Six Sigma and Kano Model

28 Jun 2004 - 1:54pm
10 years ago
4 replies
2100 reads
jstanford
2003

Hello,

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who does quality assurance
for customer service processes. He just started work at Bank of America in
charge of quality so I was wondering what he did exactly. As we chatted
about our work, we eventually came to the conclusion that we basically do
the same thing -- I insure that digitally mediated processes where someone
interacts with a screen or a product work optimally in a way that best
benefits the user while he focuses on human mediated processes to insure
that the way a person interacts with another person or non-digital process
at the bank is optimized. Hmmmm...

Many of the methods that we used were similar -- customer interviews, task
analysis, understanding processes from the perspective of the customer not
the company. However, he said that his work was based on "Six Sigma" and
"Kano Model" methods which blended qualitative and quantitative research to
identify areas for focus and prove the benefit of spending money on fixing
them. Does anyone out there know about these models or tried applying them
to interaction design?

- Julie Stanford

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Comments

28 Jun 2004 - 2:07pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 28, 2004, at 2:54 PM, Julie Stanford wrote:

> Does anyone out there know about these models or tried applying
> them to interaction design?

When I was doing work with B of A last year they had just started the
Six Sigma (DOMAIC) process implementation. I don't recall who invented
it, but I think GE gets most of the credit for making it popular. There
are entire books dedicated to Six Sigma.

In short, it's a process for testing, measuring, and refinement
throughout the development process. I've found it to be a bit to
stringent for interaction design. In it's purest/strictest form, it
doesn't allow for adding and removing of components like we often need
in UX - it's a very rigid "you must complete all these steps" process.
However, I think there are definitely things we can learn from it as
far as the overall structure, goals, test, measure, refine, etc.

My understanding of it's origin is that it's an engineering driven
process, very well known for it's strict low tolerance for failure
(like .01% or something). Understandably, this is needed when building
things like jet engines. I'm not so sure that low tolerance for failure
would work in UX. However, we can simply adjust it to something more
reasonable.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
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In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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28 Jun 2004 - 2:48pm
Robert Cornejo
2004

Late last year Nielsen referred to six sigma in his Useit column: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20031124.html

He also provided a link to a primer on the subject:
http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/six-sigma-newbie.asp

Julie Stanford <julie at slicedbreaddesign.com> wrote:
From: "Julie Stanford"
To:
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 11:54:38 -0700
CC:
Subject: [ID Discuss] Six Sigma and Kano Model

Hello,

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who does quality assurance for customer service processes. He just started work at Bank of America in charge of quality so I was wondering what he did exactly. As we chatted about our work, we eventually came to the conclusion that we basically do the same thing -- I insure that digitally mediated processes where someone interacts with a screen or a product work optimally in a way that best benefits the user while he focuses on human mediated processes to insure that the way a person interacts with another person or non-digital process at the bank is optimized. Hmmmm...

Many of the methods that we used were similar -- customer interviews, task analysis, understanding processes from the perspective of the customer not the company. However, he said that his work was based on "Six Sigma" and "Kano Model" methods which blended qualitative and quantitative research to identify areas for focus and prove the benefit of spending money on fixing them. Does anyone out there know about these models or tried applying them to interaction design?

- Julie Stanford
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28 Jun 2004 - 3:45pm
hilhorst
2004

> them. Does anyone out there know about these models or tried applying
> them to interaction design?

This is my first message to the ID list, so hello to all.

Quick intro: I'm a graduate student in Economics and Business in the
Netherlands (Erasmus University Rotterdam.) First of all I'm surprised
someone mentioned Six Sigma (6s) in relation to ID, which is not
necessarily a bad thing of course. I visited GE a few times and also
attended a few lectures at university on this very topic by a senior IT
manager at GE.

Note: 6s was invinted by Motorola and indeed popularized by GE.

At its core, Six Sigma revolves around a few key concepts.
- Critical to Quality: Attributes most important to the customer.
- Defect: Failing to deliver what the customer wants.
- Process Capability: What your process can deliver
- Variation: What the customer sees and feels.
- Stable Operations: Ensuring consistent, predictable processes
- Design for Six Sigma: Design to meet customer needs and process
capability.

