Integrating Six Sigma and Software Testing Process for ... ?· and Software Testing Process for Removal…

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    White Paper

    Author Ankit Tuteja

    ankit.tuteja@crestechglobal.com

    Integrating Six Sigma and Software Testing Process for Removal of Wastage & Optimizing Resource Utilization

    24 October 2013 With resources working for extended hours and in a

    pressurized environment, there comes a situation where

    knowingly or unknowingly we have to compromise with the

    quality. The reason behind this is that everyday resources

    have to spend time on doing repetitive tasks which consumes

    a lot of time and effort thus impacting the project timelines,

    budget and increasing associated with the quality.

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    1. Introduction

    In the past few years we have found that every IT organization whether it is a Service based industry or a product

    based industry, are emphasizing a lot on QA & Testing in their projects. Either they are hiring testers from outside to

    build there in house testing teams or they are exponentially increasing the size of their existing teams or they are

    outsourcing it to other testing companies. But in all the cases there is one major problem that can be seen, even with

    the increased size of these teams often there comes a situation in which we are not able to meet the deadlines. With

    resources working for extended hours and in a pressurized environment, there comes a situation where knowingly or

    unknowingly we have to compromise with the quality. The reason behind this is that everyday resources have to

    spend time on doing repetitive tasks which consumes a lot of time and effort thus impacting the project timelines,

    budget and increasing associated with the quality.

    Current Scenario

    Taking an example of the QA team of a reputed travel product based company, on an average each resource is

    expected to work for 48.5 hours weekly (9.5 x 5 hours (weekdays) + 1 hour (average working time of 1

    resource every Sunday)). This is the ideal condition that should happen but this is not the case in reality. As per the

    data collected from the timesheets of the team members, the working hours came out to be 63 hours weekly (12 x 5

    hours (weekdays) + 3 hours (average working time of 1 resource every Sunday)) which is 13.5 hours

    overhead of the actual working time of single resource every week. But even working for these extended hours the

    team is not able to meet its deliverables on time & in the budget allocated to it with the risk of compromising with

    the quality.

    This is an example of one organization but this is the story of almost every other IT industry which makes this topic

    a good study to implement Six Sigma techniques so as to improve the overall process thus resulting in the effective

    Resource Utilization and Optimizing the costs related to the project delays. With the help of Six Sigma

    Concepts and using the DMAIC approach in our projects we can actually overcome this problem to a great extent by

    minimizing wastage of time in doing repetitive tasks and by automating various manual activities which can actually

    increase the daily productivity of a resource.

    Problem Statement

    The purpose of this paper is to establish Process Improvement Techniques to rapidly address concerns that

    sometimes why even working for extended hours in a project the testing teams are not able to deliver modules on

    time and have to risk the quality. We will be closely analyzing the existing performance reports, examining source

    data, identifying inconsistencies in existing processes, developing standard control procedures, and implementing

    improvements to ensure optimum utilization of all the resources and delivering modules with quality.

    Goal

    To design and develop a complete set of solutions to address the root causes behind the wastage of time on daily

    repetitive tasks which are not required that the QA team have to work on. We will now determine the full extent of

    the problem through data analysis, interviews, and other tests and develop solutions for improving the processes and

    monitor the results of the implemented solutions.

    Business Impact

    No matter how small the project is, its timelines & quality matters a lot. On the basis of present projects, the

    timelines, budgets and pipelines of the future projects are decided. If the current process is broken then there are

    material distortions to the number of hours that should be spent on a project than the actual number of hours that are

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    currently being spent. This study will attempt to fix this broken process by suggesting various improvement

    techniques through which we can identify major critical problems that impacts our deliveries in terms of resource

    utilization and then carefully designing and implementing solutions to overcome these problems hence optimizing

    overall resource utilization. This study will also give management the correct picture of the total man hours actually

    spent on a project so that they can accordingly plan the upcoming projects in terms of Cost, Time & Quality.

    2. What is Six Sigma?

    The term Six Sigma originated from terminology associated with manufacturing, specific terms associated with

    statistical modeling of manufacturing processes. The maturity of a manufacturing process can be described by

    a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free products it creates. A six sigma process is one in

    which 99.99966% of the products manufactured are statistically expected to be free of defects i.e. 3.4 defects per

    million, although, this defect level corresponds to only a 4.5 sigma level. Motorola set a goal of "six sigma" for all

    of its manufacturing operations, and this goal became a byword for the management and engineering practices used

    to achieve it.

    Figure 1

    Six Sigma Tools & Techniques

    As shown below, Six Sigma is based on a DMAIC approach that comprises of 5 sequential phases which are

    Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve & Control which leads to an improved process at the end.

    Figure 2

    The term "Six Sigma Process" comes from the notion that if one has six standard deviations between the

    process mean and the nearest specification limit, as shown in the graph below, then practically no items will fail to

    meet the specifications. This is based on the calculation method employed in process capability studies.

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    Capability studies measure the number of standard deviations between the process mean and the nearest

    specification limit in sigma units, represented by the Greek letter (sigma). As the process standard deviation goes

    up, or the mean of the process moves away from the center of the tolerance, fewer standard deviations will fit

    between the mean and the nearest specification limit, thus decreasing the sigma number and increasing the

    likelihood of items outside specification.

    Figure 3

    There are various methods or the tools & the techniques that are used in the DMAIC approach for e.g. SIPOC

    diagram, CTQ characteristics, Pareto analysis, etc. We will be covering them in details in the coming phases.

    3. Integrating Six Sigma with Software Testing process

    In this study, we are using a word Defect. This term defect is not related to the one in testing. It is a term used in

    Six Sigma which means cause of errors which affects our process.

    Below is the diagram which shows us that how can we incorporate the 5 phases of Six Sigma in our testing projects

    so as to identify the Critical problems that impact our projects, propose their solutions and can continuously monitor

    them.

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    Figure 4

    3.1 Define Phase

    Consider below SIPOC diagram applicable to all software testing lifecycles. This is a very high level diagram to

    explain the characteristic flow of STLC.

    Figure 5

    To go into further details, below is a detailed functional flow diagram to understand the system deeply.

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    Figure 6

    This diagram describes the standard software testing process in any organization i.e. how a developer gets

    requirements from the user, how the QA gets the files for testing from the developer, how developer & QA interacts

    in a bug lifecycle, how UAT is done and finally how the product is released in the market.

    Critical to Quality Characteristics

    CTQs are specific factors or attributes that are associated with the products, processes, and services that customers

    consider extremely important. This is often identified by listening to the customers through surveys, interviews,

    complaints, and other ways for fully understanding the requirements of the customers. Six Sigma professionals refer

    to this as Voice of the Customer or VOC. Once you have captured VOC, you can then translate this information into

    a CTQ tree diagram. Considering the e.g. of a travel product based company again, we had a discussion with the

    entire QA team (who are our end users in this case) to capture there problem areas. On further research it is found

    that these problems are not limited to this organization but almost to every other organization who is in the process

    of software development & testing. On the basis of that a standard CTQ tre