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Six Sigma in Indian IT Sector

AbstractThis paper aims to identify the prospective of implementing six sigma

quality approaches in the Information Technology sector of India. In this fast
moving business scenario, clients and customers prefer quality over price and
hence Indian IT companies must strive to implement quality management in
order to survive in the Global Competitive market.
Keywords- Six Sigma, IT industry, Quality improvement

IntroductionSix Sigma is a process driven model quality management techniques and

practices which is used to improve the overall quality of the organization and
the products they manufacture by statistical analytical methods. In previous
times, there had been a misconception that quality was a factor only to be used
in the production sector, but changing global competitions have made service
sector companies to identify that quality management is the need of the hour for
existence in the market.
As of 2015, India is the largest sourcing destination for Information
Technology with a workforce of 10 million and the sector now faces stiff
competition from countries like China, which makes the implementation of
quality management a necessity thus helping the companies to have an upper
hand in the Global IT map by having higher productivity and reduced defective
Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in 1986 as a method of removing
the defects arising in their products. The success of Six Sigma at Motorola has
made companies to implement this technique around the world. The rate of
implementation of Six Sigma in Indian companies (Wipro, Tatas
(TISCO/TELCO/TCS) is low compared to Global companies mainly due to the
hassles of the employees in changing their routine work patterns. Due to the

demand from foreign clients to have improved quality, the Indian IT companies
have started implementing Six Sigma in their projects. As of today, Wipro and
TCS are the only IT companies to have implemented Six Sigma in their
projects. Tata Communications with the help from TCS saved around US$16.4
million by implementing Six Sigma hugely through optimization of cost and
resources. [1]
Literature ReviewSix Sigma strives to accomplish customer satisfaction by reducing the
defective rate in their products and hence it is a difficult process to implement in
the service sector compared to manufacturing sector where the products are
tangible. This difficulty is one of the major reasons that hold back IT companies
from implementing this strategy in their organizations. The next major reason is
in spite of the six sigma training given to the employees, their mindset and
dedication towards change becomes a hurdle. Six sigma aims at precision of
99.9997% meaning no more than 3.4 defects in a million opportunities.
Six Sigma consultant S C Bajaj, a GE veteran estimated that Indian
companies are placed at 308,537 defects, which is a Two Sigma. Tata
Communications assisted by TCS helped the company save around US$16.4
million through cost and resource optimization. Wipro recorded savings of
Rs.440 million by first year of implementation. Godrej GE had a defective rate
of 300,000 per million parts which was unacceptable under GEs strategy. Six
sigma implementation at Godrej plants helped bring down the defective rate to
1,000 per million units which was between four and five sigma. Hero Honda
used the six sigma technique to bring down the warranty costs. Global giant
Motorola recorded savings of US$2 billion with 10 years of implementation
whereas GE had a savings of US$750 million. [2] The famous dabbawalas had
an error rate of one in six million transactions making six sigma irrelevant
which has an error rate of 3.4 units per million opportunities. [3]
Critical success factors that affect six sigma are Top Management,
Involvement and Commitment, Training and Education, Teamwork, Cultural
Change, Organizational Infrastructure, Six Sigma Implementation.

The six sigma team consists of 4 levels viz. Champion, Master Black Belt,
Black Belt and Green Belt.
1. Champions are the owners of the process improvement projects who are
responsible for managing, supporting, defending, protecting, fights for
maintaining and helps deploy an organizations Six Sigma effort.
2. Master black belts assists the black belts in applying the methods
correctly in unusual situations and have the highest level of technical and
organizational proficiency.
3. Black belts are actively involved in the organizational change and
developmental process and are technically oriented individuals.
4. Green belts are team leaders who are capable in forming and facilitating
six sigma teams and lead the projects from concept development to
completion. [4]
The main objectives of implementing six sigma by Indian companies are to

Reducing the scrap rate.