More info: http://www.ge.com/en/commitment/quality/whatis.htm

Personally I don't think 6s is the right quality assurance tool for ID
specifically. It might be a good fit in the overall scheme of an
organization, however. 6s should not be viewed as a methodology/tool
that can be applied to a single BU or process within an organization, it
takes a more holistic approach. My understanding is that 6s requires a
complete follow-up and implementation to be effective. There's not much
point in applying 6s only to ID and leaving other aspects, products,
services, processes, etc. out of the loop. Also at GE for example people
specifically specialize and are educated in 6s, called Green Belts,
Black Belts and Master Black Belts -- that's where it really gets geeky
and secret-society-like if you ask me... oops... ;-)

To GE 6s is a *huge* deal -- I'm a bit more sceptic to be honest. At
times it sounds more like management talk that literally goes nowhere.
There's many more models around that proclaim to save the corporate
world... The most applied and complete (strategy and) management tool I
came across is the Balanced Scorecard by Norton and Kaplan. But again,
there's no direct link ot ID as such. All these so-called
quality/management/strategy assurance tools/methodologies are great for
people managing processes and people, but I find it difficult to apply
them directly to ID as such. It is also true that these methodologies
are often stringent, especially in 6s' case. I'm not a big fan of these
tools because they limit ad hoc problem solving and not everthing
(especially in ID) is systematic. It might be interesting to discuss 6s
with senior managers and see what they use to monitor overall quality
and retrofit that system to ID, or decide to adopt 6s and apply those
methodologies to ID, but only using 6s for ID is a waste of time if you
ask me.

But then again I'm just a lowly (biased) student ;-)

Cheers,

Didier Hilhorst

28 Jun 2004 - 4:04pm
hilhorst
2004

> them. Does anyone out there know about these models or tried applying
> them to interaction design?

This is my first message to the ID list, so hello to all.

Quick intro: I'm a graduate student in Economics and Business in the
Netherlands (Erasmus University Rotterdam.) First of all I'm surprised
someone mentioned Six Sigma (6s) in relation to ID, which is not
necessarily a bad thing of course. I visited GE a few times and also
attended a few lectures at university on this very topic by a senior IT
manager at GE.

Note: 6s was invinted by Motorola and indeed popularized by GE.

At its core, Six Sigma revolves around a few key concepts.
- Critical to Quality: Attributes most important to the customer.
- Defect: Failing to deliver what the customer wants.
- Process Capability: What your process can deliver
- Variation: What the customer sees and feels.
- Stable Operations: Ensuring consistent, predictable processes
- Design for Six Sigma: Design to meet customer needs and process
capability.

More info: http://www.ge.com/en/commitment/quality/whatis.htm

Personally I don't think 6s is the right quality assurance tool for ID
specifically. It might be a good fit in the overall scheme of an
organization, however. 6s should not be viewed as a methodology/tool
that can be applied to a single BU or process within an organization, it
takes a more holistic approach. My understanding is that 6s requires a
complete follow-up and implementation to be effective. There's not much
point in applying 6s only to ID and leaving other aspects, products,
services, processes, etc. out of the loop. Also at GE for example people
specifically specialize and are educated in 6s, called Green Belts,
Black Belts and Master Black Belts -- that's where it really gets geeky
and secret-society-like if you ask me... oops... ;-)

To GE 6s is a *huge* deal -- I'm a bit more sceptic to be honest. At
times it sounds more like management talk that literally goes nowhere.
There's many more models around that proclaim to save the corporate
world... The most applied and complete (strategy and) management tool I
came across is the Balanced Scorecard by Norton and Kaplan. But again,
there's no direct link ot ID as such. All these so-called
quality/management/strategy assurance tools/methodologies are great for
people managing processes and people, but I find it difficult to apply
them directly to ID as such. It is also true that these methodologies
are often stringent, especially in 6s' case. I'm not a big fan of these
tools because they limit ad hoc problem solving and not everthing
(especially in ID) is systematic. It might be interesting to discuss 6s
with senior managers and see what they use to monitor overall quality
and retrofit that system to ID, or decide to adopt 6s and apply those
methodologies to ID, but only using 6s for ID is a waste of time if you
ask me.

But then again I'm just a lowly (biased) student ;-)

Cheers,

Didier Hilhorst

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