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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Agile, scrum vs six sigma

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  • mike.dwyer1@comcast.net
    Roy you are dead on but I question the target you are aiming for. my experience with practitioners of 6 sigma has proven to be more about rote implementation
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 22, 2009
      Roy you are dead on but I question the target you are aiming for.
      my experience with practitioners of 6 sigma has proven to be more about rote implementation rather than rational problem solving behavior

      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

      From: Roy Morien
      Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2009 05:34:45 +0000
      To: <scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Agile, scrum vs six sigma

      The problem often seems more like the numbers have you under control, not you have the numbers under control.
      In academic research, there are two major 'schools of thought', or major research approaches. One is the quantitative approach, where you measure, analyse statistically, infer with degrees of confidence etc. Replicability of the research to enable validation and verification to be done is a major aspect of this approach.
      Then there is qualitative research, where personal observation, analysis of conversations, development of views and opinions based on subjective criteria etc. are the main research methods. These have high-sounding names such as phenomenology (basically the study of natural phenomenon with the intention to understand and describe), ethnography (the study of people in their cultural and social setting) and so on.
      Qualitative research is more appropriate for understanding culture and behaviour and social networks and subjective matters, such as attitude, contentment, happiness, willingness etc.. Personally, I think this 'qualitative' view can and should be applied to management, not the quantitative view. I think the slogan 'if you can't measure it you can't manage it' is flawed when applied to human behaviour.
      It is interesting that you make the very valid and correct point that Six Sigma comes from manufacturing, where there are well established and replicable processes, creating well defined products. That is not appropriate to software development, which is a human activity fraught with qualitative aspects. So I think the better slogan for management is 'if you can't understand it, you can't manage it'. Understanding comes from the qualitative research area of observation etc., not metrics and measurement. Good management uses observation, insight, empathy, understanding etc., not statistics and metrics. That was the ultimate failing of Taylorism, to be so measurement oriented that the workforce became disenchanted, disengaged, dissatisfied and disgruntled.

      Roy Morien

      To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
      From: peterstev@gmail. com
      Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:37:48 +0100
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Agile, scrum vs six sigma

      Hi Roy,

      Why bother?

      Six Sigma come from manufacturing. Cost of production and cost of defects are important factors in the profitability of a manufacturing company. Reducing both is a major competitive advantage.

      BTW - I followed some of the links in the Brad's mail, and thought, 'this is a heavyweight process'. My intro was a book called Lean Six Sigma, which actually seemed lightweight and pragmatic by comparison. :-).

      Once a company is big enough that top management isn't involved in the daily operations of its teams (probably somewhere between 150 and 200 people), the quantitative side management becomes increasingly important. In which case you have to bother, because if you don't have numbers under control, you die.



      Roy Morien schrieb:

      Could I take a philistine view and say Why Bother? If the team is working well, and the client is happy with the outcomes, and the team is producing defect-free outcomes and are working at their best, then why spend all that time and mathematics on trying to measure it?
      If there is a problem fix it.
      And now there will be obvious rejoinders about 'what do you mean working well, and how can you measure 'working well', and how can you improve that to be 'working better' if you have not way of measuring if it is not already optimum, and how can you compare before and after if you have no metrics, and how can you tell if there is a problem .....'.
      Phooey to that, says I. If I am such a poor manager / leader who is so unable to observe and understand how well the team is working, by using my own judegment and view, then I should be doing something else, not requiring judgment, empathy and understanding.
      Roy Morien  

      --  Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPwww.tinyurl. com/Scrum- In-House- Trainingwww.scrum-breakfast .com tel: +41 44 586 6450 

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