Client requirements.
Increasing the productivity.
Reducing the customer complaints.
Reducing the delivery time.
Improving the sales revenue.
Developing a brand image.
Legal Responsibility.
Mission critical systems.[5]

Project ReportQuality and timely delivery is becoming crucial factors for Indian IT
companies to withstand the global competition. Companies are implementing
six sigma in the organization to achieve these factors. Wipro, Satyam and
Infosys are some of the IT companies in India practicing six sigma and have
made the employees aware of the methodologies. The need for the six sigma
implementation for the companies started off with the clients requirements of
having the projects to be six sigma certified. The implementation took off with a
bumpy start but the companies have made huge cost savings with the

implementation of six sigma in their projects. Six sigma creates an open and
transparent work environment where ideas from everyone is invited. [6]
Wipro started the six sigma implementation in 1997 with consultations
from Motorola and now has a workforce of around 200 certified black belts who
assist and manage the projects. They have used DMAIC, DSSS+, and TQSS as
their six sigma methodologies. All the projects now run above 4.5 level and has
helped improve operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and business
parameters. [4]
While the usual Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) tends to
introduce quality to the process towards the end of the project mostly during the
implementation phase, whereas six sigma gives importance to quality from the
beginning. The stages of SDLC include concept, requirements gathering,
systems specification, software development, software testing, rollout, and
maintenance phases. In six sigma these stages are converted to tollgates such
that at each stage evaluation and review takes place which leads to successful
completion of the project. [7]
Six sigma is helpful mainly in the beginning phases i.e. concept and
requirements gathering. Problem definition and stakeholder requirements helps
for developing the project concept. Criticality to Quality helps identify the
requirements of the project. Six sigma gives importance to deliverables rather
than on technology. Six sigma uses process mapping which helps to identify the
problem space and boundaries. [8]
Most of the six sigma tools are used for discovering data relationships by
quantitative techniques. In software projects, these relationships are identified
using interviews and process mapping. Data flow diagrams, entity relationship
diagrams, and object models are the commonly used tools which represent the
data that the software will manage. Six Sigma finds the data that defines the
problem. [9]
Six Sigma falls short in measuring a system architecture for quality. The
usual measurements techniques include peer reviews and simulations to review
quality of the architecture. These approaches are subjective and cannot be used
for another project. Moreover these approaches do not ensure optimization.

Difficulties in implementing six sigma in software companies are

Processes- Software processes are fuzzy compared to
manufacturing processes and the application of Six Sigma is easily
established and documented in manufacturing.
Characteristics- Software cannot be measured as weight, distance,
width, etc. and also number of faults cannot be measured in
Uniqueness- Manufacturing products are generally mass produced
but software products are uniquely customized for customer
requirements. [10]
ConclusionIndian IT companies have successfully implemented six sigma for their
projects and has generated record cost savings and improved the revenue
drastically. Six sigma implementation is a tedious task and takes long
procedures for implementation from beginning of the design to the maintenance
of the project. The main challenges of implementing Six Sigma at IT sector are
to identify the criticality to quality requirements and to have a project that is
cost efficient and also software development projects have long life span of
around 2-3 years which makes it difficult for six sigma implementation. High
global competition and changing customer requirements have made IT
companies to understand the need of implementing six sigma compliant
References[1] TCS case study Tata Communications (formerly VSNL) use TCS Six
[2] Ashok Leyland Employees Journal, June 2007 , Six Sigma - A Way of
[3] Stefan H. Thomke and Mona Sinha, The Dabbawala System: On-Time
Delivery, Every Time , Stefan H. Thomke and Mona Sinha, Harvard Business

[4] Manisha Sharma, Kapil Pandla, Prashant Gupta, Case study On Six Sigma
[5] Blakeslee Jr, Jerome A. "Implementing the six sigma solution." Quality
[6] Thawani, Sunil. "Six sigmastrategy for organizational excellence." Total
Quality Management & Business Excellence 15.5-6 (2004): 655-664.
[7] Boggs, Roy A. "The SDLC and six sigma: An essay on which is which and
[8] Antony, Jiju. "Six sigma for service processes." Business Process
[9] Antony, Jiju, and Craig Fergusson. "Six Sigma in the software industry:
results from a pilot study." Managerial Auditing Journal 19.8 (2004): 10251032.
[10] Antony, Jiju, et al. "Six sigma in service organisations: Benefits, challenges
and difficulties, common myths, empirical observations and success factors."
International journal of quality & reliability management 24.3 (2007): 294-311.