A successful Six Sigma business strategy provides a suite of cross-functional and vertically aligned metrics that lead to significant improvements in customer satisfaction and the bottom line. At first glance, Six Sigma may seem in direct competition with SEI's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®). However, with its domain-specific approach to improving the engineering process, CMMI offers the process infrastructure that is fundamental to effective Six Sigma strategy.
CMMI® and Six Sigma: Partners in Process Improvement focuses on the synergistic, rather than competitive, implementation of CMMI and Six Sigma—with synergy translating to "faster, better, cheaper" achievement of mission success. Topics range from formation of the value proposition to specific implementation tactics. The authors illustrate how not taking advantage of what both initiatives have to offer puts an organization at risk of sinking time, energy, and money into "inventing" a solution that already exists. Along the way, they try to debunk a few myths about Six Sigma applications in software.
While the authors concentrate on the interoperability of Six Sigma and CMMI, they also recognize that organizations rarely implement only these two initiatives. Accordingly, they also discuss the emerging realm of "multimodel" process improvement and offer strategies and tactics that transcend models to help organizations effectively knit them together into a unified single internal process standard.
Whether you are working in the defense industry, a government agency, consulting, or academia, you'll find that this book bridges the hardware software and hardware process tool set—and come away prepared to formulate your own strategy and tactical plan.
Review By: Mary Ann Overbaugh 12/22/2008
This book was designed to build a bridge of understanding and connection between the processes that serve software development (CMMI) and the hardware it runs on (Six Sigma). To build understanding for comparison, both CMMI and Six Sigma goals and processes are discussed in their own separate chapter. The information in these chapters is not a substitute for solid understanding of CMMI and Six Sigma principles which form the basis for information in the following chapters.
Six different approaches to combined implementation, used previously by others, are illustrated in the first chapter. These approaches give process teams an excellent starting point and save considerable time and effort getting to point B. Later chapters include some one-to-one mapping between the two quality models to illustrate the synergies between them.
This book provides some approaches to a multimodal quality implementation. The authors want to share their knowledge through this book. Their experiences have been substantiated though their own results and learning.
The authors know there is efficiency to be gained by capitalizing on the prior work and experience of others rather than inventing from scratch and, thus, share what they have learned. They have seen competing quality areas requesting funding from the same budgets and repeating efforts and advise process groups to develop efficiencies through combining quality goals and methods, where possible, to save costs.
The CMMI and Six Sigma methods can be combined to create synergies for joint implementation strategies that translate into efficiencies to create "better, faster, and cheaper" achievement. For all who have been involved in implementing quality models, we know there are many overlaps between models. The authors do not expound on the "why" of combining the methods, instead deliver on the "what" and "how." They have presented their own original work in this book, a multi-model affinity matrix that groups models by strategic value. Their tools are helpful in explaining how to get the best from the models. The tools can also be used to help present the information to management in a way it can be used, not from a theoretical viewpoint, but from a strategic viewpoint. Following chapters offer a step-by-step approach toward multi-model process improvement. The authors acknowledge there may be many ways to reach a similar goal.
A great deal of expertise regarding the models is needed to best interpret further chapters. The authors review case studies and include models and toolkits. There are many additionally useful appendices at the end of the book.
Review By: Warren R. Glore 12/22/2008
CMMI and Six Sigma is a book written for those who are already well versed in one or more process improvement methods such as CMMI, Six Sigma, and Lean. This book does a good job at defining the terms and abbreviations used in CMMI and Six Sigma and, when necessary, will explain some of the processes and procedures at a high level. This book does lacks an in-depth explanation of how each of the major process improvement functions work independently of each other, so the reader should be one who has some formal training in process improvement.
The authors put a lot of effort into explaining how each company practicing these process improvement methods is different and what works for one company may not work for another. They stress the fact that each company must take the parts of each section (CMMI and Six Sigma) that works for their individual needs and mix or modify them to come up with the method that works for their company. The authors show many examples of how the different tools provided by each process improvement can be modified to fit each company's specific needs. The case studies within the book show how companies such as Motorola and Lockheed Martin used parts of each, in their own combination, to greatly improve the company's bottom line.
The authors explain how, "Simultaneously implementing multiple models, standards, and improvement initiatives has become commonplace in organizations. While many organizations struggle with what is often perceived to be competition for their attention, time, and effort, research has shown that joint implementation of initiatives can lead to accelerated and more measurable, sustainable improvement, and performance. Organizations that have effectively blended initiatives, the CMMI and Six Sigma in particular, have realized benefits…" They go on in detail how, by combining the two different and diverse improvement techniques, they see alignment of domain-specific improvement activities with business needs, greater efficiency of improvement efforts, accelerated achievement of organizational maturity, culture change to become a data-driven organization, and have recognized large cost savings.
The author's of this book took a difficult topic and communicated effectively the need for mixing CMMI and Six Sigma's process improvement tools to make a new, streamlined company better equipped to meet today's demanding corporate needs. The book effectively uses diagrams, figures, and tables that emphasize and illustrate the topic at hand.
I would recommend this book to those who already have some process improvement training and for those people who need to bring their corporation into a cost effective and highly efficient organization.