.

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