As I implied in my previous blog posting, this series might ramble a bit. For those of you who are hoping for a stream of articles involving mathematical techniques emphasizing those wonderful Six Sigma tools, this first posting is likely to be disappointing, as will many that follow.

I guess I should note, it is my opinion that both CMMI and SixSigma efforts primarily involve human change, and human change is more about people and sociology than it is about numbers.  So in that spirit I will begin this series by noting that possibly the most obvious area of synchronicity between CMMI/SixSigma involves the recognition and need for high quality management communication.

Both worlds acknowledge and emphasize that good, effective communications form a key component in building effective process improvement programs.  A good process improvement communications network relies upon both clear and understandable message transmissions (just like an effective computer network does!).  Simply stated, conflicting messages, erroneous, or irrelevant information are the greatest contributors to process improvement project failures.  There is little more damaging to the success of a project or program than confusing, conflicting communications.

CMMI and Six Sigma both stress that preparing your organization for its improvement effort requires consistency in all messages and communications be they verbal, written, non-verbal, direct, or indirect.  It is essential that new or pre-existing process improvement concepts, tasks and efforts be stated in terms readily understood by those who are expected to embark on any change.  This means everyone must effectively be “in the loop”, including those you might assume are not going to be impacted.

If everyone is to understand your plan(s), it goes without saying, that those plan(s) must be communicated in terms everyone can understand!  Do not err by focusing on a too narrow subset of the population for your communications, better to over communicate than to ‘miss-communicate’.

Over the next several posts, I will discuss in this topic in greater detail.  Again, as I noted at the outset of this series, should you have any queries, concerns, or items you wish to see discussed, please use our contact page to let me know.

Mark Rabideau is a SEI SCAMPI High Maturity Lead Appraiser and Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is also licensed to teach both the CMMI-DEV and SVC constellations’ courses. Hard as it is to believe, Mark has been at this sort of thing since 1990.You may contact him directly by using the PEP contact page.