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There are Six Sigma, Lean, Process Quality Methodology, ISO9000 etc mainly used for quality management in project/systems analysis life cycles for process improvements. To be successful it's always said that we must fit out project into the method.

E.g. Six Sigma gives secondary importance to human element where as process quality methodology treats it as primary. Then again, each project has an end user who will be using the end product..

So for typical business IT projects, how can we (systems analysis team) justify which methodology is suitable? It great if any one can direct me to a sample case study that clearly demonstrates evaluation/comparison of the above measures as well as backs up what methodology you've explained is suitable, if possible.

  • Hi Bon, welcome to PMSE! I'm curious about the 'fits the project into the method' part. Would you have any sound reference of it? I see a 'method' as (a kind of) a tool, and as such, used to help us achieving goals (in this case, accomplish the project) and not the other way round. Isn't it risky to rely on the method (or a tool, or whatever) just for the sake of having something to blame in case things go out of the track? – Tiago Cardoso Feb 20 '13 at 13:52
  • @TiagoCardoso yes here is the reference for fits the project into the method : Click on the hyperlink there. (infact I felt bit odd when I read that statement, then I reasoned thinking perhaps it's like following a vigorously set of firm rules to put the project via this management plan to succeed it...) – bonCodigo Feb 20 '13 at 15:16
  • I am still at a level of fully realizing the concepts and applying them properly into real life scenarios although projects are being done. So can I assume that fitting a project into a method is only done only after the most suitable/reliable method(tool as you stated) is identified? Perhaps the way I articulated the body of my question is not great... :) or did I get it all wrong? – bonCodigo Feb 20 '13 at 15:18
  • amazon.com/Principles-Product-Development-Flow-ebook/dp/… ... the only guide you need. – Andrew Clear Feb 20 '13 at 17:37
  • Thanks for the reference, @bonCodigo! Will take a look on it. – Tiago Cardoso Feb 20 '13 at 18:15
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Six Sigma came from manufacturing. I believe that is still where it is used most, as does your link. I don't think that's a good fit from IT, with the possible exception of repetitive works such as deploying the same software, etc. to many computers.

Lean also came from manufacturing. But Lean IT has tailored it to IT.

ISO9000 says "do what you say and say what you do." That's a fine fit for IT.

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Six sigma will drive quality in repetitive task, whether that's manufacturing or support.

Lean will drive value or efficiency in any process or project.

Any ISO certification will drive consistency of approach.

And you should never fit the project into the method, but adapt the method to the needs of the project. It wouldn't make sense to build a house using an Agile approach, but it I can imagine an Agile decorator.

It is not possible to recommend an approach without understanding mor of your requirements, but as this is a Project Management site I'd suggest to follow standard PM processes. If quality is an objective, define quality (e.g. number of defects, user satisfaction, whatever) find a way of measuring it, set an objective, let everybody know it, track it, report, improve, iterate.

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As they say, every project is unique in its own way so I am not sure if Six Sigma or any other methodology can be used as-is without tailoring it to fit your project needs.

Hence the alternative approach & Purely from Quality Management perspective could be assess following few points regarding the Quality requirements of your IT Project

  1. what are the Quality requirements of this IT Project?
  2. Are these Quality requirements, if successfully delivered, will satisfy the needs of all the stakeholders (like legal, finance etc.)
  3. Who all are involved in defining the Quality for this Project?
  4. How as a development team, these Quality requirements will be achieved & verified?

In my view Answer to these above points will be very specific to your project & it's Quality requirement needs.

Based on that Analysis - the best Quality planning/approach can be selected that satisfy the Quality requirements of the Specific IT Project.

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